Release Date: Jul 8, 2016
Record label: Relapse Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Stoner Metal, Progressive Metal, Sludge Metal, Post-Metal
Nothing characterizes sludge and doom like turbulence and despair — and Richmond, VA doom greats Inter Arma have pretty much captured these emotions and channelled them directly into the music on their latest release, Paradise Gallows. The progress the band have made from their first live shows to now is pretty phenomenal; they've always played blackened doom, and they always did it well, but they've transformed from a local act playing with passion to a group that's created a well-organized and structured record. Each song on this album seems to represent a different stage of that transformation.
Few metal bands in recent years have emerged with all their parts so immediately perfected as Inter Arma: every pummeling, slow-as-molasses drum fill; every seasick, punishing guitar solo; every ounce of reverb on Mike Paparo’s pained, death metal howl; every blast of feedback swelling in the mix like a bolt of thunder forecasting a biblical storm. For a band so wild and untamable, every aspect of Inter Arma’s records sounds as if it was deliberated upon and perfected for hours in a studio before reaching our ears. This was true on their 2013 Relapse debut Sky Burial, and it was even truer on their 2014 follow-up EP The Cavern.
Since releasing 2010's Sundown, Virginia's Inter Arma have thwarted all attempts at pigeonholing their mercurial sound. Given the mind-melting ambition and expansiveness of Paradise Gallows, the word "heavy" should suffice from here on. While they've always referenced sources from obvious to obscure, Inter Arma have courted an otherness that reaches outside metal's confines.
Few album names in recent years have been as apt as The Cavern, the single-track, 45-minute long EP by the Virginia metal outfit Inter Arma. One can call what Inter Arma does a kind of sonic spelunking, an exploration of the dark and uncertain, a descent into inky blacks. On that EP and its predecessor, the band’s much-lauded Relapse debut Sky Burial, Inter Arma incorporated numerous styles of metal into a coherent and compelling whole.
For a genre whose fans are so often labeled (sometimes rightly) as rigid constructionists, metal’s last few years have been marked by an unprecedented burst of boundary-pushing experimentation. While there are still staunch traditionalists, many of metal’s best minds are now dedicating ….