Review Summary: A dark and tense journey into the void of Sky Burial.
The sky is grey; you walk along the dirt road in search of nothing but yourself. You feel the rain gently slide down your cheeks and you hear nothing but the sound of thunder. With flashes of lightning and the rain’s gradual heaviness, you realise this is torment; this is the sensation of being alone. Inter Arma’s sophomore effort ‘Sky Burial’ transports you to a place of pure desolation, with illusions of miserable architecture and miserable people. Inter Arma offer glimmers of hope and beauty smothered by realism. Sky Burial presents the miserable side of life and delivers it in an atmospheric form, creating an awe-inspiring experience.
Inter Arma are a blackened/southern metal band, their music is welded together by thick riffs that are filled with doom rhythms. Sky Burial features subtle foreboding synths accompanied by howling, black metal growls and shrieks, which are drenched in reverb. What Inter Arma strive to create is something that is murky, something that is ugly. Although, the album is remarkably polished, the production juxtaposes the music which feels dirty and lost, sounding like a plea for help. The instruments are pushed back into the mix, with nothing but the atmosphere driving the sound; only the slick, southern grooves and leads burst through the wall. These moments are something that you can’t quite comprehend until the music sinks its teeth into you. The guitar work is excellent; black metal riffs, southern grooves and doom-riddled chords set the stage. The guitarists play their instruments in a climactic manner and when they’re levelled with the atmosphere, it generates a spectacular fight for dominance. At times, the backbone of the music is purely hypnotic monotonous chords; that are drawn out, only to be separated by flashy fretwork. The drums pound alongside the murky sound-scape, creating a sense of apprehension. They invoke emotion; whether it’s chaotic blast-beats demonstrating ferocity or the tapping of drum sticks, presenting anguish. The vocals are not the key to this album and rightfully so, the purpose of Sky Burial is to show what atmosphere can do alone. Atmospherically, Sky Burial is dense and vast. The instruments and atmosphere carry the songs well, yet when the vocals are present it just builds upon the entire experience. With the vocals added into the melting pot, Sky Burial becomes a world of stylised torment.
If there are any flaws, it would be that Inter Arma stick to what works, the structure doesn’t vary all too much. The musical progression during Sky Burial can be static. The tracks are defined from one another but the over-arching sound can cause a feeling of similarity. Furthermore, the atmosphere can be too over-bearing, the constant deep, gut-wrenching rumbling and injections of fuzz can be too much. This over-emphasis isn’t needed as the atmosphere is the strongest aspect of the album.
Inter Arma have managed to create a versatile experience displaying the merging of many different genres.They've successfully created a cohesive, powerful sophomore effort. Whether it’s the overbearing, rumbling atmosphere at times akin to post-metal, the rock n’ roll riffs or the splashes of black metal; it offers a well-rounded listen for most. Sky Burial is a triumphant success, delivering an immersive, powerful listen.
Recommended tracks : s'blood, Destroyer, Iron Gate, Westward, Sky Burial