Imperium Dekadenz is almost twenty years old.
Formed in 2004 in Germany by Vespasian (guitar/bass/drums/keyboards) and Horaz (guitar/keyboards/vocals), the duo continues their adventure with Napalm Records for the release of their seventh album, Into Sorrow Evermore, in early 2023.
The band plays live accompanied by Naavl (guitar, Hlidskjalf), Kaelt (guitar) and Harvst (bass), members of Vargsheim.
The album starts with Into Sorrow Evermore, the eponymous track, which offers us a soaring and mysterious introduction before making us sink into a striking and intense Atmospheric Black Metal, then joined by raw and impressive vocals, giving the track its majestic and melancholic aspect. The song is also haunting then incisive before letting Truth under Stars and its heady leads bewitch us with a rather energetic rhythmic, regularly adorned with dissonance. As for the vocals, we also witness a greater diversity, between the heavy tones with Doom influences and the few words in clean vocals, then Aurora comes to soothe us with its keyboards leading us to a wave of soaring saturation, coupled with ghostly howls. Although still consistent with the previous tracks, the atmosphere is relatively softer, but Elysian Fields will come to drape the general atmosphere in darkness again with more raw and aggressive riffs the band skillfully mixes with dreamy melodies. The duo continues with Forests in Gale and its cold mixing with haunting sounds, also picking in dark Pagan influences to give its catchy basis relief in which screams come to life, then Awakened beyond Dreams, the longest track, bewitches us with its raw sounds and marked rhythmic. We will again find epic flights via leads, which are perfectly anchored with the most warlike parts, but the track seems to calm down at the end before letting November Monument flood us with its heavy slumber. The track borrows once again from Doom with its rhythmic’s deepest parts, especially bass and its heavy tones driving us to Memories … a raging River, the last track, which lets aggressiveness express itself in frantic riffs and massive vocal parts again, before softness guides us to nothingness.
Imperium Dekadenz’s regularity remains impressive as well as its quality. With Into Sorrow Evermore, the band asserts once again its strength, whether raw or melancholic, while bewitching us for almost an hour.
Few questions to Vespasian, one of the two heads of Imperium Dekadenz.
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Imperium Dekadenz without using the usual music “labels”?
Vespasian: Ave, my name is Vespasian and I am responsible for the drums, guitars, bass and synthesizers in Imperium Dekadenz. My friend and bandmate Horaz is responsible for the vocals, guitars and also synthesizer. He also writes most of the lyrics. We both come from the Black Forest in the southwest of Germany. Imperium Dekadenz has been around since 2004 and we have now soon released 7 albums and played concerts in 15 countries. Imperium Dekadenz means for us self-realization, passion and also Katharis. We play our own kind of Atmospheric Black Metal.
Into Sorrow Evermore, your seventh full-length, will be out soon. How do you feel about it? Do you already have some feedback?
Vespasian: We are very proud of the new album, because we put an extreme amount of work into this production. We really gave everything to achieve the best possible result. As a result, we feel very good and can’t wait for the release! We have already released two singles. November Monument and Memories … A Raging River. The two songs are really well received. We are getting very satisfying responses from all parts of the world. Also first reviews and soundcheck results are now available. I think we never got better feedback than this time.
How would you sum Into Sorrow Evermore up in only three words?
Vespasian: Passion, determination, melancholy.
How did you deal with the composition process for this album? What about its name and artwork?
Vespasian: We had, like almost everyone else, a lot of time during the Corona pandemic. It was exactly during this time that we started songwriting. We were very creative and composed over twenty songs. At some point it was clear which songs would make it onto the album. We then worked these songs out to the last detail. Each of us has his own home studio. So we always send complete songs to each other, which contributes a lot to a goal-oriented and focused way of working. After finishing the pre-production in our studios, we then went to Iguana Studios near Freiburg in March 2021 to start recording the drums. The album was then recorded, mixed and mastered in August 2021.
The title is a good summary of the melancholic mood of the album. In addition, it summarizes which way we decide to go. While most people turn to the light, we draw strength from the darkness and the mysticism of nature. Nothing inspires more than a night under a clear starry sky. The cover is a photo showing two, wood carved masks. The motif can be interpreted as a kind of scale. The cruel mask represents the path of darkness, the more neutral mask represents the path to light. For which path we always choose, I mentioned above. We had the masks made by a good friend, Simon Stiegeler. The photo was then taken by Void Revelations.
What inspires you to create your music? Same question for the lyrics. Do you feel some evolutions compared to the beginning of the band?
Vespasian: We are inspired by life itself, by the mysticism of nature, by history and especially by art. This is true for music as well as lyrics. A good book, a stirring film, but also an inspiring hike can inspire a song. Creativity knows no law. Musically, we were able to establish our own handwriting and style very early. You will always recognize very quickly if a song comes from Imperium Dekadenz. With every album we try to intensify the emotions of the songs. So on the new album the aggressive moments are more aggressive than ever, the dragging and melancholic moments are correspondingly more melancholic and intense than ever. That was our goal, anyway. The lyrics are more personal than ever before. In the past we often used historical events for the lyrics. Now we haven’t done that at all on the last two albums.
How did you pick the firsts singles to unveil to introduce your new album?
Vespasian: With the singles we want to give a good overview of our current work. Memories … A Raging River sums up well which atmosphere is predominant on the new album and November Monument shows that we have brought our melancholic, dragging side to an even more intense level.
All of your compositions are made of a contrast between raw and atmospheric sounds. How do you achieve to create a balance between all your influences, whether it’s on fast or slow songs?
Vespasian: There is no plan or anything like that. For us, an album has to have a dramaturgy like a good movie. Every emotion, every stylistic device must be used in the right place to send the listener on a journey. The balance between the individual parts simply arises in the course of songwriting. We have gained a lot of experience over the years and know what works and what does not. At the end of the day, we just want to make ourselves happy with an album. An album is always a total work of art for us and every song, every intro and outro is part of this « musical painting ».
Do you have more plans for the band’s future?
Vespasian: I can keep it short here: We want to continue to create relevant art and also play live on many stages around the world.
Are there any musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, an album…
Vespasian: Not really, since Imperium Decadenz works optimally with Horaz and me. However, if we had the chance to get Brendan Perry from Dead Can Dance as a guest singer for a song, that would be a big deal!
Last question: with which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour (or just a single show) with Imperium Dekadenz and three other bands!
Vespasian: Primordial, Satyricon, Rotting Christ.
That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Vespasian: Thank you for the detailed and interesting interview. I would also like to thank every single supporter! Thanks to you we can do all this at all. We appreciate that very much! We really hope that you like and are inspired by our new album.