Inter Arma has set quite the bar for themselves after releasing an eye-opening debut (2010’s Sundown), a mammoth follow-up that landed on tons of year-end lists (2013’s Sky Burial), and a 45 minute single-track EP (2014’s The Cavern). Their new album, Paradise Gallows (out July 8th via Relapse), is likely to continue this trend.
Stereogum has the premiere for the album’s title track, and it (along with the previously released “Transfiguration”) leaves me without doubt that this is likely to be their best work to date. Because of the amalgamated nature of the band’s black/psych/sludge sound, comparisons to other bands usually end up more hyperbolic than truthful or helpful. But let’s get real, two minutes into this new track, the Pink Floyd comparisons are inescapable – and for good reason. The warm guitar chords, the natural drum sounds, the wailing leads and harmonies, and the spaced-out structure of the riffs allow for a lot of “feel” in the play – in a way it’s the antithesis of the sometimes formulaic nature of metal. Aside from some sonic similarities, the band seem to really nail that ability to create songs that organically develop a concept or feeling. It’s less about hearing a specific verse, chorus, or component of a song (although the leads after the six minute mark are jaw dropping). It’s all the more fascinating because this vibe is something they can convey without vocals, but now they’re even throwing clean singing into the mix. It’s a natural progression, whereas sometimes the idea of adding clean vocals comes off as tagged-on as a means of catering to a new audience. Now excuse me while I mop up the drool puddle that’s accumulated because my mouth has been hanging open all day.