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For some time, Swedish artists Arditi and like-minded Toroidh have been regarded as two of the major martial-industrial artists in the music world. Combined with the talent and dedication of both artists, one can expect a split album such as this to be nothing short of a masterpiece. One need not worry, for such is delivered.
“United in Blood”, as mentioned above, is an album of combined effort. It plays out very smoothly, one
track leading to another, to form a nearly flawless, almost “story-like” atmosphere. It contains eleven skillfully produced tracks labeled only with Roman numerals, adding to its mysterious and foreboding nature.
Like a well-written novel, the first track, with its cadence-like drum beat and ominous chorale entries, draws in listeners in an almost hypnotic way. A soft pipe organ makes an appearance for a few seconds scattered throughout the two and a half-minute track. One can almost picture a file of soldiers marching on to a victorious, or even ill-fated, battle.
Its follower, II, is a symphonic and militantly beautiful track and one I liked very much. An illegible voice is heard penetrating the symphonic wall at certain intervals speaking of what one can’t be sure. A bit more than half-way through, an eerie chanting chorus of an unknown song stemming from an assumed military origin adds to the amalgam of industrial noise.
Track III, comparable to the first, contains a repetitive beat battling an overlay of a warped speech detailing the comparison of major corporations to totalitarian systems. The effects make it somewhat difficult to hear in its entirety, but it somehow adds to the overall feeling of the album, not deterring the track in any way.
The following track, IV, is rather subdued, but haunting. A slow bass drum, akin to one used perhaps on a ship to instruct rowers or other workers, is drowned out by a soft military tap repeated for a minute or two. This track in particular is especially haunting; it would make wonderful background music for Gestapo officers trailing victims or enforcing a curfew or soldiers undertaking a classified mission under the cover of night.
V has a more undulating sound to it with the way the artists produced the track. Several excerpts from speeches unknown are peppered throughout its four minute duration. There is almost a bit of nervousness or tension in V, like a nation eagerly awaiting the arrival of a dictator at a podium. It ends with an excellent seguay of an officer calling for company-wide attention.
VI is perhaps the most frantic of the eleven tracks. It is also the shortest. Strained and loud, it ushers in a sense of panic as another heavily pounding drum provides the percussion, tapering off to a march-like tattoo half-way into the track.
The following piece, much like IV, is another eerie track. A distant, echoing voice calls for wants unknown as an even more distant crowd cheers. The voices are broken once in a while by a sharp, rasping echo. Perhaps a rally to seek revenge upon those who caused the panic and chaos that took place in the last track? A perfect example of the flow of “United in Blood”.
Track VIII is one of my personal favourites on the album. The beginning is rich with a repetitive acoustic guitar of apparent Toroidh influence, far-away bomb detonations, and the cry of a wolf, all while under the never-ending wail of the wind found in nearly every track. The melodious cacophony is cut off by the tolling of a bell and a cheerful propaganda-filled song extolling what is presumed to be a leader of the Second World War or the gallantry of a nation. This music clip fades out, ushering in the next track, another favourite of mine.
IX is one of the more repetitive tracks. This, like a few before it, contains a snippets of a speech drowned out by the same bars of another military march, one staccato and proud. Both the speaker and the march fade into the sound of a war drummer calling the men to march onwards.
Track X is another of driving effort, in the vein of IV and VI. A pipe organ, similar to the fill on the first track, accompanies the grinding beat, forcing war-weary fighters onwards towards the final stand.
Coming to an end, the final track couldn’t have been more perfectly matched to the finale of a martial-industrial album. Slow, somber music perhaps once played over the wireless to soothe the agitated nerves of awaiting countrymen and women in times of upheaval and uncertainty fade in out. This track brings the album to a wonderful close, ending with the same winded track used through much of “United in Blood”. It leaves the listener longing for more, for one final effort, one final battle.
*This album easily makes it on to my “Top Metal/Industrial Albums” list and one of my favourite music albums period. I’ve been fortunate enough to have obtained this industrial rarity. Being interested in military history and world history, I was immediately drawn to both of these artists and the genre upon hearing of them. My only issue with “United in Blood” is that it was strictly limited to one thousand copies. In my opinion, such a masterpiece should be well-distributed for fans and followers, however, the reason behind the copy number is both Arditi and Toroidh’s business. A well-produced, finely-crafted, and legendary combined effort well-deserving of an Iron Cross, first class.
Recommended for fans of: Puissance, Cold Fusion, Signa Inferre, Von Thronstahl, and those interested in World War II themes.*
Outstanding Tracks: I, II, IV, VIII, IX