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Worth Listening To - 85%

Bronan, June 1st, 2014
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Season of Mist Underground Activists (Digipak)

There are few locations in the world for an atmospheric black metal band to draw inspiration from better than the Black Forest region of Germany, and Imperium Dekadenz does a fantastic job capturing the elements of that landscape on their 2010 release, Procella Vadens. The title translates from Latin into "The Coming Storm", and the chilling album cover depicts the image of a man standing at the edge of a cliff, surrounded by the fury that is the embodiment of the title. From the song titles themselves, it is apparent that the band is deeply in awe of the power of nature, and their respect for mother earth is reflected in the sound of their music.

The album opens with "Die Hoffnung stirbt...", German for "The Hope dies . . ." and it greets us with a wailing wind accompanied by a solemn piano intro. The melodic, ambient track is immediately followed by a the raw sound of a standard atmospheric black metal song "Lacrimae Mundi", Latin for "Tears of the World". Here, we are introduced for the first time to the true nature of the two-piece band's sound. Vocalist Horaz screams with a howling style that matches the melancholic atmosphere that they are aiming to achieve and his partner Vespasian is a versatile drummer who creates movement for the haunting, melodic guitar riffs, a role performed by both multi-talented musicians.

The next song "A Million Moons" is the first English song on the album, and it demonstrates the band's touch with the landscape. Running over 10 minutes long, the ending drags on a little bit longer than it should. This is followed by "Ego Universalis", which completes a trio of raw black metal tracks. The main riff maintains a "Roman" sound which gives a shout out to the band's name. After the first three tracks, the album begins to make use of contrast between ambient instrumental pieces and raw black metal tracks, which keeps things from getting stale. The first of these pieces is "À la nuit tombante", French for "During Nightfall". This is a beautiful ambient guitar track which once again makes use of the howling winds. It's so easy to get lost in the atmosphere and it's not until the song is over before you realize it runs for a full 5 minutes.

"An Autumn Serenade" is my personal favorite song off of the album, and it captures both the atmospheric and raw nature of the band. Horaz howls with an exceptionally painful timbre, and the guitar work surpasses that on the rest of the album. Although the track runs for about 9 minutes, it is written in movements and is driven such that it never gets boring. The remaining songs on the album are fairly strong as well, with the especially interesting song "The Descent into Hades", featuring a female vocalist singing in a foreign language which I believe may be Turkish. This track contains exotic melodies which are at times reminiscent of the Lion King, and its a great choice for the last ambient track on the album, leading into the darkest song on the album, Procella Vadens. Opening with a tortured scream, the song closes the album brilliantly, before the outro "...wenn der Sturm beginnt" (When the Storm Begins), which fades out into the howling winds that opened the album.

The songwriting, tracklisting, and performance on by Imperium Dekadenz on their third full length album is superb, and Procella Vadens is definitely deserving of several spins. With a beautiful marraige of melodic, ambient music and raw, aggressive black metal, this album should definitely make any fan of atmospheric black metal's regular rotation. Like the majority of black metal albums, the bass could be louder in the mix, but the guitars and drums are mixed very well and none of the harmonies are lost in the distortion. I would like to take an extra moment to once again recognize Horaz for his expressive howls, and Vespasian for his solid work on the drums. Overall, Procella Vadens is an excellent modern black metal album, and Imperium Dekadenz has proven themselves to be masters of their craft.

Still Going Strong - 92%

Nokturnal_Wrath, March 4th, 2014

It’s unfortunate, but it’s to be expected, Procella Vadens doesn't reach the same heights as the bands previous full lengths. There’s a higher focus on droning walls of sounds and really long instrumental passages, and that’s all well and good, in fact this is a pretty freaking solid album, but when measured up to the bands earlier works I can’t help but feel that it’s missing something.

It’s still a great album mind you; the band has kept their melancholic yet beautiful style of black metal. There’s still a focus on mournful and melodic riffs but the band has stretched out the music a lot more. There’s more focus placed on the instrumental passages and a hefty amount of concentration was put upon the slower, more brooding compositions. The music doesn't feel as dynamic as before, there’s less transitions within each song, songs typically follow a single musical idea and expand upon them through subtle riff changes. Tempo isn't as fast as before with a higher tendency to focus on the slower, mournful compositions.

The second track is a relatively good descriptor for the rest of the album. Tortured vocals backed by melancholic, slow-mid paced riffs with militaristic drums setting a galloping pace. Much of the songs follow en suite, melodic leads repeated for a long time with little variation between each riff. Tonally this album feels more dejected and empty than before, there’s a large influx of depressive black metal on this album and a lot of the music suggests influences from bands such as Forgotten Tomb and Trist. Slow, melodic doomy inspired black metal melodies with a lot of focus on repetition and atmosphere. There’s not much in the way of dynamics or tempo changes, the band keeps at a relatively comfortable slow-mid paced speed with relatively little blasting sections. A Million Moons is the most doomy, depressive black metal inspired piece on the album. Clocking in at just over 10 minutes long, this is the albums highlight. The opening riff is very well written, creating a cold yet beautiful wall of sound. It’s still simple and still trawls along at the same slow-medium pace but it’s got a bite about it and is highly rhythmic.

Throughout the album there are some really nice atmospheric parts. The acoustic part in A Million Moons works well with the context of the music, there are even some strings which is a nice touch, it sounds quite desperate and empty which I guess is what the band was going for. The instrumental, atmospheric sections are good enough in their own right, but the increased length of the music prevents them from carrying the same effect they had before. The non metal elements are certainly well written and composed, but with the increased length the music ends up feeling a little bloated, even if the content is generally really good. At times the band seems to be suffering from a lack of riffing, but the music in general seems more concerned with setting a cold, unforgiving atmosphere than with creating a blazing black metal tempo. There are riffs, most definitely, but they’re rather slow, simple ones which are quite interchangeable between each track.

Sure, Procella Vadens isn't exactly a varied album and is probably the most bloated of this bands career, but it’s still incredible. I really like the instrumental passages; they’re original and well written. There are moments where the band takes a more traditional, blazing approach to black metal. Ego Universalis perfectly embodies this direction, with pulsating drum lines and rather speedy guitar riffs; it diversifies the album enough to prevent it from getting dull. Although the minimalistic approach doesn't work quite as well as the more riff oriented, faster direction of their earlier outputs, there’s still a lot to enjoy about this album. The guitar lines are original and well written, I like the way they balance beauty and melancholy. The vocals are some of the most expressive I've heard within a while, they’re very powerful and carry a great deal of emotion with them. If you’re a fan of the bands previous two albums, then you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s longer, with more focus placed on instrumental passages and winding ethereal leads but the core of the music has remained consistent. It might not reach the same soaring heights as ...Und die Welt Ward Kalt und Leer and Dämmerung der Szenarien but it’s a great album. It’s different in tone and mood to the other releases; a much darker beast than its predecessors. Recommended.

A dip, but not a nosedive - 77%

autothrall, January 25th, 2010

Having been a huge fan of their previous album Dämmerung der Szenarien from 2007, I've been eagerly counting away the days for this third full-length to arrive from one of the more promising German black metal acts. Perhaps I set my expectations a little on the high end, for Procella Vadens does not quite achieve that same level of intense appreciation I found in its predecessor. Having said that, it's still a strong and somber album with a propensity for slower, pensive tracks that follow one glorious, hymnal melody after the next, with a good balance of both its tranquil tides and lamenting, blazing axe rhythms. It just occasionally lapses into a dull moment for which you can only pray that the next will compensate. Fortunately...this is often the case.

"Die Hoffnung Stirbt..." is a fine piano piece, mysterious and dark as the samples of crashing waters shimmer and boil across its surface, before the slowy driving melodies of "Lacrimae Mundi" crash forth under Horaz' snarling. This is an attractive enough piece, with a trailing acoustic climax, but it doesn't resound with anything all that memorable. "A Million Moons" features a stronger central riff, still very simple and still trolling along at the standard pace, but there is a great bite to the rhythm riff that counters the more melodic guitar, and the breakdown with the oozing bass at 8 minutes is interesting, if a little dull. And that's really the issue, is there enough in this song to entertain you for 10+ minutes? I'm afraid the answer is no, 2-3 could have been cut from its length and nothing lost in the transitions. The following track, "Ego Universalis" is stronger still and half the length, and "À La Nuit Tombante" is a wonderful folksy acoustic piece which slowly escalates into a simmering swell of autumn beauty.

Speaking of the fall, the latter half of the album begins with "An Autumn Serenade", pianos morphing into more primal, mid-paced thunder before the glinting acoustics, lightly howling winds and distant male vocal narrative take over. Though it's also pretty long, over 9 minutes, this one never suffers from some of the repetitious drivel that drags down "A Million Moons", and it's one of the album's best. "Ocean, Mountains Mirror" is a solid, regal slab of melodic black metal, while "The Descent Into Hades" is like a marriage of Vangelis and Dead Can Dance, a fascinating and lustrous trip into a non-metal atmosphere which meets with resounding success. Loved this one, and the title track isn't too shabby, a powerful, emotional black metal piece with room to breathe, before the album closes as it began, with another swelling piano piece "...Wenn Der Sturm Beginnt".

Though it's short of an hour's length, there are some areas of Procella Vadens which feel too bloated, in particular the 10 minutes of melancholy that comprise "A Million Moons". Much of its contents are good, though, in particular the moody, non-metal moments, whether they serve as intros, segues or tracks unto themselves. I feel the band can often suffer from a lack of riffing, and their minimal approach (at least on this album) does not always compensate. With a few tweaks, it may have reached the level of its elder sibling, but I was mildly underwhelmed by the end result.

Highlights: À La Nuit Tombante, An Autumn Serenade, The Descent Into Hades

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com