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“Hegemonikon (A Journey to the End of Light)” is the title of ROME’s new album and was released in November 2022 by Trisol Music. Hellenic spirit dominates their new album, as one can see from its title. The Stoic Philosophers were the first to refer to the word “Hegemonic”, in their attempt to understand and interpret the phenomenon of human self-consciousness, giving content to the concepts of “body” and “soul”. “The Hegemonic” was, according to the Stoic philosophers, the dominant part of the soul, in other words, the mind and reason, which lead to human virtue.
In ROME’s previous albums, the lyrics of the songs dealt with past threats to Europe, the loss of contact with the pagan roots that united the continent. Now, ROME’s lyrics deal with the real, present, existential threat facing Europe and a fictional dystopian future. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Jérôme has not only published music about Ukraine, but has also performed in the theatre of war in Kiev and Lviv. The concert was broadcast live and the audience watching it online was invited to make donations, with these being given to a free refugee shelter. This is a small – but important – parenthesis, about the identity of the Luxembourg band and its intersection of music and politics.
On the purely musical part now, ROME on the new album musically explore an area on the border between electronic new wave, neofolk and alternative rock, taking their already remarkable sound one step further. Inspired by their use of analog synthesizers, ROME’s new album marks a departure from the typical, guitar-driven neofolk that has characterized their most recent albums. An intense, minimalist and evocative atmosphere characterizes “Hegemonikon” and the result can be described as both epic and dramatic.
Jérôme’s emphatic narrations are married with electronic beats and synths, with guitars and drums (or percussion, rather) playing a secondary role, in stark contrast to the previous “Parlez-Vous Hate?”, where they had a dominant position in the compositions. What generally differentiates “Parlez-Vous Hate?” from Rome’s new alnum is the “extroversion” that characterized it. Here we are dealing with a completely “introverted” sound, with the tones dropping, the lyricism dominating, and the “journey towards the end of the light” being characterized by dark, ominous musical and lyrical paths.
There is plenty of subtlety and variety in the album’s eleven songs, yet the album does not feel in any way disjointed or disjointed. Each song contrasts with the one before it, the alternation is stimulating and interesting, and yet they all blend together perfectly in both order and style. There is therefore a strong sense of continuity in the tracks, which is further achieved thanks to Jérôme’s voice, which consistently connects the different styles explored in each track. Top moments are “New Flags”, “No Second Troy”, Hearts Mend”, “Surely Ash”. A beautiful musical journey is once again offered to us by ROME.
Those who want a “relaxing” musical listening and at the same time are concerned about the macro-political and cultural situation in Europe, invest in listening to “Hegemonikon”. This is a soundtrack that will not disappoint you.
Editor: Kostas Kafritsas
Related Link: ROME – Facebook Page