Wednesday, 24 August 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Inter Arma - "Paradise Gallows"

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 08/07/2016
Label: Relapse Records



Paradise Gallows” is a monstrous monument to Inter Arma’s colossal ambition that captivates for every second of its mammoth 70 minute duration. Few other bands blur the boundaries between genres as effortlessly while still delivering songs of this quality.

Paradise Gallows” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Nomini
2). An Archer in the Emptiness
3). Transfiguration
4). Primordial Wound
5). The Summer Drones
6). Potomac
7). The Paradise Gallows
8). Violent Constellations
9). Where the Earth Meets the Sky


The Review:

There have been some epic records released so far in 2016 but nothing as mind-bogglingly huge as Inter Arma’sParadise Gallows”. The Virginia quintet’s new LP is a vast voyage on a galactic scale across the spectrum of heavy music.

 Nomini” opens the record in subdued fashion. Soaring lead guitar lines ride above spacious acoustic guitar to create a haunting nocturnal atmosphere reminiscent of Pallbearer’s “Sorrow & Extinction”. The track fades out only to return later in “Potomac”, the album’s centrepiece. Organ and piano join the fray to elevate the song into a grandiose slab of raw classic rock.

Elsewhere on “Paradise Gallows”, Inter Arma take their music to entirely different places. There are abrupt shifts in sound and style from track to track that sometimes make you wonder if you are listening to an entirely different band. Sudden changes like this can be jarring and result in an uneven listening experience, but they only enhance “Paradise Gallows”. Every track on this record feels meticulously crafted and sequenced to be the logical next step in this bizarre journey into the unknown.

The relative calm of “Nomini” is destroyed by the onslaught of “An Archer in the Emptiness” and “Transfiguration”. Both tracks are epic fusions of lumbering sludge riffs, death metal intensity and insane drumming forged in a cauldron of cavernous reverb. Imagine listening to Mastodon’sRemission” in an echo chamber with all elements apart from the drums slowed down to half-speed and you won’t be disappointed. The band hone this progressive approach to perfection for “Violent Constellations”, ramping up the complexity even higher with restless, spidery guitar work.

Primordial Wound” and “The Summer Drones” see the band focus on relentless repetition of minimal one chord riffs. The hypnotic pull of these riffs increases with each iteration, weighty slabs of doom that draw the listener ever deeper into psychedelic oblivion.

Not content with having covered these bases, Inter Arma contribute a couple of contrasting ballads. The massive title track is a rumbling, Neurosis-style dirge split between passages of hushed, dustbowl soundscapes and explosions of crushing, spaced-out doom.  Where the Earth Meets the Sky” is a different proposition, a sparse acoustic close to the record that provides a suitably powerful yet understated conclusion.

Paradise Gallows” is a monstrous monument to Inter Arma’s colossal ambition that captivates for every second of its mammoth 70 minute duration. Few other bands blur the boundaries between genres as effortlessly while still delivering songs of this quality.

Paradise Gallows” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

RIYL: Tombs, Cult of Luna, Neurosis, Rorcal

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