Imperium Dekadenz – Monuments to Sorrow

Sunday, 26th February 2023

Since 2013’s excellent Meadows of Nostalgia, German black metallers Imperium Dekadenz has positioned themselves as one of the scene’s most intriguing bands. The duo of Vespasian (guitar, bass, drums) and Horaz (guitars, keyboards, vocals) don’t exactly fit the status quo for a modern black metal band — they’re outsiders in their aesthetic and delivery, preferring a down-to-earn touch that made successive LPs Dis Manibvs, When We Are Forgotten and their newest, Into Sorrow Evermore, triumphs of melody, might and melancholy. With that in mind, Horaz fielded some of our questions on Into Sorrow Evermore and the band’s thought process toward making albums. Here’s a hint: The duo is all about quality over quantity.

Dead Rhetoric: You don’t release studio albums every year or every other year. Because of that, Imperium Dekadenz releases feel like a special occasion. Do you think the same?

Horaz: Yes, it simply needs time to mature. We always start songwriting when we feel something must come out of the soul. We can’t work on one song and create a new one the following week. We take our time. Besides, full-time jobs only give us certain time windows to work on songs.

Dead Rhetoric: How selective have the two of you now become when songwriting?

Horaz: A song idea must always appeal to both of us, and finally, a song must also fit with the other tracks on the album. We don’t compromise on the principle, “We’ll take your song idea if they take one of mine.” We make a concept, and a great song can be dismissed if it does not fit that concept. We had about 20 song ideas this time, and only eight made it on the album.

Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel the bar is raised with each release? And, if so, that makes it harder to write new material?

Horaz: Either way, we want to improve with every album, which is also an incentive when you start with a new album. We just collect song ideas, and then, at some point, we think about what direction the new record could go in. Even though it’s a lot of work, we do it all out of passion. At least it’s an advantage that we have normal jobs because money worries have a negative effect on songwriting.

Dead Rhetoric: Following up When We Are Forgotten is a tall order. How did you approach the writing for Into Sorrow Evermore?

Horaz: Actually, as always. But there was a big difference this time because we had much more free time due to the Corona restrictions. Nothing was happening during the weekends, and the work was reduced to 50 percent. I think time and money are two natural enemies of art. But in spring 2022, the pendulum swung back when all restrictions in Germany were removed and we were in the middle of the recording process. Many weekends were suddenly blocked because now all the dates like concerts, weddings and birthdays were made up. That led to a delay of half a year.

Dead Rhetoric: You have come so far when writing melodies. Into Sorrow Evermore has some of your finest to date, especially “Forests in Gale.”

Horaz: When the song was written, we had a lot of desire to write a very classic Imperium Dekadenz track, just straight out, without thinking much about it. Spontaneity and enthusiasm are good ingredients when writing a new song. Classic Imperium Dekadenz ingredients are easy to come by and this track was the quickest to reach the final status of all the pieces.

Dead Rhetoric: Is the song your ode to nature and a threat towards those who destroy it?

Horaz: It is an ode to nature’s dark and dangerous side and the sublimity of experiencing fulfillment even in this way. I am not worried that we are destroying nature. Nature will destroy us if it goes on like this and then it can recover. In the end, everything comes to an end, including our world. We are only a small marginal note compared to the big picture.

Dead Rhetoric: Choosing “Memories…a Raging River” as the first single was brilliant. It has all your hallmarks. What made it suitable for the first single from the new album?

Horaz: Exactly, for this reason. A dense atmosphere, melancholic melodies and desperate screams, fast parts alternate with pounding hook lines. Very moving, on high energy and has a lulling end. This range of emotions exactly matches the concept of the whole album and the strengths of Imperium Dekadenz. So, perfectly suited to show people where the journey is going.

Dead Rhetoric: Back to your lyrics: You’ve often selected more personal and sophisticated topics than many of your black metal peers. What made you go in that direction?

Horaz: Until the album Dis Manibus, we liked using historical backgrounds to realize the lyrics. We got a bit bored with that, and from the album When We Are Forgotten, we found it much more interesting and authentic to include more personal themes. History still interests us a lot, but from the beginning, you have a better feeling with the whole songwriting if the track is more tailored to your own person.

Dead Rhetoric: Meadows of Nostalgia came out ten years ago. It was the first many heard your music over here in the States. What do you remember about that time?

Horaz: The student days were over, and we now had a job and a new place to live. It was a new phase of life, and we looked back a little wistfully at the days with more freedom. As the title suggests, the album is about nostalgia and the desire to glorify poignant memories in a dark, red-gold light and glorify them. So, it was a time of change and certainly the first step in taking the band name further into the world.

Dead Rhetoric: What will be your live show approach for Into Sorrow Evermore?

Horaz: We will have three to four songs from the new record in the set and adjust the rest accordingly. People can still expect a lot of passion from us on stage. Unfortunately, a U.S. tour is still not in sight. We don’t have any connections on the other side of the Atlantic, so it’s hard for us to get a foothold there, although some people would like to see us there. At this point, we are looking hopefully toward the future.

Dead Rhetoric: Anything else to add?

Horaz: In Germany, many tours were canceled after Corona because not many people attend concerts anymore. It’s probably the same in the States. Shows are essential for bands. The more expensive concert tickets are one reason, but you shouldn’t be too lazy. So this is a call to go to concerts and support the bands. Otherwise, I would like to thank you for your support and all the people who listened and commented on the new album.

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