Posts Tagged ‘Inter Arma’

Now my previous lists have been specific to genre, but this is my ultimate top 20 of the year. It’ll include some records that you won’t have seen in previous ones as, for example, I only really heard two good power metal records this year, so I can’t really make a list from it. Also, where do you categorise certain bands, like Triptykon, who cover a wide spread of genres? Anyhow, my top favourites of the year are as follows:

20. Killer Be Killed – S/T – A supergroup that combines equal parts of their bands to create awesome

19. Grand Magus – Triumph and Power – Riffs of stone and hooks of great magnitude, the title track alone is one of my favourite songs of the year.

18. Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity – Another record of spellbinding black metal from England’s finest. Windswept and vast

17. Edguy – Space Police – Catchy as hell and stupidly anthemic, Tobias and the squad bring some RAWK to their power metal greatness

16. Electric Wizard – Time to Die – A suffocating, occult riddled drag down doom alley. Evil and heavy as fuck

15. Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun – A big improvement over The Hunter and Mastodon’s prog doom trip extends further

14. Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare – A follow up to ‘Ordo Ad Chao’ was always going to be difficult, but the True Mayhem brought out another stormer

13. At the Gates – At War With Reality – Thank fuck we finally have the follow up to ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. They put all copycats to shame.

12. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod – NOLA sludge titans send Joey LaCaze off with one of their most superlative records yet. Angry, harsh and utterly devastating

11. Decapitated – Blood Mantra – Poland’s finest sons of death continue their streak of blinding records with yet another punishing exercise in tech death

10. Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum – Nasty, abrasive and skullfuckingly epic in parts, Anaal do things their way, and better than most

9. Inter Arma – The Cavern – A Spellbinding 45 minute trip through the mind of one of post metal and doom’s brightest sparks. Wonderful

8. Hour of Penance – Regicide – Always brutal and relentless, I’ve grown fonder and fonder of this record the longer the year has gone on. Death to all!

7. Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall – Nasty, lurching death metal chaos, belching death and pestilence to all

6. Whalerider – Thanatos – A surprise late entry, and its been on constant rotation. A stormingly good rock record with doses of psych doom weirdness too

5. Panopticon – Road to the North – Soaring and scorching black metal, vast and hypnotic. Epic black metal is the theme this year, and its great

4. Sabaton – Heroes – I fucking love this band. No one writes more anthemic metal tunes than this. Fantastic record and catchy as hell

3. Mount Salem – Endless – A starkly beautiful trad doom record with perfect vocals and atmosphere. The fact it is third on my list is testament to its quality

2. Behemoth – The Satanist – The rebirth of a legend and a triumphant return. Any other year this would’ve been the best by a country mile

1. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata – Nothing could beat the pure misanthropy, despair and heaviness wrought from Tom G Warrior. A simply monumental release

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I’m fitting in a bit less here than my previous black metal list, simply because there hasn’t been as many great doom records (that I’ve heard this year at least) in 2014 as I’d hoped. I write a bit for Sleeping Shaman and my choices for reviews have been a bit uninspiring in the past few months. No fault of Lee who runs it, but it just seems that the whole doom/stoner scene is spinning its wheels in the sand and not going anywhere. However, there have been some seriously good records in the genre so I managed a list:

10: Grand Magus – Triumph and Power: These guys never fail to write a brilliant doom record, every time. They have riffs hewn from stone and anthems of steel and blood. Wonderful

9. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun: A stunning comeback from the somewhat lackluster ‘The Hunter’, Mastodon have written yet another prog-doom-rock masterpiece. As anthemic and complex as anything they’ve written before

8. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod: I shouldn’t have to explain this, so I won’t. Sludge gods do it again

7. Electric Wizard – Time to Die: Less immediate than ‘Black Masses’ but every bit as malevolent and grindingly heavy. Brilliant

6. Inter Arma – The Cavern: I called this the new Mastodon when I reviewed it earlier in the year and I stand by it. Twisting, heavy and beautiful

5. Kuolemanlaakso – Tulijoutsen: Finnish death/doom majesty from the voice of Swallow the Sun. Stunningly heavy

4. Pallbearer – Foundation of Burden: Achingly heavy and poignant, a true heir to Cathedral’s throne

3. Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica: A draining, Cult of Luna meets Discharge monster of sludge, doom and crust punk violence. Monstrous

2. Boris – Noise: Not technically doom on this release, but my favourite shape shifting Japanese band have pulled out another classic album

1. Mount Salem – Endless: I called this months ago, and I’m still right: ‘Endless’ is still my favourite doom record of the year. It mixes classic Pentagram riffs with the powerful, mournful voice of Emily Koplin to staggering effect. I’ve listened to this I don’t know how many times this year, and I’m still not sick of it!

Special mention go to Pilgrim’s ‘II: Void Worship’, Ides of Gemini ‘Old World/New Wave’ and Godhunter’s ‘City of Dust’. You guys were close but not quite. I recommend you check out everything here, as they are all awesome!

Originally published here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/i/inter-arma-the-cavern-12inch-cd-dd-2014/

When I wrote this review originally, I wondered whether I’d gone a bit far while comparing ‘The Cavern’ to Mastodon’s magnum opus, ‘Leviathan’. ‘Leviathan’ was the defining metal record of the 2000s, and ‘The Cavern’ isn’t quite as good. But it possess the same spirit, the same drive for change and the same feeling of ‘specialness’ about it. On further listening, I’m even more convinced that this band will go on to be something iconic.

Inter Arma produced one of last year’s most stunning metal releases in Sky Burial. Its artful mixing of sludge and post metal aesthetics, plus the addition of quality song writing, made for one of 2013’s most forward thinking records. So when the opportunity arose to cover The Cavern, 45 minutes of music written and recorded during the touring for Sky Burial, came up I leapt at it. What intrigued me most is the idea that you’re hearing how a band’s previous work is affecting their mindset when it comes to writing new material, so soon after the last.

The Cavern opens with spacey sound effects, a precursor of this journey we are about to take. Delicate acoustics appear, intertwining melodies that conjure images of rays of light piercing through the clouds on a morning. The crescendo builds slowly, until a sledgehammer riff appears and the mood changes. If you’ll excuse the pun, this sounds cavernous. Sky Burial was great to me because of the vastness of its riffs and atmosphere. The Cavern continues this path, deftly combining the thunder of prime sludge doom with some Isis style guitar melodies.

When vocalist Mike Paparo’s vocals appear after over five minutes, the mood is complete. He sounds like he is roaring, impassioned, over the void. He combines the power of Aaron Turner with the primal rage of Matt Pike. The ferocity that clashes with the thunderous riffs around the eight minute mark is particularly effective. The Cavern picks up the mantle of a band like Isis and bring it into the post post-metal scene (post squared?). Inter Arma are doing things that bring to mind the revolution that Mastodon wrought upon metal 10 years ago with Leviathan.

The Cavern ebbs and flows like a great track should. Around the 15 minute mark you have a very Mastodonian set of melodies that bring to mind Aqua Dementia from Leviathan, but not in a derivative way. The Cavern shows why Sky Burial was such a success of last year. Inter Arma are a band that can make a 45 minute track constantly interesting, unexpected and infinitely powerful. They are this generation’s Cult of Luna, this generation’s Isis. They sacrifice none of the heft of their sludge to ensure that the music is progressive without being dense. Dazzlingly complex in parts and primitively simple and heavy in others.

There’s too many points to pick a favourite moment. Possibly at twenty minutes when the violin backing comes in and the whole thing becomes mournful and introspective before the riffs return. Like I said before, Inter Arma balance the light and the heavy perfectly, and have crafted a piece of music that would stand up against anything Neurosis, Isis or Cult of Luna could have written. And that is high praise. Hail to the heirs of Leviathan’s throne.