Following their initial musical steps in the metal and punk genres, the Western German act, EISHEILIG, tried their hand at a new direction, which resulted in the release of their first gothic-, pop- and electronics-influenced demo almost precisely ten years ago in 1999, entitled simply “Eisheilig”. On the strength of this demo, the band surrounding vocalist and songwriter Dennis Mikus garnered the “Best Band Without Record Deal” award in Sonic Seducer magazine, delivered a celebrated performance at the legendary, chaotic WGT 2000 and made contact with Napalm Records, who were glad to sign EISHEILIG.
Their eponymously-titled debut came out on the Austrian imprint in 2001, earning the band instant attention, which grew two years later upon the arrival of their second album, „Die Gärten des Herrn“. Following the departure of their second guitarist, this was the first album recorded as a quartet, and the result turned out to be much more rock-oriented and less goth-inclined than their debut. As internal changes frequently have external consequences, the band set out looking for a new label, enlisting with Drakkar Entertainment GmbH – a renowned address not least due to the success of acts such as Nightwish and Lordi.
An adverse turn of fate, however, was the fact that a tour offer from Oomph! arrived during their label-less period between the two contracts, making the tour infeasible, although it would have suited their third release, “Elysium”, to a T. This album turned out to be the most sinister and brutal EISHEILIG recording to date, resulting in memorable performances at the Battle Of Metal Open Air, the WGT, the Mystic festival and Bochum Total, among others.
In 2007, the band surprised the Teutonic goth metal community with an album entitled “Auf Dem Weg In Deine Welt”, featuring 70s influences and rock elements. Self-confident as ever, EISHEILIG presented their most quiet and relaxed album to date at their tour with Letzte Instanz, among others. But all those who thought that the group had embarked on a new path were proven wrong - “Auf Dem Weg In Deine Welt” appears to have been merely a very personal foray into more melodious territories, a snapshot brought to an end with a bang: in 2009, the time has come to make a stand against the “Imperium”.
What a statement to make in these times! “Imperium” is the answer to the current crisis, transformed into music. “Imperium” sees EISHEILIG release a gloomy reckoning with the here and now. More clearly than ever before, EISHEILIG touch on society’s sore points. “Imperium” is a call to stand up against a world ruled by ignorance, apathy and manipulated information.
Away from the gruesome lyrics that this genre usually produces, the new album addresses the dark sides of life which have long become a familiar element, and it goes without saying that this kind of subject matter requires a suitable sound. For this reason, the band have produced the album under their own direction for the first time, creating an extremely heavy, sinister recording. The vocals have consciously turned into a kind of sprechgesang in order to lend more weight to the very lyrical statements.
Along with the meaningful lyrics, the listener comes to realise after hearing the album a number of times that it is based on a strong musical concept. “Tanzt das Kapital” is a dancefloor hit par excellence, and a song like “Das letzte Gericht” with its sacral choirs and wafting synthesizers is amazingly deep and moving. “Zeitgeist” and “Lauft”, on the other hand, are extremely straightforward, stomping numbers which you didn’t even get to hear on “Elysium”.
All in all, “Imperium” sounds like the soundtrack to all apocalyptic movies wrapped into one, and yet it is so much more: a dense, extremely realistic album which alienates, makes its listeners think and moves them. “Imperium” is definitely this band’s “political” album, and it’s a good thing that in this day and age there are bands, especially in the black scene, who take up a stance and don’t shy away from making clear statements.