Rome: Die Aesthetik der Herrschaftsfreiheit (Per Google translate: The Aesthetics of Freedom from Domination)
Originally released as a triple album, all three discs are now available individually as standalone albums--though I still think the best way to digest them is to listen to them as they were originally released. Of course, listening to any triple album is also going to be an exhausting experience, and this album is no exception. Particularly if, like me, you don't speak German--while the German spoken-word interludes work wonders for the atmosphere, there are a lot of them, and they tend to stretch on quite long. That this is the only complaint I can make about a newfolk/martial industrial album that stretches on for two and a half hours and seeks nothing less than to be a thematically cohesive examination of anarchist philosophy, the relationship between art and politics, and the struggle for utopia, is, I feel, saying something. This is a Big Idea album of a particularly literate and political sort the likes of which you rarely see outside of punk (or Bob Dylan and Deathspell Omega), and its influences range widely, from Joy Division to Leonard Cohen, as well as drawing upon European military narratives (unsurprising, given that two of Rome's previous albums were concept albums about the French and Spanish civil wars). For fans of Scott Walker and Nick Cave at their most serious, ambitious, and uncompromising.
But if that all sounds like a bit much for you, then you can always just treat the whole endeavor as three separate albums of well-crafted, atmospheric, serious-minded, and occasionally genuinely beautiful Cohen-esque folk. Either way you approach this sprawling work (and indeed, Rome's discography as a whole) you're likely to get something worthwhile out of it, as long as you're an open-minded and adventurous sort. That said, I feel I should offer a disclaimer of sorts: many European neofolk bands, and Rome specifically, have found sympathetic ears among some unsavory types. Jerome Reuter of Rome has made it clear numerous times that the ideologies he espouses are not in alignment with these groups (neo-Nazis are a prominent one), and that he believes that insofar as Rome is a political group that its politics directly oppose those of the said unsavory audience. Still, it's an unfortunate fact of life that if you get into some genres of music (European neofolk, black metal) that you're going to encounter connections like these. The best thing you can do is to analyze the lyrical content and to make a determination about its value for yourself.