Although the title of the review may lead you to think that this is a bad album, it's really not. It's some of the best black metal I've heard in a while, but when compared to the bands previous full lengths it's just lacking that something extra. Meadows of Nostalgia
feels as ostensibly Imperium Dekadenz
as one can possibly hope to find, feeling more of a mishmash of the bands previous ideas into one coherent package without adding any new life or flair to their music.
Maybe I'm just letting the bands previous albums cloud my judgement, but I can't help but feel this isn't as good as they have been. The problem with Meadows of Nostalgia
is that it's just too Imperium Dekadenz
for its own good. I'm not kidding, this is about as typical of this band as you can get and it sure as hell doesn't reach the same heights as what has come before. Look, I love Imperium Dekadenz
but really, there sound isn't something that should be replayed over and over again without any subtle changes to their blueprints. There's nothing really challenging about this release, the same melodic yet dismal guitar lines, tortured vocals and gloomy instrumental passages are all what we've heard before, and admittedly well played and often verging on greatness, the band is definitely at risk of losing their credibility if they continue to churn out albums with little to no variation between them.
I think I'll focus on the positives because usually they're the easiest to critique. I like the gloomy, atmospheric riffs, they've very melodic, and at times actually being quite catchy as is the case with Aura
Silvae. It's the most energetic, lively track on the album and unsurprisingly it's also the best, in fact it's probably one of the best black metal songs I've heard. I love the central riff, it's very melodic and atmospheric whilst being played at a particular blazing tempo. It also shows Imperium Dekadenz
willing to experiment with different dynamics and tempo, shame the rest of the album doesn't hold up to this one track.
The rest of the tracks aren't bad per se, they're actually very good. The instrumental passages are as strong as ever, with Imperium Dekadenz
creating some very beautiful yet mournful acoustic passages. Similar to Procella Vadens
the album as a whole is pretty doomy. Der Unweg instantly comes to mind, keeping a relatively slow-mid paced tempo with some slower, atmospheric passages. The riffs in particular are suitably dejected and there's a certain riff that reminds of the whole black metal shoegazing phenomena, or more specifically of the band Lantlôs.
Okay, perhaps I was too harsh in saying that the band hasn't changed, but with the exception of those two tracks and some various moods and tones running throughout, musically the band has remained consistent. That
's not really a problem though, I've loved the previous albums from this German duo and there's no reason to suggest that I wouldn't like this. It's a bit more lively than the previous albums, with more focus placed on speedier, melodic riffs. It certainly brings to mind their first album ...Und die Welt Ward Kalt und Leer
. it's got the same blazing pace to it, but it's not as dark as that album. More
focus was placed on sounding more melodic, comforting than what the band has dished out before, in fact it's probably a good introductory album to the band as it remains in keeping with their signature sound whilst being more accessible/easy listening.
Unfortunately, with the change to a more easily digested sound, much of the bands signature coldness has been removed. The music is certainly more melodic and there's a stronger sense of forward momentum, there's no really much ambient noodling but the songs have a stronger sense of purpose, moving to A to B in a much more urgent manner. Unfortunately, this prevents the band to reach the same atmospheric heights as before, and whilst Meadows of Nostalgia
is a very atmospheric and indeed emotional album, it certainly lacks much of the esoteric nature of what came before. I guess that's to be expected though, the band seems to be opting for a more streamlined sound and thus the atmosphere isn't expected to be as provocative as it had been.
For what it's worth though, I enjoy it, it's probably the weakest of their discography but it's still better than a lot of black metal that has been released recently. I like the more focus placed on the melodic riffing and the overall accessible sound is quite nice, even if derivative. Whilst containing the best track the band has ever written; Aura
Silvae, I often feel that the band suffers from a lack of identity and distinction and thus results in a rather anonymous and indistinct listen if you catch my drift. Still a commendable and brilliant release, I just long for the days when the band created more atmospheric, harder hitting music.