With 'Sky Burial', Inter Arma chose two aggressively imposed types of heavy music -- sludge and black metal, respectively -- and put them together them like they were twins. On 'The Cavern', though, they make something singular even for them, a forty minute composition in just one song, making for a hard, long metal slog that takes after Om, Sleep and Electric Wizard in its unravelling doom spirit. Recommended for fans of Pig Destroyer taking a break from grind to do the whole 'Natasha' thing.
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Well shit. This is ridiculous. One has to expect a lot of black metal tautology and serious sludge lecturing to come from a band like Inter Arma, but 'The Cavern', their new forty-minute composition, sounds gleeful and symphonic, starting with an overture in the proggiest orchestral fashion, then focusing around pounding percussion and the goofiest, most overtly metal riffage possible. The doom and gloom is there, of course -- it's kind of like they're taking time off from their real evil jobs to perfect a little hobby, a la Pig Destroyer with 'Natasha' and the new 'Mass & Voiume' -- but they sound overwhelmingly excited by the prospect, never relenting on their epic journey into the mountains. Unlike the somewhat reverential and academic way Pig Destroyer do their doom, this record feels emotively driven, lacing its metal persuasions with post-rock climaxes and, like, synthesizers. They start to peak their head around the door about five minutes into the first side of the composition, a sign that there's more trials and tribulations to be had. And also that Vangelis should check out doom.
'The Cavern' does crease and meander into different tempos and motifs, of course -- gotta do something for forty minutes. That said, it never falls apart. The ridiculous riff that comes in after about ten minutes, which sounds somewhat like a post-metal band getting a grip of Alien Ant Farm's cover of "Smooth Criminal" -- is folded into seamlessly from the initial ten minutes of lethargic droning. What follows is a triumphantly beautiful and wonderfully cliched bit of metal virtuosity, the drums and soloing fighting each other like nemeses in the pit. Speed it up and it's probably a Megadeth tune. It's hard to resist a song that's so silly (the credits list T. J. Childers as playing "wizard stick" for the band) and so impressive at the same time.
Flip the side and the strings come in, all Godspeed at the crossroads of the apocalypse. The chaos in the background relents, bringing in a cold, gorgeous build-up reminiscent of anonymous post-rockers Explosions In The Sky. The scowled vocals suddenly switch up for sad coos you could get in Oasis' "Stop Crying Your Heart Out". It sounds like I'm just trying to namedrop shit, now, but it's true. I'll stop, though -- this record is so epic and so stupid. I can't take it seriously, and I love it.
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- The Cavern by Inter Arma
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