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A-M-A-Z-I-N-G - 100%

jaimeviejo, May 27th, 2013

Richmond and especially the East coast of the United States have always been known for their vast European influence and rich history, but Virginia, besides being only for lovers, is a gifted state situated in a key location in between the deep traditions of the South and the rigid shoreline coast of the country.

Reviewing albums in general, despite the general thought that it is an easy task, is a tiring and sometimes frustrating affair. I can’t really count with my hands or feet the number of bands that have delivered the same album all over again with minimal variations. This is not the case with Inter Arma as with this new release, the band has hit the jackpot in every single slot machine and has taken a T-Rex step from what they did in the past.

“And then when the sky opened, they all lifted the now immutable and pale body of their master to be sucked into the depths of eternity” Unknown.

Before I listened to Sky Burial, I was already a fan of their previous album Sundown, whichwas a really stimulating release. It was intense; it was melodic but it didn’t sound like any other band out there. Maybe the only weakness is that the band was still trying to find its sound and there were too many influences thrown in.

The production of Sky Burial is the first thing that is going to make people run away from this release. This is not your typical meat and potatoes metal recording; this is powerful vintage sludge heaviness, which means that the sound is layered, exciting, unique and epic. The album was recorded in Dark Arts Studio in Madison, Tennessee, under the supervision of Mikey Allred and it keeps some of the qualities already shown in his previous production duties with Hellbender.

The album opens with an absolutely draining song titled “The Survival Fires” filled with ten minutes of crushing drums, black metal blasts, Neanderthal riffs and a bass drum that resonates in the whole universe. During the length of this track there are also moments of peace where the band displays its well-known love for song dynamics before the storm kicks back in.

The musicianship during the whole album is really innovative and controlled. Inter Arma is a band and not a showcase for egos, which really helps to make the songs sound focused and perfectly shaped. It is interesting to mention the role of vocalist Mike Paparo in this album as another instrument that doesn’t necessarily have to be doing something all the time. His vocals are also very influenced by black metal, but with a twist under a layer of processing. The emphasis of the songwriting during the whole recording exists within the atmospheres created by the wall of guitars of Trey Dalton and Steven Russell, which complement each other perfectly.

One of the more surprising songs is the third track “The Long Road Home” which is a sludge version of a Grateful Dead jam session that has some perfectly crafted rock solos working amazingly with the mood of the song before launching into a pure black metal invocation.

“Destroyer” is another crescendo that starts with a funeral-doom-kind-of vibe before fading out into a hole in the ground just to resuscitate again in the form of a sonic spiral called “Sblood”. I see a lot of similarities with the way these two songs are placed in the album, so listening to one after the other makes complete sense.

The trio of songs that close the album are not any less spectacular, especially the main riff on “Westward” and its bluesy solo at the end. “Love Absolute” is a haunting instrumental that opens the gate for “Sky Burial”, the last song of the album which can sound a little bit like Neurosis during some vocal parts. There is a very tasty slide guitar in the background that adds a whole dimension to this rollercoaster of a track that features another fantastic solo and an insanely upbeat and intense ending to this extraordinary album.

This is not metal; this is not sludge; this is not black metal; this is Sky Burial, an album that looks at the past from the present without caring for the future.

Jaime Viejo from EVILWARNINGS.COM (03/13/2013)

Inter Arma - Sky Burial - 88%

trollhammer666, March 19th, 2013
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, Relapse Records

Sky Burial is the second studio album from Inter Arma and if you’re any fan of excellent huge names like Opeth, Enslaved, Darkthrone, or Meshuggah, I kid you not, you will make room in your heart for this album.

Sky Burial consists of modern day, relentless, in-your-face blackened metal riffs (except on the few acoustic tracks) and evil warlord-sounding vocals that sound like a mix of Meshuggah and Darkthrone’s recent not-so-black metal releases. The drums really shine through over the thrashing, heart-pounding tracks with insane sound quality and wicked speed that are easily the focal point in many of the songs.

Inter Arma adds this ear-popping and near hypnotic distortion to their heavy songs which really adds character to the album. Aside from the all-out metal tracks, there are two acoustic pieces, “The Long Road Home (Iron Gate)”, including the first half to the song after of the same name, and “Love Absolute”. These “breaks”, if you will, are absolutely breathtaking. There are no vocals, but they have this mindblowing Pink Floyd and Opeth fusion feel to them and it just turns out to be completely jaw-dropping.

The strong points in Sky Burial is its ridiculous drumming technique and the way they make it not so repetitive on each track by playing around with wild and diverse intros and outros. The acoustic pieces are to die for and the vocals, combined with the guitar, equal this brilliant blackened sludge genre of metal that you don’t hear too often.