Imperium Dekadenz – Fields of DesolationThursday, 15th August 2013
“Nostalgia” is considered by some to be a negative word. Being relegated to “nostalgia act” level is no good; same for trying re-recreate certain sounds to regain fan appreciation because one is “nostalgic.” When we say the word, images of 80’s hair bands trying to squeeze back into their leather comes to mind, but apparently across the pond in Germany, the sentiment rings the opposite. Just ask emerging German black metal pair Imperium Dekadenz.
“I do not know when nostalgic thoughts begun to growing up in our minds,” begins guitarist/vocalist/co-founder Horaz. “I think this is a natural thing, and it is more or less present in human emotions without any dependency of age. But yes, I think we are nostalgic characters and listen to black metal or other emotional/atmospheric music means to get nostalgic thoughts, too. In our perception, nostalgia is a kind of an old friend when listening to such music, so that concept fits well to a black metal album, we think.”
And that album would be the band’s new Meadows of Nostalgia (Season of Mist), a voluminous, atmospheric body of work that is enveloped by lush melodies and the hard-charging semantics of the black metal old guard. But, this is hardly replication-for-replication’s sake black metal. Imperium Dekadenz (who is rounded out by Vespasia, who also handles guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards) have stumbled onto something here…something that is without question, their finest piece of work to date. And, one of the year’s strongest black metal albums.
“We had the desire to do a step back and release an album which expresses the same feelings like [2006’s] Dämmerung der Szenarien, admits Horaz. “It was also a step back to the black metal from the early 90’s with a darker and harsher fundament and an atmospheric and epic main theme. We missed the rusty and dirty parts on [2010’s] Procella Vadens but we wanted to keep that atmosphere.”
The album is highlighted by running order pair of “Ava Danuvi” and “Memoria,” two songs of equal climatic measure, compounded with chilling melodies and epic arrangements that according to Horaz, have a rather deep and personal meaning for the duo. “’Ave Danuvi’ is dedicated to the river Danube (Donau in German). The river and its headwater streams (Brigach and Breg) played an important role in our lives. Thinking and speaking about these rivers means having memories from our childhood. Vespasian grew up at the ‘Brigach’ and I grew up at the ‘Breg.’ Both rivers flow together and create the mighty stream Danube. A metaphor of how Vespasian and I came together to create something bigger than our previous existence. ‘Memoria’ carries the impressions of our childhood in a nostalgic way.”
Without a high-profile black metal band to its name, Germany has long been a power and thrash metal stronghold. Therefore, finding like-minded individuals who are willing to venture to the black side proved to be difficult for the pair, but their 2004 formation at the Summer Breeze festival has led to a fruitful partnership devoted solely to the black arts.
“Of course we are/were really fascinated by traditional metal, but our soul was not completely satisfied until we discovered black metal for us,” notes Horaz. “Enjoying black metal is a very personal experience which carves much deeper in your soul and spirit than other metal genres. Emotions are more important than technical skills and also the sound seems to create a better mood if it is not perfect. I was very fascinated by the early Darkthrone and Burzum albums, which spread a dark monotony and allows you to immerse with your thoughts and emotions.”
Ah, emotions. There has to be some level of it swimming around in Imperium Dekadenz’s sonic whirlpool, right?
“I would say it is one of the most important essences of our art,” relays Horaz. “We are of course, not constantly melancholic or depressive, but it is a valuable ingredient when writing a song. You cannot create emotional art if you are a happy hippo and the sun shines out of your ass. There must be something which is missed in your life, an unfilled passion or destiny.”
The present time and/or destiny for Imperium Dekadenz consist of live shows in support of Meadows of Nostalgia. Having added some live members to the fold (“They are responsible for all tasks on and around the stage, so they are much more than just session musicians”), the band is more stable – and productive than ever.
“We will start a further series of concerts from late August until the end of the year and hopefully we can also start scheduling a tour for 2014,” finishes Horaz. “At the end of the year we will start gathering new ideas and begin the song writing for a new album.”