Well, here we have something that has a massive amount of expectation attached to it, at least from me. Their 2014 release The Cavern was a single 45 minute track that came close to attaining perfection. It was, quite simply, the best thing I heard that year, which is why it was my album of the year for 2014.
So, it’s with no pressure, (hehe), that I pressed play on their latest release, and let the band’s involved soundscapes take me away.
Paradise Gallows is a different beast to The Cavern, of course. For a start, it’s not one song, but nine, and lasts a whopping 70 minutes. There are still some epic, sprawling compositions though, and the band once again demonstrate just how bloody talented they are in the realms of post-metal/sludge/etc.
Inter Arma have a bit of everything on here. Atmosphere – they have it in bucketloads. Crushing doom – yep, prepare to be flattened. Alternative metal – they can give Mastodon a run for their money. Disgustingly heavy sludge – disgustingly heavy. Extreme metal – blast beats are represented, oh yes. Build/release mechanics – Neurosis and Cult of Luna would be proud. Guitar solos – shred!
Doom, sludge, black metal, death metal, progressive metal, you name it – it’s all thrown into the mix at some point or another across these tracks. The band really create a melting pot to stir together their complex and impressive brand of heavy music.
The musicianship is once again pretty damn flawless. This isn’t about how technically perfect the band are though, this is about feelings and emotions, about building atmospheres and delivering some of the most crushing and engaging music there is.
This album is so very, very good. It’s heavy, (have I mentioned that yet?), and imbued with great atmosphere, nuance and depth. This is music to savour, to sit and listen to as you absorb all of the various facets of. If ever music was to be described as rich and textured, then this would be it.
Deep, growling death metal vocals, scrathing high-pitched screams, droning cleans, rough semi-cleans, shouting…the vocals are as varied and diverse as the music. Everything goes together perfectly though, and both the music and vocals fit holistically as one entity.
I especially like the extra levels of extremity that Paradise Gallows displays. This is not a band that rely on only one trick to make their songs work, and there’s some bonus savagery on this release that seems them kicking the intensity and aggression levels up a notch in several places.
Is this potential album-of-the-year material once more? It’s definitely a possibility, although this time Inter Arma have the fantastic Cult of Luna/Julie Christmas to contend with. At the moment, both releases are in the running. 2016 has, so far, been a very good year for music.
To sum up, Paradise Gallows is an absolutely essential release that I insist you get. Go on – off you go. I’ll wait.