Founded in Richmond, VA., INTER ARMA‘s music resists generalization and categorization, but if there’s one thing that’s consistently true, it’s that the VA quintet possesses an unparalleled sense of scope. Few artists today accurately convey the complexity that INTER ARMA (Latin for “in times of war”) does. The band creates terrible and often hauntingly beautiful portraits of humanity through music that is deeply organic yet still mystical and modern. INTER ARMA are just as committed to the live circuit as they are to their records. The band has performed extensively throughout Europe and the US, sharing the stage with the likes of Kylesa, Baroness, Cough, Royal Thunder, Black Tusk, Ulcerate, Russian Circles, Windhand, and dozens of others. INTER ARMA‘s raw, uninhibited approach merges doom metal, psychedelic sludge, black metal, prog, and more, and over the course of the last ten years, has established the band as a uniquely innovative force in contemporary extreme metal. Their most recent release is ‘Paradise Gallows,’ which we will be taking a look at look at in this review!
This album is perfectly portrayed in the art that adorns it. The lyrics and the music are dark, poetic, and beautiful.
‘Paradise Gallows’ starts us off with an instrumental prelude to the savage doom metal that we are about to experience-“Nomini.” This track sets the mood and tone going into the second track “Archer in the Emptiness.” This song begins with thunderous drums, similar to the approach of a raging storm. The story of rage in the heart of a man born in the wild and raised with occult studies of the might of the cosmos. He has become jaded by the ways of man-kind and longs for his death; so that he may join the archer in the heavens. The vocal delivery is dark, demonic, and enraged! The angst and turmoil of this man’s tortured soul comes through in the doom-style riffs.
“Transfiguration” is a song I remember clearly from their performance at the Doomed and Stoned Festival in Chicago. The heavy, tribal doom-driven rhythm set the stage for this one. The lyrics begin with a commentary on the dismal stage of human existence and disharmony with the natural order. It warns that we need to shuck off the darkness we have allowed to permeate our souls and transform our spirits into the light of wisdom. It speaks of our Earth’s demand for humanity to transform.
“Primordial Wound” is a song that speaks of how humanity is a ‘gaping and festering wound’ to our Earth and how we embrace our ignorance to this fact. The next track “The Summer Drones” seems to tell the tale of a sojourn to a near hellish plain. “Potomac” is another beautiful instrumental which includes a piano composition within it.
The title track “The Paradise Gallows” is a song that speaks of a man’s reflection on his life. How a youth has mocked his faith and buries the guilt of this sin by losing himself in diversions. The older he became, the more he realized the error of his ways. Now an old man, he awaits atonement for his past. Riddled with guilt, he waits for his death at the Paradise Gallows.
The track “Violent Constellations” is a tale of violent men who live their lives as Gods and force their will upon others only to ultimately meet the same fate they have delivered to others. “Where the Earth Meets the Sky” is the final track in this album. This tune speaks of a woman’s death and a spiritual journey through to the afterlife.
Honestly, this album is a doom treasure for the ages. I promise you won’t regret this journey into the dark recesses of humanity. Inter Arma is a must-see band for fans of doom. Their performance is powerful and beyond compare!
Inter Arma Line-up
T.J. Childers – Drums
Steven Russell – Guitars
Trey Dalton – Guitars
Mike Paparo – Vocals
Joe Kerkes – Bass
Track list for ‘Paradise Gallows’
2.Archer in the Emptiness
5.The Summer Drones
7.The Paradise Gallows
9.Where the Earth Meets the Sky
Edited by: Samantha Crocker