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Qntal – VIII Nachtblume Review


Qntal’s eighth studio album Nachtblume is another leaf in the page of their electronica-pagan-rock hybrid. There’s still not a band out there that quite does their mix of dance floor beats, ancient instrumentation and operatic siren-like vocals. They’ve slowly dropped a lot of the bigger rock sections over time, veering more electronic these days but when no one else is pushing these combo’s of buttons, Qntal has the market audience and continue to wow. It’s another strong and powerful album – providing more of their signature sound and that’s ok with me.

The title track opens up relatively simply with some techno keyboards, plenty of drums and a real groove to get you going and it tee’s you up for the fact that this is going to be a big stomping album of hedonistic rhythms and new-neo-folk tendencies. That comes to the fore with “Die finstre Nacht” which has a more demonic male vocal and plenty of dramatic synth strings to make the night march all the more dramatic. “Music on the Waters” feels very Turkish and feels like it belongs in the camp of their more mournful and industrial mid-tempo tracks. The pipes here are lovely. “Monteclair” is another stand out for me as it is cinematic, rhythmic, melodic and also quite dark. There’s something about an angelic voice singing like an embodiment of purity whilst chaos reigns around her. It’s when I find Qntal at their best and this is an example of it.  “Echo” is another example of it, but twisting towards an electronica ballad with a hugely catchy chorus that sounds Irish-German and traditional in a witchy way.

Rock hasn’t escaped Qntal though and so with rough drumloops, hammered dulcimers ready to smash and guitars to chugs “Parliament of Fowles” see’s them really go for it. It’s not really rock, it’s closer to drum and bass with a flute solo in it – but I love the mashup and its an anthem in waiting. “Chint” is a Eurodance polka-like alchemic folk piece. It’s fast, furious, rocking the herdy gurdy and has giant high heels kicking the dirt. “Before the World Was Made” see’s a relatively rare English track and its an electro-acoustic slower track that feels like a misty dreamscape or a call from the wild beyond your vision. The guitars on the album always colour the music rather than take charge of it and here you can hear and feel every string pluck – like your inside a zither. It’s a really nice effect. “O Fortuna” is a techno chant and the kind of music Qntal initially was known for so it’s a lovely call back to their origins before the swinging “Minnelad” gives us a slow-motion vocal performance alongside a high-speed dance number. The combo of the two really makes the track feel otherworldly which is an understatement across the entire Qntal catalogue. The more industrial folk of “Sumervar” feels like the darkness before a final battle with a lot of big beefy drums and clangs of metal and then the album closes with “A Chantar” which feels dare I say South American. The whistles, the percussion, the beats and rhythm – it all points to a dance floor prayer for the Peruvian Gods.

Qntal never really huge evolve their formula but there’s so much they can do inside it that it doesn’t matter. Fans of the band will lap up their new album with aplomb and new fans can absolutely start here, unless they want something a bit more gothic rock, inwhich case start with “III Tristan und Isolde”. Either way – no-one else takes ancient folk to the clubs like Qntal do and long may it continue.

Recommended track: Monteclair

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Qntal - VIII Nachtblume


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