by Trevor Portz
With so much of the new music coming out sounding like a blatant rip off of an already established band, generally performed with not only less honesty and integrity, but subpar musicianship as well, it’s nice to see that creativity is not a thing of the past. Sure, blending styles, mixing harsh and clean vocals, and even joining folk instrumentation with electronics and amplification have all been done, but that doesn’t mean that every permutation has been attempted, nor that there isn’t a way to build and improve upon that which has already been discovered. Italian sextet In Tormentata Quiete have managed to do just that—they’ve put their own unique spin on extreme music, and have done so exceptionally.
Hailing from Bologna, Italy, In Tormentata Quiete plays what has been deemed “emphatic music,” and though this may not be a common—or even meaningful—label, it serves the band well, as they defy any other description. Incorporating elements of Italian folk, progressive rock, black metal, hardcore, and a slew of other styles, they are certainly beyond a simple a one-word descriptor. Contemporary bands that would fall into a similar category (and perhaps will now be known as playing “emphatic music”) would be such luminaries as Vintersorg, Arcturus, and perhaps Stolen Babies to an extent.
Initially coming together in 1998, founders Lorenzo Rinaldi (guitars), and Antonio Ricco (keyboards) have gone through several line-up changes, but have assembled a team of stellar musicians, as well as a number of guests, to create their latest endeavor, Teatroelementale (translated roughly as Elemental Theater). Utilizing a number of instruments, both common and uncommon in extreme music—guitars, drums, bass, piano, saxophone—along with male and female clean vocals, as well as both high black metal screams and low death metal growls, the band is able to create a dramatic and dynamic masterpiece that is as theatrical as it is powerful. Giovanni Notarangelo’s clean vocals are passionate and varied, delivering a spectrum of emotion often associated more with opera than metal. Coupled with Marco Vitale’s screams, the listener is left with a perfect balance of beauty and filth, sacred and profane.
Though the vocals certainly play a key role, the music is equally varied and creates a similar balance. With extended folk metal passages and Pink Floyd-like psychedelic jams melding with hyperspeed blast beats and headcrushing heaviness, the group manages to always keep the listener’s attention and never becomes overly repetitive. Perhaps what In Tormentata Quiete do best though, is combine all of the various styles in such a listenable and seamless fashion. The listener isn’t subjected to a barrage of sudden style changes, but rather an ever-flowing string of emotions—from anger to sadness to joy—sometimes intertwined, and sometimes isolated.
The album is interspersed with a series of monologues, which feature spoken word passages by Antonio Ricco. Though they would most likely be far more meaningful and helpful in carrying the story to an Italian speaker, they somehow do not manage to detract from the overall vibe of the album, and instead act as calm interludes between the musical deluge that comprises the proper songs.
The album’s production is as stellar as the songs and performances it serves to illuminate. Even in the most layered instances—passages featuring guitars (both electric and acoustic), violins, and multiple voices—nothing is ever lost or buried. All of the instruments are clearly heard, but also mixed in a way to avoid an overwhelming wall of sound. Though it appears rarely, even in the event of a blast beat the snare is never lost, a feat many extreme metal producers have yet learned to accomplish.
There certainly isn’t much negative to say about this album, with the saxophone solos being the only low point (though this is more based on reviewer opinion than anything else). Of course, for a band that successfully created a three-part harmony of clean male and female vocals and an Enslaved-quality screech, it’s hard to be too disappointed.
Label: My Kingdom Music
Marco Vitale (screams)
Giovanni Notarangelo (vocals)
Lorenzo Rinaldi (guitars)
Maurizio D’Apote (bass)
Antonio Ricco (keyboards)
Francesco Paparella (drums)
1. Discorso Sul Teatro Drammatico
4. La Danza Del Fuoco
6. Il Pianto Della Terra
8. Dell’Uomo E Del Vento
10. Il Canto Del Mare
12. Le Illusioni Del Vento
14. Del Mare Alla Luna
Hardrock Haven rating 9.5/10