Imperium Dekadenz Dis Manibvs Cover 2016There’s some saying we Westerners adopted about having too many cooks in a kitchen spoiling the meal. For the most part, it’s accurate. As we’ve seen with duos such as Godflesh and Anaal Nathrakh, it does take two to make a thing go right. German black metallers Imperium Dekadenz are another duo who’ve been at it since 2004, with multi-instrumentalists Horaz and Vespasian holding firm the entire time. With their fifth full-length, Dis Manibvs, they added a controversial influence to their mix. Have they found the secret formula to aim for the stars, or is this best left bathing in the sun?

In case you’re wondering, that influence would be none other than San Francisco’s favorite blackened punching bag, Deafheaven. Now, before you go screaming and running into the next room, hear me out. Imperium Dekadenz kept their Sunbather-isms to a bare minimum [Nudist shoegaze??Steel Druhm]. “Still I Rise” utilizes an evil-yet-uplifting chord riff at the 2:27 mark that, combined with Horaz’s scream, throttles the band into high gear. That element, combined with the beautiful chorus of angels at the end, ensures “Still I Rise” would gain further replays. Imperium Dekadenz crafted an incredible epic, and mixed their Drudkh-like blackened fury with Deafheaven-ly sprinkles of optimism.

And make no mistake, this is black metal through and through. Closer “Seikilos” could easily pass as a modern day Rotting Christ song, a mid-tempo affair with plinking keyboards, an athemic guitar melody, and a strong rhythmic backbone supplied by Vespasian’s drumming, bass playing, and rhythm guitar riffs. “Vae Victis” rages with Stilla-esque ambiance. Instrumental “Somnia” adds to the spacey atmosphere, with dreamy keyboard atmospherics blanketing over an acoustic guitar. Moments like these elevate Dis Manibvs above their blackened contemporaries, giving the band an edge others would burn churches for.

Imperium Dekadenz Band 2016
But like Drudkh, there’s a self-editing problem. Plainly put, the majority of the songs stretch past their expiration date. “Volcano” and “Only Fragments of Light” would especially benefit from a shorter length. You don’t need eight or nine minute exercises in fast chord strumming to drive your point home when five or six minutes would do just as well, if not better. “Pantheon Spells,” a short song which is all keyboards and whispers about…pantheon spells, feels wholly unnecessary. Cutting that song entirely would strengthen the album further. Sound-wise, it’s standard black metal fare. Loud guitars full of high-end take center stage, pushing the drums back. The bass is non-existent, while Horaz’s “I’m screaming from a dark cave” vocals cut through the tremolo fog just fine.

In conclusion, Dis Manibvs contains some great moments. While long in the tooth, I enjoyed Imperium Dekadenz‘s willingness to explore outside of their comfort zone. If they could just condense their songs a bit and cut some of the fat, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with. As is, I’m keeping a watchful eye out for them. Not bad.

 


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: imperium-dekadenz.de | facebook.com/ImperiumDekadenz
Releases Worldwide: August 26th, 2016

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  • Gaëtan Baratin

    The embedded song contains black metal riffs using major scales. Beware of the trve cvltists…

    • Gabriel PérezMolphe

      Those metal archives users will be so angry

    • Kronos

      Major scales are not brutal. I demand that they cease and desist.

      • [not a Dr]

        Happy brutal is more scary than sad brutal.

        • Grymm

          “Shiny happy brutal, holding haaaaaaaands…”

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Now, if someone could put corpsepaint on that dude… (yeah, I knowthat dude is Michael Stipe)

          • Fuzzybunny

            A quick one…

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Awesome!

        • Kronos

          Ulcerate disagrees.

  • Grymm, what’s wrong with being influenced by deafheaven exactly?

    • Grymm

      I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all, but the purists will bitch, I’m sure.

      I like watching purists bitch, actually.

      Also, seeing Deafheaven, Carcass, and Inter Arma in November.

      • Oh that lineup is so fucking tasty.

        • This.

          • lennymccall

            Super duper over the Deafheaven hate. Most people probably have never even heard them to have an actual opinion on their music.
            Have a buddy who goes on and on about what they look like and how hipster they are. I really want to punch him! Not cause he doesn’t like them but because he uses the WAY over used term hipster,
            and because he doesn’t like a band based on how they look…Come on man?!
            Oh and no thanks to that Carcass show cause they completely skipped Texas just like they did last tour.

          • Grymm

            I actually can’t wait to see them.

            George Clarke is absolutely animated live. In fact, I expect all three bands bringing it.

        • Grymm

          That show did NOT disappoint.

          Speaking of, Inter Arma’s “An Archer in the Emptiness” is fucking MASSIVE live.

          • Cool to hear! I’ll see them at Roadburn, together with Deafheaven.

      • Jason

        I’m also going to see that tour in November. Mostly for Carcass, though, since I have never heard the other two bands in the lineup.

  • bob

    So much name comparisons again…lazy reviews. And very subjective opinions, this is just provocative.
    This album is a solid 3.5 IMO, it has quality throughout but it’s not their best. It lacks a bit of variation but it’s still very easily identifiable.

    • mindbleach

      Holy shit reviews are subjective?

      Next you’ll be telling me the sky is blue

    • Chigo

      When you say “this is just provocative”, I assume you are referring to your own trolling comment?

      As mindbleach is pointing out, these are MUSIC REVIEWS; we are dealing entirely in the realm of subjectivity. I personally find name comparisons to be a helpful anchor when reviewers attempt to put something so abstract into words. But I can see why you object so strongly to this review, since you rate it a whopping half-point differently. We all thank you for the super constructive feedback.

      • bob

        Provocative in this snippet: “they added a controversial influence to their mix. In case you’re wondering, that influence would be none other than San Francisco’s favorite blackened punching bag, Deafheaven”.

        This is trolling at it’s finest. It’s advertising in a deceitful manner. It is very subjective as no justifications are brought forth.

        • I understood it, and believe it to be justified.

          But is bob a member of deafheaven? That’s the real mystery.

        • Grymm

          I made that point because, frankly, bits of it sound like Deafheaven. Hardly trolling, plus I happen to like Deafheaven. They utilize some major chord riffing at times like Deafheaven does.

          Happy?

          • Chigo

            Still pretty subjective :)

          • gah so much positivity, Kronos, help!

          • Kronos

            Deafheaven are not particularly good. They’re not very brutal.

          • You see THIS I understand (and expected from the head of the Ministry of Brutalz).

          • bob

            Well, thank you for the justification. I have heard Deafheaven a while back and I wasn’t into it. Comparing it to Dekandenz felt trollish to me because of the lack of justification and my bad feelings about it. I didn’t feel like going back and giving it another listen just to maybe understand your point. that’s why I don’t like name dropping reviews, it feels like I have to do homework after reading them. Yet I call you lazy haha.

          • Grymm

            But unless you namedrop a band’s influence, how are you going to know what it sounds like? How is that lazy?

            Also, instead of reading the review, you *can* scroll down to the bottom of the review, check out the neat little YouTube embedded video of the song in question (which requires some HTML editing behind the scenes on our part), press play, and make your own judgment call yourself? Or do you need help with that as well?

          • bob

            Use descriptive analysis (ie words) instead of names…
            I listened to the album already, I’m interested in the reviews to gauge reception. You don’t get my point, which was that the review is abusing references.

          • Grymm

            You do realize this is strictly the opinion of ONE GUY (in this case, me) who spent a week listening to this album twice a day, correct?

            You do realize that everyone has their own reviewing styles, language, approaches, finishes, and quirks that they inject into their reviews, right?

            Also, you do realize that, when everyone who writes for this site does so for the sheer love of the music and of writing that, by insulting them by calling them “lazy” after spending hours on end, crafting a review together with what little free time they (or I) have, doesn’t exactly endear them to your cause, am I right?

            The whole point of a review is for one person (me) to give his/her honest opinion on an album. As such, we do use bands to give a compare/contrast to, so if you’re wondering what it sounds like, there’s a handy way to look at it, and from there, the reader can listen to the song, read the review, and draw their own conclusions. Otherwise, you’re asking me to say, “this is German black metal with long songs, sometimes major key chords, and some atmosphere, and it was okay-to-good,” and little else. That makes for hardly-engaging reading.

          • GardensTale

            I vote we write all our reviews this way from now on. Minimum amount of words 20, maximum 50. Think of how much free time we will have!

          • Grymm

            “German black metal. Happy chords. Folk ending. Okay.”

          • bob

            Yeah I do realize all that. My point of view is that I come here because this site reviews bands I like and albums I listened to that most other sites don’t. Then I read the reviews and sometimes I feel they are lackluster. I try to discuss it in the less inflamatory way I can, but criticism is never well received. I get that this is labor of love and whatnot, but it’s no excuse.

          • We appreciate and encourage reader feedback and we take it under consideration. However, when you come at it by calling a reviewer “lazy” and accuse us of trying to be provocative and then you rate the album half a point higher, it tends to diminish the seriousness of your criticism/feedback.

          • Grymm

            And you can’t figure out the huge difference between offering constructive criticism and flat-out insulting people.

            Fucking cognitive dissonance, how does that work?

          • Blueberry Balls

            Trolls will be trolls.

        • I suggest you start your own blog and show us how it’s all done.

          • bob

            If you don’t like to discuss with me just ignore me.

          • I am discussing it with you. You gave us your pointers on review writing and I’m giving you free advice.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Lol, The bare essentials

          • Blueberry Balls

            Banhammare! Banhammare!

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            And remember bob, free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it!

          • Adjudant

            Perhaps he could call it Democratic and Objective Metal Guy

          • GrimStilt

            I thought you were starting one with your poem there!

        • Blueberry Balls

          Youre looking for objectivity? Pffflllltttt….

    • We’re always at our most provocative when giving decent reviews.

      • Fuzzybunny

        Fishnets?

        • Grymm

          And gimp masks!

          • Fuzzybunny

            Ah, the days!

    • Adjudant

      Have a whinge about subjective opinions then in the next paragraph say ‘This album is a solid 3.5 IMO’. Double standards anyone? Angry Metal Guy was built on subjective reviews and we love it for them!

  • What’s with all the German releases this month? They gearing up for Oktoberfest?

    • Grymm

      Plus I have Heaven Shall Burn written up as well.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      German metal! Oh yea! Mein Goat!!

    • Feytalist

      Huh. Their Bandcamp page says they’re Austrian.

      I’ve always said Austrian black metal is best black metal anyway, so either way forks for me.

  • Meat Tornado

    So basically if an album is longer than Scum by Napalm Death, the reviewers at AMG can’t listen to them. ;)

    • I prefer triple albums or longer.

      • Meat Tornado

        I actually do. I’d prefer to listen to Songs from the North, or any band people accuse of lacking “self editing”, because at least they’re trying something interesting or new rather than rehashing the same conservative guidelines people seem to go nuts for on here.

        • Really? You’ve never listened to a song and though, “wow, that was a lot of boring.”

          • Meat Tornado

            Of course I have. That’s the last 4 Enslaved albums for me. But I won’t knock them for trying. I do generally enjoy longer compositions than shorter ones though, and that’s my point. When they say a band writes songs that are too long, to me that means that its most likely better than the reviewer thought.

          • Well, see, you’re just a positive person. I’m usually thinking, “you bastards, how dare you try to steal people’s money with this sloppy crap.”

          • Meat Tornado

            Its definitely not usually sloppy. I’m just tired of reading on here, “less is more because my puny human brain can’t pay attention to any song longer than 4 minutes”

          • Gabriel PérezMolphe

            The complains ususally state that the songs last longer than that specific song should, sometimes a song is good at 8+ minutes, but some songs feel overstretched. Its not that all songs shall last less than 6 minutes, its that sometimes songs work better if they are short and sometimes is the opposite.

          • Meat Tornado

            Of course, but on principle short songs are not better, and on principle long songs are not better. There just seems so be a general attitude here that shorter is better, and I think in many of the cases where reviewers have claimed this, the albums in question were actually excellent and I had noticed a consensus that people liked them. There seems to be a underlying negative/conservative attitude here and it’s disappointing.

          • brklyner

            You know, when Madame X reviewed the new Cobalt record and complained specifically about the song length, my first reaction was “boo! she just doesn’t get them!” But after listening to the record a few more times I grudgingly had to realize that she was right and that Gin was miles better than Slow Forever. (I’ve also since realized that Inter Arma made the kind of record I was expecting from Cobalt, except in their case the length was not a problem because the songs were interesting throughout.) Point being, when someone older and wiser than you logs a constructive critique, they might actually have a point!

          • Reese Burns

            ..I thought that Slow Forever was actually really awesome, heh

          • Meat Tornado

            You think (alleged) seniority means that anyone’s points are more valid than anyone else’s? Give me a break. More often than not, when a member of the crew here reviews an album the call “too long”, I actually end up liking it. Which is strange to me that they all generally don’t like long stuff and a lot of other people do.

            Conservative? Maybe. Short attention span? Maybe.

            But also the AMG staff shits on everything with equal hatred, so maybe it’s not just long stuff, but old grumpy guys wishing they could have 1984 back.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            The second line right after the website title says “HOW CAN LESS BE MORE? THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE” in ALL CAPS. Go check. Besides it’s a quote from Yngwie J. Malmsteen, a “more is more” kind of guy if there’s ever been one.

          • Get da Meat Tornado a Godspeed You! Black Emperor CD stat!

          • Grymm

            I love longer compositions too, but only if they’re engaging. These guys didn’t attain that, for the most part. Some exceptions (where noted), but otherwise they should have known where to stop.

          • GrimStilt

            Applies to the new Metallica song….jeez am I the only one who checked it out?

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I might be wrong but I believe that when the AMG crew talk about lack of self editing they mean that the band can’t tell which songs are good and which are not so good and so they end up putting everything on the album simply because it fits.

          • Grymm

            Or knowing when to stop in songs.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          I don’t see how not editing your songs is doing something interesting. IMO any album longer than 45 mins needs to justify its length with great song writing. So many albums these days just drag on with little more than waffle, repetition and indulgent filler tracks. I’m glad that generally the AMG crew are calling bands out on this.

          • Meat Tornado

            You are of course implying that they didn’t edit at all and that every band needs to justify themselves to you. Which is wrong on both accounts.

          • Gabriel PérezMolphe

            In a more simple explanation (maybe oversimplified), short songs rely on melodies, passages etc, while long songs depend more on songwriting. Sometimes the song introduces the themes but not develop them, therefore someone may say it needs to be longer. Other songs may have good themes but the songwriting isn’t there, so when they are long, even with good melodies, you could get bored.
            For example J.C. Bach symphony in Bb major have good and inmediate melodies, it has a good development, bur it doesn’t last more than 10 minutes, because it relies more on melodies, while Mahler symphonies are based on the development.
            Its not an universal rule, but its more right often than not.

          • TL;DR

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            I didn’t imply either.

            I was responding to your comment regarding the validity of criticism of long albums. You seem to be suggesting that long albums are somehow above criticism (in regard to their length) and that by virtue of being long they’re doing something ‘interesting’.

            Albums seem to more often than not run long these days. Not because the artist is a Roger Waters or Michael Åkerfeldt character with a vision for what they’re doing, but in fact due to the exact opposite. They run long because there are no limitations and artists are too inexperienced or clueless / close to their work and there is no producer to pull them up.

            The common result of this which is by far the norm now is 60 minute albums full of 10 minute songs that lack in dynamics, narrative and feature excessive reputation by ordinary musicians doing standard genre music.

            As I said AMG is one of the few sites that actually has the nuts to call bands/albums out for this.

            I like good albums I don’t care how long they are. if the length is the result of an artist’s consideration and part of the planning for the work all the better and more impressive… but if it’s simply the by-product of repetition… Which the longer an album goes on the more this becomes apparent, revealing the lack of song writing skill and and ultimately the limitations of the artist.
            Kind of like seeing a magician who over works the same trick in a show enabling the audience to “see the magic”… ruining the magic …

      • You’re just waiting for Spotify to cave into your demands and offer a band’s complete discography as one long streaming track. Admit it!

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Not a bad idea, at least for whole albums. So many metal albums require gapless playback, but the streaming services available don’t provide that, and always seem to need to stop, think, and get all their ducks in a row before proceeding from one track to the next. It can really dampen the flow and energy of the music.

          • For Steel, it’s whole discography or bust. I’m telling ya, the guy is committed.

          • Fuzzybunny

            He’s finally been committed?

          • Where have you been?

          • Fuzzybunny

            Thought after the Suess post it was inevitable… :D

          • It’s just an enforced rest period.

          • Fuzzybunny

            I wish I had one of those!

  • madhare

    Nice to see a metal album where the use of kvlt letters is actually justified! In this case, not using them would be an anachronism.

  • Matt McMadden

    How does this compare to Meadows of Nostalgia?

    • Grymm

      I haven’t had a chance to listen to Meadows of Nostalgia. Will correct this over the weekend.

      • Feytalist

        Oh man, I’m listening to it now, and it’s damn good. Reminds me a bit of Mondstille.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I feel for the guys in the photo. I hate it when I burn up my marshmallow.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Well, goddammit… I thought for sure I’d be walking into a happy comment section…

    • Grymm

      You thought WRONG.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Seriously. I guess I should go back over to Sabaton’s comments and see who else hates that band.

        • I was thinking the EXACT same thing.

    • Oh just admit you’re admiring the fact that simply by mentioning deafheaven Grymm accomplished 80+ comments on a 3.0 black metal release. A new clickbait champion? Only time will tell.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        How dare you belittle me in front of all my peons!!

  • Blueberry Balls

    Loved their prior release, looking forward to this one.

    • I haven’t heard their previous stuff, but the embedded track sounds pretty damn awesome. I will be investigating further.