Album Review – Il Confine – Folkstone

When I first moved out to Italy, naturally, one of the first things I wanted to do was check out some Italian metal.  The Italian language has very poetic and flowing attributes to it; that mixed with Italy’s deep history in music (both classical and modern, especially the Progressive Rock scene during the 70’s) and culture I was sure I would find some really original homegrown metal music right off the bat.  Unfortunately, while I did find some great Italian metal bands, none of the ones that really connected with me sung in the Italian language (with the exception of Rhapsody who have a handful of songs in Italian), which is what I was really looking for.  Fast-forward a little bit of time to when I discovered Folk Metal and went nuts with how awesome this sub-genre is.  During this time I came across a band from Bergamo, Italy.  Folkstone immediately rocked my socks off with their Medieval, Celtic sound filled with rocking guitars, energetic drumming, furious bass playing, and commanding and understandable singing (which was great for me as I was learning Italian at the time, and still am) all tied together with copious amounts of live bagpipes and a harp player bringing beauty to the music.  Their album Damnati ad Metalla (Damned to Metal) became one of the most played albums in my music library and now I have my hands on their new album Il Confine (The Confine/The Border) and I’m happy to tell you that this one will also become one of my most played albums.

Much like their previous material Il Confine utilizes the standard metal instruments to create bright and high energy metal music structures that will get your head banging, horns flying, and you body bouncing with their ultra groovy rhythms.  The bagpipes are used in a very interesting way as they are the instruments that carry the bulk of the melodies along with the vocals adding a very fresh and unique take on the Folk Metal genre and conjure up images of the Celts and all things Medieval.  The harp adds even more to the rhythms and melodies giving each song an ‘Italy during the Renaissance’ feel.  With their great Folk Metal foundation set, Folkstone took things even further and greatly improved on everything that made them awesome in the first place, making them well, even more awesome.

The album kicks off with the title track “Il Confine” with a Middle Eastern flavored intro that kicks of into a super bouncy and hard rocking groove metal riff that will really get your energy pulsing and a metal smile across your face. When the folk instruments kicked I was amazed at how fluently they slipped right in with the driving metal, they were perfectly placed and added so much more to an already awesome song.  Nothing felt forced which can often be a trapping of Folk Metal.  This great songwriting and organic feel carries throughout the next song, “Nebbie” (“Mists”), and throughout the entire album.

The third and my favorite track on the album, “Omnia Fert Aetas” (which is Latin for “Time Bears All Things Away”) sports a killer tribal rhythm that will make you want to go and grab an overflowing horn of mead and dance around a bonfire lost in the enchanting singing and hypnotizing bagpipes and drums.  It’s with this song that Folkstone shows how they have really matured their sound to a whole new level and are far away from being a one-trick-pony.  That statement is reinforced with the metal ballads “Luna” (“Moon”) and “Ombre di Silenzio” (“Shadows of Silence”) as they put forth some of the most engaging and beautiful songs of their career.  Vocalist Lore’s gruff voice adds a charming, rustic feel to the songs that create images of a peasant sitting in his local ‘trattoria’ (old Italian inn) singing songs to his fellow townsfolk.

Pretty much every song on this album is a stand-out track, so to avoid being redundant I’ll highlight just a few more.  The musical interlude “Anomalus” (Latin for “Irregular”) has an awesome bagpipe duel paired with a groovy and tribal beat and will make you crave a beer as much as listening to a Korpiklaani album would.  “Frammenti” (“Fragments”) includes some graceful flute work, catchy vocal melodies, and a kick ass bagpipe bridge section.  “Non Sarò Mai” (“I’ll Never Be”) captures an old-school heavy metal feel with its punk rock attitude and fists-in-the-air chorus, this one will sure become a concert favorite.

What can I say, I’m completely taken by Il Confine.  Everything about it just works and works naturally.  The songs are rocking when they need to be rocking, heartfelt when they need to be heartfelt, hypnotizing when they need to be hypnotizing, and so on.  The Italian lyrics add great flow to the songs and you can really feel the conviction in the voice even if you don’t understand the language.  All the tracks are diverse and nothing feels stagnant making for a fun and engaging listen.  There are plenty of memorable moments and killer songwriting which will have you listening to this album multiple times.  I highly recommend you put this on your ‘must check out’ list especially if you’re a fan of Folk Metal, I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Bravi Folkstone!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Il Confine will be released on March 16, 2012 and will be available on Itunes, Amazon, and their website.  You can also go to your local record shop and demand that they order you a copy and a bunch more for everyone else.

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on March 14, 2012, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. this is pretty sweet, thanks for sharing! the posted video was more melodic than i thought it might be. i think that makes the folk blend better… good stuff.

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