By Jonathan Smith
With a sound that brings to mind a combination of trance-inducing black metal, neo-folk instrumentals, and a Ridley Scott epic, Germany’s Imperium Dekadenz offer up Procella Vadens. The promo for the album notes that “far from reproducing the stereotypical political, religious, or misanthropic themes of their genre, Imperium Dekadenz clad metaphors of human transience, ashes, dust, and shadows into an antique attire with a penchant for the Roman Empire.” While it’s questionable whether the band haven’t left behind one set of stereotypes only to embrace another, what isn’t questionable is that Imperium Dekadenz have produced an awesome album that is one of the best that the black metal genre has to offer so far this year.
Metal fans have heard before most of the elements that Procella Vadens has to offer. However, what’s important is that even what sounds familiar is done so well. “Die Hoffnung Stirbt” opens the album with a haunting, minimalist piano melody, a sign of one of the many shapes of things to come. By the time “A Million Moons” is finished, the band have proven their chops when it comes to producing buzzing, tremelo-thick black metal that is captivatingly rhythmic in its seeming simplicity. “À la nuit tombante” is a sweeping acoustic-powered track accompanied by epic synth fills, and it sets up the tone for the album’s crashing centre piece, “An Autumn Serenade.” The latter begins with another piano intro before a cascade of metallic chords comes bursting onto the scene. Before it’s done, the track has reverted to a softer acoustic approach accompanied by the sound of blowing wind before the band revs back up again for the big finish. Vocalist Horaz actually sounds like he’s straining his voice almost to the breaking point, and given the epic nature of the material, it’s appropriate. “The Descent Into Hades” sounds like a piece that could be written by Hans Zimmer (with a touch of Blade Runner-era Vangelis mixed in) and that wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack to the latest historical epic out of Hollywood. Though it doesn’t always break new ground, Procella Vadens is a powerful piece of work that deserves to be praised.
(Season of Mist)