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Nietzsche spoke of mankind's productivity when in opposition; nothing is more regenerative to our energies and creativity than the act of and desire for some kind of war. This is a fairly familiar idea, though expressed with perhaps unusual grandiloquence (in typical Nietzschean style), for many metal outfits and fans. We're all about conflict. But one reason martial industrial groups, Arditi included, strike such a chord with many a metalhead, is their shared dedication to matters of warfare and conflict; though rendered in a slightly different form, the tone and intent of the material at work is the same. There is a reason these guys are listed on the pedantic metal-archives.com when a great number of pedestrian metalcore and nu-metal bands are not, despite their distorted guitars. Spirit of Sacrifice makes a good starting point to appreciating or at least understanding that.
Military drums are omnipresent, as are funereal dirges of classical synth and orchestral sample. The album's sound mixes the fairly clear (if distant) drums and spoken word vocals with fuzzy samples and synths. It is also relentlessly dreary and gloomy throughout, and may take the nihilistic tendencies of those listening to at least doom and black metal or some other dark ambient or gothic material to appreciate. It reminds me somewhat of the vampy soundtrack to the classic video game Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver; that game's stately petrified canyons and dark medieval towns provide the sort of imagery that would go as well with this material as the beset Roman courtyards and ruined World War era cities Arditi conjure. The point is, it is highly evocative, atmospheric work that given the right listening conditions can be absolutely undeniable in its imagery and mood.
There are highlights of course; Arditi split their albums into songs like anyone else. 'Palingenesis' does little more than set the mood; 'Religion of the Blood' is the first "hit" here; insistently rapping drum tattoos underneath an ominous, almost gothic spread of dark synths and the muttered ranting about war and religion that smatters the album. The title track and 'Our Misfortune' are slow (it's all slow, but these are er, slower) brooding masterpieces of futuristic keys and booming drums. 'Nicht Mehr Schande' is pretty interesting - the drums muffled as if heard recorded upon some monochromatic television, dominating the spare synths. The choirs that would become more of a focus on later records like Leading The Iron Resistance make an appearance on 'The Measures of Our Age' - sounds classy and foreboding.
This particular record was recorded around the time a few black metal bastards would have become familiar with them via the fantastic 'Deathmarch' from Marduk's Mortuus-debuting Plague Angel, and to those for whom that and the song '1651' from Rom 5:12 are highlights in the band's repertoire, this album should slake a thirst. I can't listen to this kind of thing all the time, but when the mood is right, or when reading great prose, or perhaps playing some war-torn video game, this is one album that's top-notch.