INTER ARMA – New Heaven

INTER ARMA – New Heaven
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  • Bands:
  • Duration: 00:41:43
  • Available from: 04/26/2024
  • Label:
  • Relapse Records

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In the past we have spent rivers of words to describe what the Americans Inter Arma played: a dense, jagged, immense sound overflowing with influences. With the splendid triptych “Sky Burial”/“Paradise Gallows”/“Sulphur English” the five from Richmond have spent far and wide in encompassing many ways of experiencing and interpreting heavy metal under the same umbrella. The imaginative darkness of Neurosis, the sludge colors of Mastodon, the folk and hard rock influences of the more traditionalist United States, the heaviest and most suffocating death-doom, flashes of naked and pure heavy metal: there was all this and also something more, in the last three albums of this eclectic lineup, an example of contaminated metal as progressive as it is true and sparkling in its essence.
Having made abundant wanderings far and wide, especially in depth, in the world of contemporary and older metal, Inter Arma had stopped for a moment, still giving us to listen to a nice album of covers, “Garbers Days Revisited”, which despite being only a passing release confirmed all the group’s qualities. With “New Heaven” here is the return with unreleased material and, for once, more than a further evolution and expansion of one’s expressive possibilities, the album sounds like a synthesis of many aspects already explored previously.
In the latest addition, the first aspect to emerge is the desire to be more concise and straight to the point – the fundamental point, as a well-known radio host would define it – very often avoiding those long comings and goings, those long and layered plots that thickened, successfully, the previous publications. A development therefore generally less broad and enveloping, which does not give up opulent instrumental intricacy and tangles, but lends itself less to the ponderous sound journeys that made compositions such as “Primordial Wound” and “Blood Of The Lupines” so atmospherically incandescent and full of pathos.
Until now, Inter Arma had demonstrated that they knew how to do a bit of everything and everything well: if there was a need to attack and vent impulsive anger, they knew how to channel it in an adequate and imaginative way; if there was to load on hellish and suffocating doom tones, they were even more frightening; wanting to relax and float between dream and twilight, they could show off a melodic taste and a high-profile vocal sensitivity. All elements that echo in “New Heaven”, only in a more synthetic way and with less concession to doom timing, although the formation’s formula has not evolved or excessively pruned the powerful web of sounds for which it was known up until now.
Here then come two stormy and hyper-detailed tracks, fast and rapacious, which look at the universe of the most swirling and earth-shaking sludge metal. The title track lives on undulating, nervous ups and downs, where redundant dissonances and slowdowns full of negativity alternate to fuel anxiety and psychosis, sprinkling the entire, as usual difficult to unravel, skein with a little noise.
A piece with a grueling pace and broken into many sections, which cyclically return to strike, while “Violet Seizures”, after an almost tribal-flavored start, escapes into almost psychedelic atmospheres, between hints of oriental harmonies and multicolored violence, with distortions and less crackling volumes than usual. The speed and impetus, however, are incessant and produce those visceral surges of pure instinct that have always drawn a line between Inter Arma and the sludge competition.
Death and black metal have not been lost along the way, they return intermittently with their jagged offshoots permeated with ancient emotions (“Desolation’s Harp”), acting as the basis for developments that willingly become stormy, very intricate and full of natural instinctiveness. In the second part of the album, however, large and solemn melodies echo: the crystalline pleasantness of “Gardens In The Dark”, with Paparo’s big voice standing out proudly; the seething psychedelic sabbath of “The Children The Bombs Overlooked”, with its stunning charm, between a drum clinic by TJ Childers, his equally absurd effects and the ogre-like voices of the singer.
If the naturalistic blues of “Forest Service Road Blues” brings an unreal calm to the air, as a whole “New Heaven” proves to be another monumental fresco of contemporary metal, evoked in a good part of its boundless current galaxy. We won’t be on the subject of surprises and renewals as in the previous albums, but even this version of Inter Arma just doesn’t manage to stay below the threshold of excellence. For those who have always found them too massive and complex, “New Heaven” could be the ideal point to start from.


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