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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.