Now You Know: Cimmerian

Saturday, 1st February 2014

Formation: 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Style: Progressive, atmospheric death metal
Personnel: Tim Nagel (bass); Dean Nagel (guitars, vocals); Evan Dale (guitars, vocals)
Latest Release: Hollowing (2014, self-feleased)

Anyone checking DR on a regular basis will see that there have been a number of recent entries in the Now You Know section from the Windy City. An area currently churning out some excellent acts, we’ve already met Immortal Bird and Warforged. You may now add Cimmerian to that growing list. When asked if there was something strange brewing in Chicago currently, vocalist/guitarist Dean Nagel responds, “There is a large group of talented individuals within and around the Chicago scene, that all seem to be putting their professional material out now. We really enjoy the fact that we get to be a part of something larger than ourselves. Playing shows and meeting other bands who strive to make serious material, is extremely positive for everyone. We’re friends with the guys in Warforged and love playing shows with them. It’s all really a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”

Nagel states that he and a friend, “Came up with the name [Cimmerian] in middle school. We thought the name fit our style of music, specifically because it means dark and gloomy. So that became the musical and lyrical theme of the band.” Forming in 2010, they released their debut album, Infinite Perdition, in 2012. In comparison to their sophomore album, 2014’s recent release Hollowing, “Infinite Perdition was written when I was in junior high, and was released when I was only 15. During the process of writing Hollowing, we had discovered more influences, developed our technique, and had more experience overall as musicians. Hollowing is natural progression of everything we created with Infinite Perdition, musically and lyrically.”

After the release of Infinite Perdition, the band opened up for some national acts that came through the Chicago area, such as Obscura, Fallujah, and Nile before settling in to record Hollowing. Listening to the album, some of the band’s influences can be apparent, and they cite a number of metal’s best. “Musically we take large influence from Insomnium, Enslaved, Between the Buried and Me, and In Mourning,” says Nagel. “All of our lyrics are inspired by dreams and apparitions. We strive to have variety, our own sound, and personal meaning within our songs.”

Personally having discovered Cimmerian through Bandcamp, Nagel states that websites like Bandcamp are “Extremely important. The more available you make your music, the wider audience it gets spread to. Not only Bandcamp, but any music medium, and social media help out immensely.” The track chosen to represent Cimmerian pre-release (the entire album can now be streamed in it’s entirety at their Bandcamp page) was “Among Ghosts, We Wept,” an entertaining, yet more streamlined track compared to the rest of the songs you’ll hear on Hollowing.

When asked if there is one track that best represents the album, Nagel replies with “Metaphysical.” “[Metaphysical] has the most diverse structure, which represents our more “progressive” side. You will find not only that, but also a variety of black, technical, and melodic death metal. It shows how we utilize our influences and try to keep things unique. The song is about astral projection and transcending the realm of mortality. Which is really cool to us.”

One of the best things about Hollowing is Cimmerian’s ability to blend heavy riffs with plenty of emotional resonance. “Our songs are a further extension of our mood and feelings. We like to emotionally move the listener while also keeping a brutal undertone. We want the music, not just the lyrics, to have significant meaning to it. The songs on Hollowing are a balance between emotion and keeping things heavy.”

Additionally, the band knows how to craft an instrumental truly worthy of repeated listens. In handling the songwriting of Hollowing’s closing number, “Introversion.” “Moderation is key,” says Nagel. “Simplicity is something that a lot of bands purposely stray from. It can bring so much to a song, when it’s used at the right time. The album features a lot of over the top moments, so when it came to that song, the slow driving pace was a good way to finish. We wanted to have an epic ending that the listener would not forget. We felt that having a powerful instrumental track would be a great way for one to reflect and close the album.”

With the strength of Hollowing, it seems that the band’s unsigned days could soon be at an end, should the band choose it to be so. “Things are going well for us now, but we think signing to a label would help significantly. Only time will tell.” Regardless of whether the right label comes along, fans need not worry about waiting too long for more Cimmerian material. On what looms in the horizon for the band, Nagel concludes, “Shows, new merch, and a possible tour during the summer. We are also writing our third full length; we almost never stop writing.”

Cimmerian on Facebook
Cimmerian on Bandcamp