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March of Heroes – Liberation

March of Heroes – Liberation

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Written by: Kirill
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Country:
Label: Rage in Eden
Genre: Martial Industrial/Neoclassical/Dark Ambient
Tracklisting:

01 Prologue
02 Liberation (Part I)
03 Liberation (Part II)
04 Motherland Calls
05 Blood on my Hands
06 Espoir & Foi
07 Ashes & Memories
08 The Last Days
09 La Vie du Soldat
10 Epilogue

Even more frequently, it seems that the “martial” element of martial-industrial is not given, by artists, the focus and richness it deserves. The nature of martial music is bombastic, flamboyant, aggressive and often absurd. In interesting martial-industrial the sense of this militaristic absurdity is played off against an element of despair, tragedy and longing which characterizes the more keenly felt consequences of the martial spirit. Any music in this genre which hones in on the apocalyptic and brooding, introspective aspect while omitting the aforementioned bombast, in a way, is missing an important dimension.

It is thus refreshing to hear a martial-industrial album that has a richness to it, one that is not afraid to take bold steps in tone, tempo and composition, not leaving it floundering in a downtempo ambient mire with the occasional snare drum to break the synth. “Liberation” bases itself on solid and creative sampling. It does this extensively and it does this well. With this it takes the militaristic level to the extreme and the sound of combat that is often present throughout the tracks sometimes gives the feel that one is hearing the audio to a war movie one can’t see. In this respect, to use a dubious term, it is cinematic. Melody is often purposely at times omitted and the sound of shouts, speech and sound effect provides the atmospheric and emotional continuity. The source of most of the sampling appears to be Russian movies and recorded speeches from the war. The whole album centers around the the Soviet experience in World War II, the aural tapestry of which it paints with a subtle solemnity, but also with a keen sense of self awareness, never letting the pathos of its chosen matter to overshadow the weavings and quirks of the implementation. However, a minor nitpick – some sampling that I recognized was from a Russian film called “The 9th Company”, a movie set in the much more recent Afghan War. It slightly broke the established 1940s spirit for me, but was seriously insignificant in the grand scheme of the album.

Orchestral snippets are sampled, composed and altered but are not overused and introduced anywhere just for the hell of it. Rachmaninoff’s “Isle of the Dead” is invoked several times, but not merely brought in for its own sake and then discarded; it is muffled, sped up and tailored to more aptly fit the iron culture of ideology and death that the album is transfixed on. Russian folk songs, soldier’s songs, historical pronouncements and announcements are introduced with the same feeling of dehumanizing distance, as lurid artifacts, emphasizing how truly inconceivable and beyond comprehension the terrors of history are for us. That no matter the complexity and profundity of the piece, art cannot even hope to scratch the surface of the event that was the Eastern Front. That is why an arms-length interpretation is required, a need to not come across as overly earnest while still granting the requisite reverence towards the memory. “Liberation” is this. It is the shadow of a memory, a recoloured snapshot from the front. While bordering on the overblown at times, it does not slip into a detached music of personal rumination or a flimsy sequence of aimless sampling. For this it is to be commended and recommended.

Rating: 4/5

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