“Emphatic Music.” This is how the PDF file describes the accompanying Cromagia, the third album by Italian septet In Tormentata Quiete, in which the band blends theatricality, black metal, and progressive folk elements into a heady mixture. According to the bio, Cromagia revolves around the concept that our existence is colored by emotions, and the music explains how these songs are an interpretation of said colors. So is this a melting pot of the prismatic rainbow colors of humanity, or is it just a puddle of crayons left out in the sun for too damn long?
After a beautiful, if simplistic, intro in “Blu,” which recalls Mandylion-era The Gathering to promising effect, we get to “Il Profumo del Blu,” continuing the motif with a beautiful female vocal melody by Irene Iræ Åkerfeldt and some okay male vocals sung in Italian by Simone Lanzoni. Seconds later, Marco Vitale comes in with some really annoying harsh vocals. Yes, folks… three vocalists. If Amaranthe taught us anything, it’s that you really don’t need three vocalists, especially if one of them makes me want to drown him slowly. It launches into a chorus which is a combo of Lacuna Coil and Evanescence… so basically, a combo of Evanescence and Evanescence, before going full avantgarde by kicking their drummer and his kit down a flight of stairs at the 3:03 mark! ECCITAZIONE! We not-so-gently go into Moonspell Mode, with Vitale finally passing the role of “Annoying Vocalist” to Lanzoni, who does a pretty bad Fernando Ribeiro impersonation, before launching into an acoustic interlude, where Åkerfeldt cements her role as the most consistently not-annoying vocalist in the band. Finally, towards the end, the band decides to channel… Roots-era Sepultura?! Yep, there’s some late 90’s ratamahata-ing going on here, complete with rapping Italian vocals (clean AND harsh!), and the band jumpingdafuckup behind them. All of this in an eight-minute, twenty-five second song. Sweet jeebus, that was horrible.
And you can bet all consistency is thrown right out the goddamn window and into a canal throughout Cromagia‘s entirety. You have goofy overwrought male vocals (the beginning of “Il Sapore del Rosso”), ungodly inconsistent drumming by Francesco Paparella, who can go from nice fills (“Il Sapore del Rosso”) to fumbling his drumsticks constantly (“Il Profumo del Blu,” “La Carezza del Giallo,” 2:15 into “La Visione del Nero”), and other band members who aren’t nearly as memorable, which in this case could only be a really damn good thing. At least we have a merely okay sitar song in “Rosso” and a decent vocal duet in “Il Sussuro del Verde.” But do you really want to suffer through a confused album by a 7-piece band with a major identity crisis to hear them?
The problems continue to ooze into the production, which sounds like it was recorded in my hallway. The electronic portions sound muffled and paperlike, and in this genre of music, you would want them to be upfront and clear. The guitars take a bit of a backseat as does the bass, and the drums also have that papery snare sound to them. But if the band wants to make a dent in the avantgarde realm like Sigh and Ulver have, they need to find cohesion in their delivery, as well as a better, more consistent drummer, because there’s some major sloppiness going on there.
So I hope you brought your scraper out with you to clean up il Pozzanghera del Crayola left behind on the sidewalk in Cromagia‘s wake. In Tormentata Quiete needs to find a better way of delivering their message, as this left me both confused and annoyed. There are ways to be successful and original, and shooting paintballs at the wall, hoping in vain that it becomes a Picasso, sure isn’t it. [My favorite Crayola was “burnt umber.” – Steel Druhm].