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March of Heroes – La Chute

March of Heroes have triumphantly returned from their last battles on Rage in Eden in 2007’s “March for Glory” and 2010’s “Liberation” (as well as a split with Phragments and Across the Rubicon entitled “Scontrum Act VIII”)  with their first release since departing in 2010, “La Chute”.  This is the band’s first work since joining forces with Steinklang Industries, and in going with the strong effort of their previous releases, “La Chute” can only simply be described as a bold masterpiece in the genre of Martial Industrial.  For this album, the usual face behind the project in Romain Lemenorel has recruited the help of Jim Breedveld and Mitchell Keepin.  Whereas Lemenorel is also known for his dark ambient work “Shadow of Memory” under the Abandoned Place moniker for a one-off release on the short-lived Thonar Records, Breedveld has now become known for — in addition to his work here in March of Heroes — “Triumph of the Past” as The True Will, and, more recently, “A Means to an End” as Staalkracht.  Thus, while there isn’t an overwhelming amount of experience behind the compositions found here, there is certainly enough to bode well for the reception of “La Chute”.

“La Chute” translates to “The Fall”, so it isn’t difficult to see that most of the music to be found here will be apocalyptically themed in sound and strong in emotion.  Some tracks, including the opener “Introduction”, contain an Atrium Animae-style minimal, operatic female vocal presence that effectively creates a bleak atmosphere of despair from the beginning.  Operatic synth as well as string and organ layers are the epitome of melody to be found in the tracks on the album, whereas the primary instrument isn’t instrumentation at all, but rather the raw bestial presence of war on the frontlines.  Epic classical samples are utilized in various degrees, but mostly buried deep within the mix under massive synth drones that layer some tracks but never come noticeably to the forefront.  Despite these dark influences, “La Chute” comes off as strongly masculine in nature and less Gothic than some other projects that are associated with the genre.  An ever-increasing amount of bombast lines the percussive side of “La Chute” while artillery of all kinds fires off in every direction.  “La Chute” in it’s darkest moments is obviously chaotic and seeps hopelessness, but is also strangely hymnal and lined with aural religious overtones that feed it’s apocalyptic theme.

Mind you, it isn’t the music itself nor the samples that make “La Chute” so incredibly on a brutally honest level about the sounds of war.  Rather, it’s the intense production that the release boasts.  These tracks could easily be flat works of amateur martial experimentalism, but instead the artists have obviously dedicated a large amount of time towards the mixing, manipulating samples and changing volume levels, weaving war-time samples into the music as if they were an instrument on their own.  These characteristics tell the story and give off the correct moods that March of Heroes has to accomplish to make this a successful record, and in that sense “La chute” is flawless.  It’s a battle from start to finish, never letting up for a straight track of dark ambiance or spoken word, always with the menacing sound of exploding shells and gunfire in the distance to greet the listener with every successive track.

Rating: 5/5
Written by: Sage
Label: Steinklang Industries (Austria) / SK55 / CD
Dark Ambient / Martial Industrial / Neoclassical