Review: March of Heroes - La Chute (2011)


artist: March of Her­oes
release: La Chute
format: CD
year of release: 2011
label: Steink­lang
dur­a­tion: 71:49

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

I always approach mar­tial indus­trial records with a sense of trep­id­a­tion, as there are a lot of so-so, unin­spired albums out there, in a genre that is rather claus­tro­phobic, if we’re totally hon­est. Too many copycats, rehash­ing of themes, and so forth. In that con­text, La Chute didn’t look all that prom­ising with its sepia war pic­tures and French titles indic­at­ing all sorts of war­time them­at­ics. Listen­ing to the music, a num­ber of poten­tial little irrit­ants are there as well: the oblig­at­ory use of samples of crackly clas­sical music and gun­fire, speeches, etc.

How­ever, after a few listens, there is some­thing about the gen­eral com­pos­i­tion of this album that just works quite well. March of Her­oes (the pro­ject of Romain L., and with guest appear­ances by Jim Breedveld and Mitchell Keepin) infuses the tried and true mar­tial motifs into an album that feels most like a score to a film or even a video game. Mostly shy­ing away from the stand­ard march­ing tracks and devoid of any lyr­ics as such, the tracks on La Chute are very layered, and mostly blend into each other, form­ing a long sound­scape.

While there are sev­eral tracks where power­ful rhythm plays a major role - “Un Appel aux Armes” incor­por­ates the same bom­bastic clas­sical sample as Kar­jalan Sis­sit’s “Kun­nia Isän­maa”, for example - a lot of it is calmer, and the mood is mostly sad, oppress­ive, and sor­row­ful, rather than aggress­ive or glor­i­fy­ing. Melody comes pre­dom­in­antly from soft synth lay­er­ing, while addi­tional melody and tex­ture is provided by the afore­men­tioned samples, envir­on­mental sounds, and here and there some lighter per­cus­sion.

Per­haps the remin­is­cence of soundtrack or score comes from some of the samples used. At least one I recog­nise out­right: the lovely dream sequence theme by Michael Hoenig (the Tan­ger­ine Dream one), writ­ten for the clas­sic game Baldur’s Gate, ori­gin­ally released in 1998, and worked to great effect into the track “Parmi la Poussière et les Ruines”. There are prob­ably more of such (uncred­ited) ele­ments.

So, while we can nit­pick about the lack of them­atic or styl­istic ori­gin­al­ity, and the amount of bor­row­ing work tak­ing place here, La Chute is still a very con­vin­cing album, drip­ping with an omin­ous atmo­sphere, some­where between mar­tial indus­trial and dark ambi­ent. Even over a length of 70+ minutes, it has a sense of urgency and a flaw­less tim­ing and flow. In other words, an extremely solid album that should be inter­est­ing to mar­tial afi­cion­ados of course, as well as some skep­tics like myself who find them­selves drawn in des­pite ini­tial mis­giv­ings.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Intro­duc­tion (6:50)
2. Leur Terre, Leur Sang (6:35)
3. La Guerre De L’Inconnu (4:00)
4. Un Appel Aux Armes (5:20)
5. Une Marche Pour La Gloire (3:00)
6. Col­lab­or­a­tions (4:40)
7. Du Sang Sur Mes Mains (7:10)
8. Les Derniers Jours (4:00)
9. Pour Une Cause Per­due (5:10)
10. Parmi La Poussière Et Les Ruines (4:15)
11. L’Europe Après La Guerre (3:40)
12. La Chute (7:50)
13. La Lib­er­a­tion (4:20)
14. En La Mem­oire Des Dis­parus (4:59)