JULII: Rats Of The Senate
Release year: 2021
Some time ago, I reviewed the debut full-length album of neoclassical martial industrial project Julii (click here to read). Though the album had its shortcomings and flaws, it still had enough of the good to warrant interest in further releases. And, as luck would have it, the project has released a digital-only 7-track release, Rats Of The Senate.
According to the description on the Bandcamp site, this release contains tracks from a demo titled The Fall Of Saturn – being released under another title, the listener can only wonder if there were more tracks on the actual demo. The project isn’t exactly forthcoming with information about itself, so we’re left guessing.
Released after Taste Of Triumph, I can only guess that the tracks on this demo were composed and recorded after said album. That would make sense, because I feel there has been some progress here.
By and large, Julii haven’t made any major changes to their expression. Bombastic, cinematic, entirely instrumental neoclassical martial industrial is still the name of the game. In other words, belligerent percussion, thundering brass and tense string sections convey very movie-like scenes of Roman armies at war, of the majesty of Rome at its height, and the royal stature of its iconic leaders. As far as any spectrum between the neoclassical and the industrial in martial industrial goes, Julii positions itself firmly towards the former.
Where subtle but significant changes have happened, or so my ears would at least have me believe, are in the dynamics between the compositions, in the atmospheres and in the dramatic arches of each track. More than just a single idea, especially the slightly longer tracks feel like they’re actually taking a bit of time to develop the ideas, juxtapositioning martial bombast with the odd moment of tension-building calm. Granted, and not surprising with track lengths mostly under three minutes, there could be still more development in this sector, but even so: for example the closing track Soldier Of The Imperium balances bombast with a more subdued trail-off, and it pays off.
What hasn’t changed between releases is that Julii sounds good – in fact, really good. Turn up the volume and just listen to this stuff. At the best of times, it sounds massive. Again: truly cinematic, like a scene from some historical war movie.
In the end, Rats Of The Senate is a nice little snack-sized bite. With it’s short running time, it neither overstays its welcome, nor starts to feel like it’s repeating the same old tricks track after track. Cynically speaking, this in itself might mitigate shortcomings in comparison to the doubly longer full-length.
Considering it’s available for free download at Julii’s Bandcamp, there’s absolutely no reason to check it out. It’s not like there’s too much martial industrial in the world, right? …so go and give ’em a listen.
Summary: Still bombastic and cinematic in its martial prowess, Julii seem to have found time for a little progression.
Visit Julii on their Bandcamp