Genre: Avant-garde Metal Experimental Extreme Progressive Metal
Label: My Kingdom Music
Finally, the time has come to review the best album I’ve listened to in the recent years and one of the best ever, if not THE best – time will tell! Italian extreme progressive avant-garde metallers In Tormentata Quiete (ITQ) from Bologna really exceeded all my expectations, releasing the musical masterpiece “Cromagia“! ITQ is a quite old band, formed back in 1998 by Antonio (keyboards), Lorenzo (guitars), Francesco (drums) and Marco (screaming vocals). Despite the numerous changes in their line-up all these years (mostly in bass and vocals), all 4 of them still remain in the band.
In 1999 ITQ released the promo “I Tre Attimi del Silenzio” making their first steps at the avant-garde black metal genre. In 2005 their debut full-length album “In Tormentata Quiete” was out via Dawn of Sadness Records and in 2009 they returned with “Tetroelementale“, released by My Kingdom Music. In these two albums the band takes a much more experimental progressive turn, expanding their musical boundaries. It was 2011 though, when the band released the track “Il Profumo del Blu“, which was actually a preview of their next album. It was self-released as a mini CD in 2012, which also included the 4 songs of their demo and a bonus track composed for an Italian TV series. I was lucky enough to get one of the 100 copies from the band and had the privilege to own in physical format the EP that included “Il Profumo del Blu“, the best song I’ve listened since 2012. Two years later the band is back in My Kingdom Music and released its third full-length album “Cromagia” on November 17th 2014.
After the “impact” their single had on me, my expectations from “Cromagia” were really high. Of course in such cases, when you expect more than perfect, you are usually let down. I was afraid this would be the case here too, because the idea of creating something equally good with “Il Profumo del Blu” seemed impossible. How wrong was I!!! Not only the band managed to remain at the same level, but they also got better! The paradox with this album is that even if it gets my highest rate so far, it is also the one that I can’t describe as accurately as I’d like. It’s not my fault though. In Tormentata Quiete defy all known music genres and boundaries; they transform colors, emotions and beauty into music. How could someone describe this with words! I have to try though… The roots of their music are in progressive avant-garde metal, with elements that range from symphonic black metal, post metal and Italian rock, to acoustic folk and classical music. Of course they don’t stop here, since they experiment with almost everything, setting no limits in their sound. When you move within a specific music style it’s easier to express yourself and play with emotions. When your “musical canvas” includes such a wide range of completely different genres, it’s much more difficult to create something coherent. ITQ managed however to succeed something that practically seemed impossible, combining all extremities and contrasts of their sound in a really solid and emotional album.
“Cromagia” includes 11 tracks with a total playtime over 53 minutes. There are 5 basic compositions, each one with its intro (prelude), plus an outro that closes the album. ”Cromagia” is dedicated to the 5 colors (blue, red, green, yellow and black), which are also the track names of the 5 preludes. Each of the basic songs combines the color of its intro with one of the 5 human senses (scent of blue, flavor of red, whisper of green, caress of yellow and vision of black). And while the intros are somehow more conventional, the main songs reveal a unique maturity and incredible composition skills. The changes of mood, emotions and music styles in each song are endless. Avoiding repetition, each song has its tranquil parts and its climaxes. Everything is there for a reason. Each melody prepares the next and each one has no meaning without the other. Everything is so complex and captivating at the same time. Yes, there are exaggerations and contrasts in their sound, but everything works perfectly in a magical way, at least for me. The band’s orchestrations are very rich on acoustic instruments, with wonderful keys and acoustic guitars being the most dominant of them. Guest violins by Elena Mirandola add a classical symphonic touch in their sound, while the use of sitar on “Rosso” gives a unique ethnic color in the song. Their distorted guitars have a heavy, powerful and warm sound, while the drums are so technical and natural that they actually sound melodic! The overall production is at a very good level, where everything is clear and in a very personal sound aesthetic.
One of the basic elements that always characterized ITQ’s music, was the band’s unique vocals. Except for Marco, who remains in the band since the beginning, there were always other singers in the band too, for the clean parts. This time the band has made the best choice, both in male and female singer. The two new members elevate the vocal works of the band in highest levels. There are 3 distinctive vocal types in this album. The characteristic screams of Marco, the powerful epic almost operatic clean male vocals of Simone Lanzoni and the wonderful breathtaking female vocals of Irene Petitto, that in my opinion steal the show. I hope she stays forever in the band. Her voice is magical! So powerful, emotional and sensuous, for sure my favorite female singer! Most of the time, Simone and Irene have the leading role in the vocals, changing from one another inside each composition. Marco’s screams have mostly an accompanying role, however there are songs like “La Visione del Nero” where he takes the lead. These 3 theoretically incompatible vocal styles cooperate in a magical way. When the 3 of them sing their unusual polyphonic melodies altogether the result is surprising harmonic, so unique and beautiful. Songs like “Il Sapore del Rosso” and “La Carezza del Giallo“, which are 2 of the best compositions I’ve listened in my entire life, are the best proof for this. All of their lyrics are in Italian and they are included in the CD booklet in a very clever way, typing the parts of each singer with a different color.
I know that I can’t be very objective about this album, but I can’t help it, since it simply enchanted me. Anyway, I understand that ITQ haven’t chosen the easy way, their sense of melody is unique, their songs quite complex and it might not work for everyone. Also I recognize there are some imperfections in their sound, sometimes in the vocals too, but all these are just minor details compared to the quality of their music. Also in my opinion these “imperfections” make the album even more real and “human”. I strongly advise you to give the album a chance and try to unveil its secrets, you might get addicted as well! “Cromagia” is released by the Italian label My Kingdom Music in a jewel-case edition with a 12-page booklet in the characteristic artistic style of all the band’s albums so far. The wonderful artwork that plays with the colors is by Eugenia Trotta and the whole graphic project by Luca Antoniazzi. You better visit the band’s official pages below for further details, while on their Bandcamp page you can actually stream the entire album.