Lou Quinse – Lo Sabbat (2018) REVIEW

In interpreting the vibrant folk music heritage of the grand Alpi occidentali through heavy metal, Lou Quinse act as a troupe of bards conjuring Satan as savoir in response to the plight of the everyman living under the cruel thumb of the Church and the chaos of society itself. Fans of folk metal should immediately appreciate this band of misfits’ deft use of flutes, bagpipes, and diatonic accordion as the driving force within the metal-punkish aggression of ‘Lo Sabbat’. It is an album immediately comfortable and accessible for the folk metal initiated but, with some translation, deeper layers and greater purpose surface beyond exuberant drinking and celebration. Far more ambitious and thoughtfully built atop their previous album ‘Rondeau de la Forca’ Lou Quinse have found an appropriate balance between the slightly more-serious side of folk metal and their own pub-jammed, celebratory sound.

The arc of the tracklist begins intentionally bright and ebullient, musically not far from Metsatöll or Finntroll but perhaps more flute-driven with less intrusive guitar tone. ‘Lo Sabbat’ chooses poetry and traditional folk songs themes from different parts of Italy that one would sing at the pub championing poverty and happiness above the ambition that drives men mad, and as their interpretations of centuries old folk songs move from the topic of food, drink and the uptight nature of the clergy so changes some of the songwriting focus as the music progresses. From a celebration of the plight of the common man comes a slow-growing expression of dissent for the masters that oppress and the misery it would naturally cause. The tone of the album never goes black metal or completely dark, though, and is not as somber as early Heidevolk or Hantaoma, though I would recommend the heavier sounds and folk instrumentation of this record to fans of Hantaoma/Stille Volk.

Lou Quinse embody some spirit of rebellion in their music despite the unrest within the old poetry they use being more subtle than the rhetoric of today. Their suggestion of ‘folkcore’ as a genre is somehow fitting relative to the greater folk metal landscape, not for any amount of metalcore or pure hardcore punk influence but in their extreme metal treatment of memorable folk songs. The album was produced/mixed by Tino Paratore who is best known for his work with Italian hardcore and punk bands in Turin, with some mastering from the extreme metal sensibilites of Tom Kvålsvoll. As a result ‘Lo Sabbat’ has an ‘earthiness’ that feels like classic folk metal and avoids the ugly polish of overproduced groups like Equilibrium.

With the translation of their lyrics available on their website I found myself more interested in interpreting the theme and the overall concept of the album than the music itself after several listens. The style is varied enough for the first 35 minutes or so but the instrumentation begins to feel predictable after and arrangements are cluttered and samey. Though the conception of the record isn’t perfect I do think that Lou Quinse have created one of the more listenable and energetic folk metal releases so far this year. ‘Lo Sabbat’ doesn’t have the inherent memorability of recent records from folk metal bands like Fejd and Heidevolk but I think their sound, concept and source of inspiration are by far more interesting. Well worth a listen if you have any interest in folk metal.

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Artist Lou Quinse
Type Album
Released May 8, 2018
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Genres
Folk Metal

Mio capu nantu à u mio capu. 3.25/5.0

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