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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Arditi - "Imposing Elitism"

Artist: Arditi
Album: Imposing Elitism
Year: 2015
Label: Equilibrium Music
Genre: Martial Industrial / Dark Ambient
Website: www.equilibriummusic.com

Here we have the latest album from Arditi whom need no introduction - they're one of the front-runners of the martial industrial genre and have been releasing steadily since the early 00s. Their new album is called Imposing Elitism, because it's Arditi and of course it's fucking called that. And as a martial industrial record its 9 tracks of exactly what you'd expect. It has been released in pretty much every format: in CD and 2 versions of vinyl (one being gold) via Equilibrium Music, and on cassette by another label called Temple Of Death Productions.

Once again, Arditi thrusts the listener into a dismal world of perpetual strife and warfare. Over the years they've gotten quite proficient at it and this record absolutely nails the "martial" atmosphere. The opening track "Imposing Elitism" is absolutely my favorite here; it is the perfect mixture of gloomy, ambient atmosphere and militaristic bombast. The rolling snares of marching legions fit perfectly with the muted strings and ghostly drones. One thing that I really enjoy about this record is the focus on ambient passages which develop atmosphere, and not as much emphasis on the bombastic stuff that can easily be overdone in this genre. While many of the tracks of course have the aforementioned heavy percussion, pads, etc; there are also several such as "Heroic Age" which focus exclusively on building atmosphere and either contain no percussion or use it instead as an accent to the heavy, foreboding ambient soundscapes. While these types of tracks may not be as "exciting" per say as the heavier ones, they are crucial in crafting the overall tone and mood of the album. I feel that Imposing Elitism completely captures the feelings you'd have in this old world they've created: The fear and terror of marching into the fog of war to face unknown enemy assailants. The depression of standing in your crumbling homeland ravaged by years of warfare, juxtaposed with the yearning for honor gained by fighting for and defending it. And on tracks like "Sturm auf die Zukunft" the glory of arriving home from battle alive amongst your remaining battalion.  Although they hit all the cliches of the genre, Arditi successfully uses them exactly as they were meant to be used. Tracks like "The Earth Shall Tremble Under The Tramp Of Our Feet" and "Dawn Of A New Mythos" expertly use crushing drums, choirs, speeches, keyboards and drones to deliver that archetypal martial industrial that so many strive for but fall short. My only complaint is that the production is still very raw and not nearly as crisp or hard-hitting as Triarii (who in my opinion is the zenith of this style), but I feel that it is an improvement over older material and I suppose it could be argued that the rawness contributes to the overall bleak atmosphere.

Lets be real, nobody is blowing minds in the martial industrial genre and neither are these guys. But when you want to immerse yourself in the darkened world of an age past, where the landscape is scarred, cities are ravaged, all of humanity is engaged in endless war, and men are struggling for honor & atonement than you can't go wrong with this record. While it remains safely within the boundaries of the typical "martial" sound, I feel that Arditi does an excellent job at "worldbuilding" on this album and each of the tracks further crafts & builds upon this world that the listener is being transported to. Each track works together well and as a whole it is a very cohesive album. As I said earlier, this is pretty much the archetype for "martial industrial" and would be a very good place to start for someone looking to explore this style.

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