Rome - Masse Mensch Material (2008)

Track listing:

1. Sonnengötter
2. Der Brandtaucher
3. Das Feuerordal
4. Der Tote Spielmann
5. Wir Götter Der Stadt
6. Die Nelke
7. Der Erscheinungen Flucht
8. Die Brandstifter
9. Kriegsgötter
10. Wir Moorsoldaten
11. Neue Erinnerung
12. Nachtklang

Rome is a Luxembourgian project that blends influences from neofolk, martial industrial and other musical styles together. Rome is the project of Jerome Reuter, although Patrick Damiani also contributes ideas and is now considered a full member of the project. Rome's music is intelligent and meticulously arranged, displaying a level of intricacy not usually seen in modern music. Unlike some other acts in the neofolk and martial music scene, Rome proudly displays the phrase "MAKE ART - NOT WAR" on their MySpace.

Masse Mensch Material is a work of immense craftsmanship and vision. Reuter's passionate, commanding vocals and lyrics combine with acoustic folk music and influences from martial industrial and military pop. "Der Brandtaucher" and "Kriegsgötter" showcase a heavy martial influence, while "Das Feuerordal" and "Neue Erinnerung" are beautiful songs based around acoustic guitar. The music is textured and immersive, sometimes accentuated by samples from movies or other sources. The lyrics touch on a variety of subjects, such as love, politics, war and betrayal, sometimes covering more than one of these subjects in the same song:

Our cause so sweet and bitter
Has lost its hard blood glitter
It remains afloat on the waves
When anger fills our sails
Mutinous for the space of a second
You prayed and feared and beckoned
Now your heart is pounding away
Just like mine

Should I accept this out of kindness?
Should I reject it out of shyness?
Your sleep is stabbed by dreams
Just like mine
Should I accept this out of kindness?
Should I reject it out of shyness?
Your gift so pure and sweet
Unlike mine

Reuter's voice often reminds of Nick Cave, although he also provides an obvious homage to Tom Waits' on "Die Brandstifter." Although he sometimes seems to channel the spirit of these legendary singer-songwriters, his voice still manages to be as distinct as his musical vision.

This album comes together as a nearly flawless statement from a powerful musical project. It's rare to see this level of care and commitment to creating a cohesive work of art. The real beauty of Masse Mensch Material lies not in the strength of the individual compositions, but in the way they fit together to create a complete whole. Fans of Death in June, later Swans and Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio will most likely find this album refreshing and memorable.


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