Imperium Dekadenz recently signed to Napalm Records as their first album with the label, When We Are Forgotten, was released on August 30th (order here). This marks another first for the German black metal duo as they took a personal approach on their new album. We caught up with vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Horaz to discuss more on the follow-up to 2016’s Dis Manibvs, challenges booking a tour in the states, and more.
How has the creative process change since signing with Napalm Records?
It didn’t change since we changed from Season of Mist to Napalm Records. We used the exact same workflow. Everybody wrote their song and sent it to the other, and then we started working together on the songs. I would say it was the creative phase. And after that, we went into the studio. This is also the same group that brought Dis Manibvs, the previous album.
How long have you been working on the new album?
We always have the same rhythm. We bring out the album, and then we start writing new songs after a short recovery. Most of the time, it’s finding new ideas. I have to say, especially for our latest album, we had a lot of ideas, and we could fill another album with all of this stuff we have.
We decided to make more of an intimate and private on a compact album — the opposite of Dis Manibvs, which is much more epic. We decided to make a more compact songwriting because it’s becoming a bit tiring, listening through the whole album, Dis Manibvs. Because of all this complex songwriting, a lot of riffs and stuff.
There’s a lot happening with the new album, When We Are Forgotten. It’s dark, emotional and has a great combination between black and atmospheric metal. I also caught a few progressive and bold arrangements. How would you compare it musically. As you said, it’s more compact but how different are the overall arrangements?
If you compare it to Dis Manibvs, for example, the songs, “Only Fragments of Light” and “Volcano,” the song is about nine minutes long, and you have so many riffs. We decided to have it more compact, not too many riffs, and more using a refresh. Not so much different moods but keeping the atmosphere in one song and having different atmospheres in the next. This makes it a bit more interesting, and a bit more comfortable.
I thought it was interesting having “My Solace I (Choirs of Solitude)” and “Trauma” back to back on the album. Can you discuss more about the placement of these songs?
I would say to calm down a bit. If you have all of these metal songs, we like to listen to an album on the whole, and we think it makes it a bit easier to listen to if you have short ambient tracks or acoustic tracks that bring the whole thing a bit down. We always use ambient and acoustic on our albums. We love it. The diversification.
I noticed this album has a few dark themes. I was wondering if you have ever struggled with anxiety because I can hear anxiety through the music? And is that something that you do to cope through your own anxiety?
Yup, exactly. Our lyrics often have a historical background – for example, the Roman or German tribes or whatever. This time we put our dreams and fears, very intimate. Two songs are about dreams I had, what I think about, and what it means in my life, and yeah, it’s more about this stuff and not stories about history.
Is there a reason why you guys decided to make it more personal than historical?
It’s probably age. I’m 39, and Vespasian is 40 now and start thinking about other things, more self-reflective stuff. Looking back, we are pretty nostalgic people. We love to sit together and to speak about the old times. All of this stuff comes along, how you police it through the current situation or not, and what is passion and what is not.
I can understand that. For you as an artist, was there any particular songs on the album that you thought was more challenging?
The song “Transcendence.” We had a lot of thought about this song because it starts happy, it’s kind of a happy song but not really. So this is still something new. Maybe a few years ago we wouldn’t bring this song on the album, but now we think, why not? We love this song, and we don’t care if people wouldn’t say this isn’t black metal anymore or something like that. That was one of the songs. But generally, we do what we want and mostly in the way of black metal. But as I said, we also love neo-folk stuff, and this was always a part of the music we do. I think it’s a good combination of all albums we had so far. But it’s more on the points, more compact as I already said.
Do you guys have any plans to come out to North America for a tour?
It’s difficult. We would love to play in North America of course, or South America, middle America. But, it’s hard to find someone who is organizing all of this stuff. And of course you cannot travel to North America and say, “Hey, here we’re here, we want to play in some clubs.”
And I don’t know, maybe you know the band Der Weg einer Freiheit, it’s a well known German, black metal band playing post-black metal stuff. They wanted to play in America, and they had spent a lot of money, and somehow, it didn’t work with the visa, and they lost a lot of money.
It has to be pretty well organized, and you need people who know what they have to do, and yeah, we’re still working hard for nine hours each day to have the money. But yeah, I wouldn’t pay $10,000 for nothing.
I heard it’s getting very costly to tour here in the states, which is unfortunate because fans want to see you guys. Is there anything else that you wanted to say or add about the new album?
Everybody who knows us and has followed us over the years, you can expect the typical Imperium Dekadenz album and can be sure that we put all efforts we could offer into this album. We used all of the time and energy that we had. We hope that people would enjoy it and it will bring something good in their lives.