Imperium Dekadenz – Dis Manibvs (Season of Mist)

Tuesday, 6th September 2016
Rating: 9/10

With its two most recent albums—2013’s Meadows of Nostalgia and now Dis Manibvs— Imperium Dekadenz has accomplished more than any other German black metal band in recent memory. We won’t go into a diatribe regarding the country’s rather thin BM background (anyone remember when Agathodaimon posed in front of a limo?), but Germany is and never was a black metal hotbed, which quickly elevates Imperium Dekadenz. However, don’t mind our ranking and/or filing attempts—Dis Manibvs is the real bloody deal—a simply lavish blend of modern and melodic black metal.

Utter the word “melodic” in black metal and things tend to get sideways. Sideways, meaning, with keyboards, of which there are hardly any here. The duo of Horaz and Vespasian are not afraid to imbue a proliferation of ready-to-strike melodic guitar lines in their songs, starting with the free-flowing “Only Fragments of Light,” perhaps the album’s most conventional number. The climatic “Still I Rise” funnels a regular dose of harmonized guitars and momentum, while the simple, yet mountainous “Vae Victis” finds the band tumbling with Watain-like attitude and depth. But it is “Volcano” that seals the deal on Dis Manibvs. A surging, extreme plow through the gut of atmospheric black metal, “Volcano” reels off a successive run of tremolo runs to the max, each with its melody-soaked angle. Furthermore, the song’s sudden break enables it to be a mini-epic within an epic, making it one of the year’s sure-fire best black metal songs.

Whatever promise Imperium Dekadenz displayed on Meadows of Nostalgia has been expanded upon the fullest. It’s rare when a band topples expectations so easily, but Imperium Dekadenz have made their definitive statement. Dis Manibvs, as it stands, is a melodic black metal conquest of the highest order.

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