This CD sounds like Evoken covering Black Sabbath. Whereas the first chapter, “Requiem – Mezzo Forte” had the vibe of faith reaching through anguish, “Fortissimo” mainly reflects pain – the crown of thorns, the nails and the slow suffocation.
Rowan London swaps his tenor vocal beauty for a Cookie-Monster-on-downers approach, and it fits. The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra steps way back, in favor of doom metal……actually, DOOOOOOOOOOM metal. Susan Johnson’s soprano is like a dove flying over a field of rusting swords and mangled bodies. Apart from her operatics, the voices and music are all six feet deep. So, logically, drummer Dino Cielo and guitarist Samantha Escarbe rule the room this time.
Track three (“Silent”) features singing and a guitar melody straight from “Mezzo Forte”. That works in this case, since the CDs are parts of a trilogy.
A normal men’s choir adds a layer of humanity while a “Death Choir” (including London and bassist Grayh) leads “Lacrimosa (gather me)”. I suspect London now owns controlling stock in Chloraseptic.
In my review for “Mezzo Forte” I predicted that Escarbe would knock us flat on our butts with “Fortissimo”. Having now heard the album, I stand by that claim. Still, her playing here isn’t quite as dynamic as in Virgin Black’s “Elegant…and Dying”. (Granted, how the hell could you top a song like “The Everlasting”?)
There’s a really cool call-back on “Darkness”. At the 9:04 mark, Johnson and the band reprise a chorus from “Mezzo Forte” but THIS time the Death Choir sings along. It sounds like demons trying to reclaim a song forbidden to them since being cast out of Heaven.
After all the heaviness, “Forever” is truly a disarming little piano piece. I hear it and think of Mary in the shadow of the cross, the minute her son forces “It is finished” from his mouth and dies.
Overall, “Requiem – Fortissimo” sounds like the physical reality of Golgotha, the horror before the resurrection.