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military pop

Rome * Die Æsthetik Der Herrschaftsfreiheit (3cd 2011)

Following the ‘route’ Rome has taken with their earlier releases, I did not ignite in enthusiasm when I heard about the new album, especially not when I noticed that it is actually a 3cd! “Die Aesthetik Der Herrschaftsfreiheit” comes in a luxery 3cd box with a shirt and whatnot, but this box is 100 euros new. You can also get the three cds separately, each for the full price of a cd… I have to admit that I first looked up this album on the internet because I was still interested to hear what Rome would sound like today (and then I got the separate cds instead of the box). Of course the band has three full-length cds to their disposal, but I am very happy to be able to say that this new monster-release will probably please both old and new fans. The new fans who have known Rome since they signed on Trisol might be a bit intimidated by the opening of this grand opus. After some spoken word (a sample it seems), the first cd “Aufbruch / A Cross Of Wheat” opens with a noisy martial industrial track that may not conform with some people’s idea of the romantic-sounding band. Fans of old will put up a smile knowing that the band did not entirely disbandon their old sound. Things get better though! Like on the brilliant early releases, there are tracks with the great samples-backgrounds, instantly moistening my eyes. There are also more of the singer/songwriter songs, but also more experimental, almost industrial tracks and great poppy songs. All this is alternated with (either or not backed up by ambient sounds) speaking samples. Indeed, whatever you thought about Rome in the past and think about them now, you might want to listen to these three new cds. Overall “Die Æsthetik Der Herrschaftsfreiheit” might not be a masterpiece like the first cds, but it sounds better to me than the previous releases and there sure are some masterpieces on “Aufbruch / A Cross Of Wheat”, “Aufruhr / A Cross Of Fire” and “Aufgabe / A Cross Of Flowers”.
Links: Rome, Trisol

v/a * Heilige Feuer IV, the video archives (dvd 2005)

I do not remember if I consciously chose the DVD of “Heilige Feuer IV” from the Steinklang sales-list, but there is also a cd version, supposedly with different tracks. What you get on this DVD is a ‘film’ with a noisy soundtrack which is an alright watch. Further there are two live recordings of the following projects: Vetrophonia (a project that I did not know), Painslut, Bearer Of The Inmost Sun, Rasthof Dachau and Allerseelen. Not unexpectedly are all tracks harsch noise, save for Allerseelen’s ‘military pop’. I must say that it is nice to have to descent live recordings of my music, but there is nothing here that I find really good. Not a bad buy for 5 euros, but Steinklang seems to have it listed for 17 again.

Der Blutharsch * 2009 tour 7″

2009Stupid me. I saw Der Blutharsch twice during their last tour, but I did not buy this single because I was not sure I did not have it… Fortunately copies have ended up at a couple of distros so you can still get it. Not that you should buy it for the music though. The fairly discoish track with Jeffrey D. is no masterpiece, but I try to keep up with the band’s releases a bit.
Link: Der Blutharsch / WKN

Rome * Flowers From Exile (cd 2009)

Flowers From ExileStarting as the new hope for martial industrial and military pop, the new label advertises for Rome with comparison to Leonard Cohen. You do not have to fear for a bluesy folk sound (nothing bad said about Cohen of course), but indeed, Rome seems to continue to move towards more of a singer/songwriter approach. I was not immediately impressed by the previous release, which Jérôme himself calls a “single”, but I do happen to like to play it. “Flowers From Exile” has blown me away from the first play, just like the earlier releases. Rome has officially turned into a duo, but that does not change much about the sound. As a matter of fact, the sound reminds more of the earlier material than I expected from “To Die Among Strangers”. Like I said, the music is more “singer/songwriter”, mostly just guitar and singing and a bit of drumming, but there are still things going on on the background and Rome does keep a ‘martial’ edge in the use of samples. The songs are great, better than when I heard them at the performance in Leipzig. Just as before, Rome manages to work on my mood (the fact that the music is pretty damn melancholic is a reason that I do not play it all that often). There are nice melodies, good ideas and, like I said before, that ‘full’ sound with things on the background, the details that I have loved Rome for since the beginning. “Flowers From Exile” is the first full length on the German label Trisol, which is Rome’s way of reaching new audiences and they definately deserve that, since they have again proven that they are the better songwriters of our scene. Finally a masterpiece has come from our scene again.
And I almost forget to mention that their finally is a proper website too (see link below).
Links: Rome, Trisol

Rome * To Die Among Strangers (mcd 2009)

To Die Among StrangersSo the new Rome is a mcd, a “teaser” for the new album? Because of the new label perhaps? Four tracks of which two are rerecorded old tracks. Three times poppy neofolk and an ambient/industrial sound collage. Not bad, but I prefered a new full-length. I guess I will have to wait.
Links: Rome, Trisol

Rome * Masse Mensch Material (cd 2008 cold meat industry)

Strange actually, this cd could be listened in full and bought digitally on the CMI website a couple of weeks before the actual release. I have looked forward for this new album. I love this project from Luxemburg, but I don’t play his cds too often because they are rather melancholic. The latter is a little less present on “MMM”, but the sound doesn’t differ all that much from the earlier releases. Rome makes music somewhere between neofolk and military pop and has thick ‘wavy’ influences. Especially the tracks in the beginning sound even more “gothic” than we got used to and the music may not (allways) ‘grab me’ as much as on the previous albums, but the songs are again very well structured and layered and all known elements are again present. “MMM” is again a very good album with perhaps the only minor point that it remains a bit too much in the sound that we all know by now. That is hardly a reason not to buy this album though, because it is a lot better than almost anything coming from that corner of our scene nowadays.
Links: Rome, Cold Meat Industry

Rome * Confessions d’un Voleur d’Ames (cd 2007 cold meat industry)

Rome from Luxembourg has delighted us with a magnificent mcd and a brilliant full-length and only months later there is a new album, again on CMI. I hope this tempo will not continue and lead to overkill. “Confessions” is again a masterpiece. It is slightly different in style, but still ‘very much Rome’. The bombastic and orchestral opener may appeal to the lovers of the popular martial industrial style, but again the cd is very tranquil and melancholic. Just on a few occasions you will get something more industrial. Actually, this new cd is more tranquil with accoustic guitar and singing than on the previous releases. Besides this you will hear ambient, wave-like sounds, industrial, orchestrations and here and there a martial tone (especially in the background samples). Rome as a concept is carefully put together with a great ear and eye for details. The music is multi-layered with a lot of things happening on the background. This care also shows during live-performances where a beautiful film is projected on the background which goes perfectly with the songs and the lyrics. If you like the previous releases, you will also like “Confessions”. As a personal note I have to add that the previous releases (which I have put on one disc and always play as one thing) have more songs that really give me gooseflesh and work on my emotion, so in this regard “Confessions” may be a little less good than “Berlin” and “Nera”. Maybe this is because the novelty is gone, I cannot tell. In any case, do not expect popular martial and orchestral industrial, but a very personal, intimate and melancholic release with brilliantly built-up songs.

Volksweerbaarheid * Van Kogels, Drank en Wrakhout (7″ 2005 carpe noctem records)

Yesterday Volksweerbaarheid played in Rotterdam together with Of The Wand And The Moon. So many new songs and only a new 7″… This little piece of vinyl is the result of a small festival together with Dead Man’s Hill and Allerseelen which was organised by Carpe Noctem Records from Belgium. It took a while before this 7″ saw the light of day, so that is why. On stage there were two new (?) female faces, a lady on the drums and one with a violin. Nothing of that on this 7″ yet, but undoubtely they will feature on future releases.
But to come to “Of Bullets, Drinks and Wreckage”. Volksweerbaarheid continue their unique musical course with musical jokes (this time some flamengo), Dutch 50’ies-like lyrics, odd artwork, etc. Fortunately we have a band here not giving a damn about what is hip and trendy (even when the violin resulted with one a little too much neofolk song on stage). So how to describe their music should any of you never heard (of) the band? Ehm, drums, acoustic guitars, sometimes a bass-guitar, here and there a sample and most earcatching are the lyrics/vocals. I suppose you just have to visit the website and listen to the mp3-snippets to get a better idea. To those who do know the band I can say that this 7″ is in the line starting with the cdemo (fairly ‘agressive’ drum-based music with neofolk) to the 10″ (more tranquil and experimental with here and there the drums) going towards a more experimental and tranquil sound with not too many drums. I like the 2nd and 3rd track a lot, time will tell if I only had to get used to the 1st one. In any case I am glad that there are still bands just doing their own thing and the fact that they are from my own country makes that even better. Now we can only hope that some good label wants to release a cd that is available for a larger audience too.