Imperium Dekadenz – When We Are Forgotten (Napalm)

Monday, 2nd September 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

Long-standing masters of atmospheric black metal, Imperium Dekadenz have been slowly creeping up the ranks, particularly with their last two releases (that being Meadows of Nostalgia and Dis Manibvs). That gloomy yet sprawling melodic sound is one that the band has really cultivated, and When We Are Forgotten works as a continued expansion of what they already do best.

There’s not so much a change of direction so much as a honing of specific aspects of the band with this release. The band more or less has a bit of a lock when it comes to their approach, which is perfectly okay in this setting as they champion a feeling that has one foot looking back to some of the melodic black metal splendor of the past, while keeping the other rooted in forward motion (and a bit of post-black. If anything, the atmospheric elements feel more nuanced and rich with When We Are Forgotten, really generating a moving environment that reeks of loneliness and isolation, yet feels somehow inviting and enigmatic in tone. “Frozen in Time” is a glorious example here, with somber and melodic guitar lines that all but sweep you off your feet and take you to a cold, winter-y landscape (despite it being summertime still at this juncture). Even when the music elevates its intensity with some fire and rage (see “Bis ich bin”), it’s not caustic so much as enchanting, providing some driving melodies and beats that provide a majestic feeling that is in line with the band’s more introspective side. Some light electronic components don’t detract from the vibe either, adding to it to make it feel more whole (“My Solace I” or the three short interludes).

When We Are Forgotten is full of wonderful melodies that take the listener into a personal space of self-reflection. Despite the overlying feeling of longing, it’s quite approachable and manages to shoehorn in some other emotions along the way with little difficulty. Poignant stuff to absorb as the coming days start to get shorter and darker.

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