IGNOTO MILITI: Presente
Release year: 2020
Martial industrial is a genre that forever lurks somewhere in the distance, beyond “regular” industrial and neofolk, the two genres it is most closely related to. Even the more illustrious names of the genre – Blood Axis, Puissance, Arditi and so on – are firmly ensconced in the marginals of the underground. It could perhaps be said that only Blood Axis has well and truly managed to transcend the ultra-obscure nature of the genre. But even though it may be an obscure genre existing in the underground of the underground, it is a genre that is far from dead.
Italian Ignoto Militi are good proof of that: rumbling from the deep depths of the martial industrial underground, their self-released debut album is testimony of the scene being alive. Perhaps it is the curse of our time that we fight in isolation, but at least martial industrial as a genre is not about to capitulate. The isolated pockets of resistance keep on sending signals of continued struggle.
There’s not much information to be found about the project online. Apparently Ignoto Militi is a two-man project, and that’s about all I managed to dig up with some brief searching. And that the project is from Italy, and this is the debut album. The rest is unknown – fittingly, for a project whose name translates to “the unknown soldier”.
Presente is a rather varied album, showcasing a variety approaches to the martial sound. There’s tracks that are in the epic, classical martial industrial with hints of Cold Meat Industry sound, tracks relying on heavy martial percussion and industrial soundscapes, material in a very neofolk vein, bombastic brass; heck, there’s even a black metal track on the album. On the occasion, Presente feels more like a compilation of tracks than an album per se, a showcase of a lot of different forms of expression rather than a unified whole. However, the over-arching atmosphere of martial bombast and faded glory give the album sufficient coherence.
With the exception of Oltre La Vita!, the already mentioned black metal track, Presente is quite proficient. This one track is entirely redundant and feels a bit tacked-on, but otherwise Presente manages to stand above any gray mass regardless of the style and approach employed on any given track. Particular highlights include the synth choir driven, epic and melancholic San Michele; Addio, Primavera with its neofolk-strumming and quite adequate singing, and the first proper track on the album, XXIV Maggio, which is prime classic martial industrial with its synthesized orchestral sounds.
Presente is a promising debut album. It’s varied tracks exhibit a talent that is not bound to any single stylistic approach. However, on the flipside, one could perhaps hope for a bit more focus and more in-depth exploration of a sparser range of audial concepts instead of the patchwork that Presente is.
Still, no reason to beat around the bush: Presente is a very decent album. It does leave some things to be desired, but nonetheless piques the interest for future releases – and is a release that stands its own ground without need for any mitigating circumstances.