I’ve always been a very pessimistic person when it comes to listening to folk metal. Perhaps it may just be me, but repeatedly listening to metal records that feature just as much flute solos as guitar solos gets to be a little tedious after awhile. Sure, the genre has its fair share of great records, like Ulver’s undeniably classic Bergtatt
or more recently, Nokturnal Mortum’s The Voice of Steel
, but for the most part, the genre generally falls flat on its face. So, just image my skepticism when I happened to purchase the folk metal album In Tortmentata Quiete
by the Italian band of the same name. Annoyed at myself for not having enough will power to put the record down before purchase, I hesitantly popped the disc into my car stereo, and awaited what I thought would be imminent disappointment; boy, was I dead wrong.
Raucous and unkempt, In Tormentata Quiete forgo any kind of restraint on their self titled debut, instead opting for a more turbulent display of their eclectic mismatch of symphonic black and folk metal. Splitting vocal duties in half, male and female vocalists, Marco Vitale and Gianni Notarangelo tandem team vocals work well in a variety of different ways. Softly crooning on the track “Nel regno dell'Evo”, the pair's vocals match well with gentle acoustic guitars and strong blues overtones, helping to create a cohesive power ballad that would not seem out of place during the late 80’s. Other songs demonstrate Vitale’s black metal vocals, that at times bear a striking resemblance to Cradle of Filth’s Dani Filth, minus all the annoying tendencies that make that latter nearly unlistenable at times.
Far from conventional, the unpredictability seen on In Tormentata Quiete
is a definite positive attribute that separates them from the often formulaic structures their peers spew at an alarming rate. “Chiaroscuro”, which begins with rather inviting folk- tinged guitars and militaristic drum beat, soon drastically changes into a song almost unrecognizable from its beginnings. Drenched in melancholy, Lorenzo Rinaldi’s angular guitar lines wear a veil of perversity, dripping with the filth of black metal in their every note. “La Realta” on the other takes the pure form of folk metal, brimming with joyous melodies and dressed in accessibility. For the best of both classifications, the second track “Zeus” is a perfectly adequate view of why the band surpasses most others in their respective genre; the song trims the fat off any unnecessary traits of either genre, instead offering a streamlined performance that contains the best of both worlds. Bassist Maurizio D'Apote and drummer Francesco Paparella, aside from playing with an obvious affinity to metal and folk, also display a zeal that can only come from practicing the wide genre of jazz. Some of the most enjoyable moments on the record (such as in “L’albero”) come from when the two discard their folk and metal pretenses and fully embrace the technicality of their obvious jazz upbringings, dazzling with alternate techniques such as slap bass or wild time signatures.
It would be a wondrous thing if more folk metal bands followed in the footsteps of In Tormentata Quiete; that would be an improvement that maybe, one day, would bring the genre out its generally negative stigma. Regardless if such a thing ever occurs, the obvious talent shown on In Tormentata Quiete
only signifies the beginning stages of this band, and it is clear they still have much to offer the often maligned folk metal genre. Keep an eye out for In Tormentata Quiete, because one day they will lead folk metal into a new age of greatness and prosperity.