ARDITI: Emblem Of Victory
Release year: 2023
Label: Blooddawn Productions
Few are names are regarded as highly in the martial industrial scene as Swedish Arditi, who have been in existence for over 25 years and whose debut album Marching On To Victory was released 20 years ago. Throughout the years, with a discography of solid quality, Arditi have marched to the absolute fore of the genre, and helped shape it as it is know in the 21st century.
As remarked in our review of the 2020 CD edition of their 2018 album Bloodtheism (read here), variety has never been Arditi’s strong suit. This does not change on Emblem Of Victory: if you know Arditi, you know what to expect.
And that is, of course, belligerent percussion pounding marching rhythms, oppressive ambience created by synths, tastefully used orchestrations and orchestral samples, and plenty of speech samples. The end result, a very typically Arditi-sounding album of oppressive, menacing atmospheres that speak of war, struggle, conflict and the heroism of those who partake in it. As before, there is a certain distant quality to the sound: as if the album came from behind some nigh on impenetrable fog of war.
In other words, nothing new under the sun. I suspect it is no coincidence that two albums separated by exactly 20 years both evoke similar imagery in their titles: in 2003, Marching On To Victory proclaimed impending victory, and in 2023, Emblem Of Victory evokes the symbol of victory. The similarities run deeper: the casual listener might not be able to tell the two albums apart from each other, or just about any other two albums from the project’s discography.
And, very true, listening to Arditi’s discography back-to-back might prove an exhausting task, as the basic blueprint of the project’s sound has remained largely the same since onset. Even to the dedicated fan, there is probably only so much of the quintessentially same menacing, epic, dark martial industrial they can take.
However, Arditi have also kept that other essential thing about them on Emblem Of Victory: the quality. Whilst this may not be the shining jewel of their discography – but then, I can’t say which album would be! – this is a very solid addition to it. Fans will certainly not be disappointed, unless they were expecting a stylistic paradigm shift.
And so, Emblem Of Victory is yet another very solid, even if somewhat predictable piece of martial industrial. Casual listeners who already have an album or two in their collection probably won’t need it, but fans or Arditi and martial industrial will definitely want it despite it being more or less “the same old, the same old.”
And, in this age, when it seems like martial industrial is somewhat stuck in a rut and interesting releases are a relative scarcity, it is always welcome for one of the pillars of the genre to give a sign of life.