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Imperium Dekadenz: Meadows of Nostalgia

In his famous painting Abtei im Eichwald (The Abbey in the Oakwood), Caspar David Friedrich captures the melancholy, the mystery, and the mood of German Romanticism. In the painting, viewers see the skeletal ruins of a Gothic church, a decayed remnant of once was, a onetime place of worship now surrounded by gnarled and dying trees. A group of monks walk toward the gate of the ruined church, some of them holding on to a coffin, some holding on to candles. They seem to know something about this place that viewers can't quite identify. Is it still a sacred place? Who is the dead individual? Why do the monks approach the church, knowing that it lies in ruins? The painting is dark and gloomy, a perfect setting not only for a funeral procession, but also for contemplating the passing of previous generations, of empires, of lost traditions, of forgotten peoples.

The title of this album—Meadows of Nostalgia—reminds me of Friedrich's painting. After all, both the title and the painting deal with locations filled with memories, loss, and decay. The themes on this album also treat the loss of ancient peoples, the final battles of once-mighty nations, and the melancholy sense that life is frail. Some people keep the past in their memory, perhaps to learn from it, perhaps to honor it, perhaps to wish for a return to it. Listening to this album may be compared to experiencing a bit of this memory-based melancholy. For me, the tracks that employ acoustic guitars were especially effective. They establish a near-ambient sound, one that is increasingly welcome in Black Metal releases. Listen to "Durch das Tor" and "Memoria" for the way this group establishes a quiet, reflective, mood. Listen, as well, to the choir on "Ave Danuvi." There's something genuinely beautiful about black metal, one that ties back directly to nineteenth century Romanticism, especially its contemplation of ruins, its odes to dejection, and its turn to nature.

The other tracks on this album are more assertive musically, more in keeping with Black Metal generally. Nevertheless, this band succeeds in taking the Norwegian style they clearly love and refashioning it into something that simultaneously turns to the past and looks ahead to the future.

Track Listing:
1. Durch das Tor
2. Brigobannis
3. Aue der Nostalgie
4. Ave Danuvi
5. Memoria
6. Aura Silvae
7. Der Unweg
8. Striga
9. Tränen des Bacchus

Added: May 20th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2465
Language: english

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Imperium Dekadenz: Meadows of Nostalgia
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-05-20 20:34:00
My Score:

The bleak, wooded landscape shown on the cover of Meadows of Nostalgia is a fairly accurate summation of what one should expect from German black metal act Imperium Dekadenz's fourth full length offering; although it is a strongly melancholic and often times abject journey, the album's epic atmospheres always provide the listener with a small glimmer of hope. Meadows of Nostalgia is a very introverted observation for sure, but black metal fans with a liking for the nature-inspired segment of the genre will likely be stunned by what Imperium Dekadenz has to offer.

I've yet to familiarize myself with the earlier material from this German black metal duo, but the music on Meadows of Nostalgia strikes me as a more melancholic, depressive, and epic version of Norwegian black metal acts like Mayhem and Darkthrone without quite diving into the shoegazing of Fen or the dark ambiance of Burzum. Imperium Dekadenz certainly have their own place in the black metal genre, although their music does not sound out of place when put alongside other nature-inspired or Pagan acts like Wolves in the Throne Room or Drudkh. Most of Meadows of Nostalgia is reflective and melodic, yet still lethal by all means, old school black metal, but there are also a handful of acoustic segments like "Durch das Tor" and "Memoria" that keep the album from settling into monotony. Most of the other tracks also have a softer edge as well, particularly "Der Unweg" with its stunning undistorted guitar melodies.

Meadows of Nostalgia's more 'standard' black metal tracks are incredibly epic in structure; this is the sort of music that just keeps building and building, and Imperium Dekadenz manages to convey these climatic atmospheres while still sounding musically sophisticated. Horaz and Vespasian have really put together a phenomenal black metal observation with Meadows of Nostalgia, and I can assure you that this will be something I revisit again the future. Very highly recommended!

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