Inter Arma – New Heaven

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I’m a simple man, I see Inter Arma release a new album and I immediately listen to it, but what I listen to is anything but simple. Musically this is as if a wad of Sludge/Black/Death/Post-Metal was fed through a meat grinder and then sucked through an interdimensional portal before landing in a dark cavernous tunnel network. The band have always been talented risktakers but this album takes things to a whole different level, luckily for both the band and the listener, these risks pay off and create a solid contender for album of the year.

Artist: Inter Arma
Album: New Heaven
Label: Relapse Records
Release Date: April 26th 2024
Location: Richmond, VA, United States

Written by James Sweetlove

I’m a simple man, I see Inter Arma release a new album and I immediately listen to it, but what I listen to is anything but simple. This album is the auditory embodiment of an eldritch fever dream and could very possibly be used as background music while reading the works of HP Lovecraft. Musically this is as if a wad of Sludge/Black/Death/Post-Metal was fed through a meat grinder and then sucked through an interdimensional portal before landing in a dark cavernous tunnel network. Not only does the album stand as a strong contender for my AOTY list, but it may also take home best guitar work of the year too.

Defining Inter Arma by their genre tags is a waste of time, given that the band show total disregard for any classifications or musical boundaries. They create an oppressive atmosphere through the use of atmosphere, melody and overwhelming force, force that at times reminds me of Portal. I may get crucified for saying this, but on this album the band does a lot of things that I wish Portal would do. I’m talking about things like mixing choices, wild experimentation and giving the listener reprieve when they at times desperately need it. The music while being suffocating and overwhelming for the most part also features some haunting atmosphere focused moments, some of which even have a psychedelic feeling.

The album almost feels at time like a collection of tracks from different bands, as we are taken on a journey where no two tracks sound the same. One of the best examples of this was the opening track New Heaven, which almost throws the listener off of the scent of what the album is going to sound like. The track takes its time as it leads the listener on an insane journey through crushing dissonance and powerful sorrow for roughly an eight minute runtime. This is the only track on the album that sounds like this, all of the others have a different vibe and energy and while all of them are excellent, none hit quite like this one.

The second and third tracks Violet Seizures and Desolation’s Harp are each a fantastic offering of extreme metal, with the former being more black metal focused and the latter more death metal focused.
Then you have the small interlude track Gardens in the Dark, which is a perfect pallet cleanser between the first three tracks and the last four, featuring some stunning guitar led instrumentals. What comes after this cleanser sounds completely different to the extreme metal that came before, with Gardens in the Dark offering clean vocals and gothic overtones.

The Children the Bombs Overlooked once again offers us clean vocals but this time they are far more menacing and ominous, almost having a ritualistic flair. These are paired with biting black metal vocals with added fading and echoing effects added. The instrumentals on the track have a somewhat spacelike feeling, giving psychedelic space horror vibes. the track progresses into an equally as atmospheric but far heavier second half, featuring crushing cavernous death metal vocals and frenzied black metal drumming. Concrete Cliffs takes things in a new direction again offering a mix of spacey doom influenced death metal and Opeth style clean vocals and a stunning guitar solo. The final track on the album Forest Service Road Blues is a straight up folk/blues offering that should appeal to fans of artists like Nick Cave or Madrugrada.

Overall this album is an incredible journey across the underground music spectrum. The band have always been talented risktakers but this album takes things to a whole different level. If you’re a fan of experimentation in your extreme metal then don’t miss this. I’m hoping to catch the band next month with Pallbearer at Brick by Brick, I would be a fool to pass up on catching these new tracks live.




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