Inter Arma
Sundown


4.0
excellent

Review

by Zenith Lazerstorm USER (18 Reviews)
September 26th, 2013 | 14 replies | 1,154 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The precursor to THE release of 2013.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

I will admit, going into this review I'm fairly biased towards Inter Arma. I love, I mean REALLY love what they were able to accomplish with "Sky Burial". From start to finish, that album is genius. A perfect blend of genres, moods, and atmosphere to create a truly monolithic listening experience... All that being said, listening to "Sundown" was more to see where Inter Arma came from, than to discover a completely unique experience.

In that regard, I was fairly surprised by how different "Sundown" was than "Sky Burial". Despite similarities lying in the vocal style, density of sound, and a frequent nature of shifting between genres, dynamics, and even tempos. The band even incorporated some piano and acoustic guitar (an indicator of the stand-up bass, theremin, lap steel, and organ to come on their sophomore effort).

(Now I will stop talking about "Sky Burial" for a while)

Throughout "Sundown", Inter Arma employ a couple of distinct musical techniques. First, there are a lot of changes from loud to soft, slow to fast, sludge to black (metal that is). This does draw in the listener, and keep them on their toes, adding some excitement to the experience. The positive effects of this fall mainly on the changes in dynamics. However, this shifting does feel heavy-handed more often than it should, and the lack of subtlety with these changes causes some of these tracks to feel choppy. Second is the borrowing of ideas from many different genres. The vocals range from low-pitched shouting, to black metal and even death metal growls (high/low respectively). The percussion is peppered with double-bass pedals and blast-beats, and, interestingly enough, some cow-bell... taking a predominately black metal tone. The guitars and bass in general are voiced in the style of stoner/doom akin to Black Sabbath, and the melodies from these instruments range from black metal, to classic rock, and heavy Sabbath-worship. This blending of multiple styles at once makes most of this album feel very fresh, even if the parts are of constructed of familiar ideas. There also is a frequent use of soloing, with both guitarists finding room in the spotlight. Most of these come during the conclusion of their respective songs, and serve as a nice icing on the proverbial cake of some of them. And while a lot of the solos are really emotional and expressive, hearing them placed in similar spots in these songs and portraying similar moods does feel a bit forced, even though they are well played, and sometimes quite memorable.

But if I had to pick just one major detractor to this album, it would be the production value. It is obvious that these tracks are meant to be very meaty, dense, and punishing. But this being not a pure black metal release, means it can't get away with low quality production. That isn't to say the production is ***ty, it just feels as if it was made on a very tight budget. Everything together sounds quite muddy, and at a certain point, that begins to take away from the heaviness of sound, and this album is sort of dancing between punishingly heavy, and as heavy as a demo-release can be.

All of that being said, with this album Inter Arma have put together a bevy of really good musical ideas, and served them up in a very pleasing way, however rough some of them may be. This is a very emotive album, that sort of forces the listener to move with the music, it just has that effect. And it does take you down some very somber passages, pairing them right next to brutal heaviness, pairing them very well.

(Back to "Sky Burial" comparisons)

"Sundown" is overall, much faster, more brash in delivery, and feels more like it's jumping all over the place than "Sky Burial". Then, looking at "Sky Burial", you realize just how much fat was cut away, while also adding many other elements. The transitions are seamless, the production is much clearer (the highs higher, the lows lower), soloing is used with more tact, a wider range of instruments are used to create texture, and the ideas are much more focused.

Taking all factors into consideration, "Sundown" serves as a promising stepping stone to one of the great musical achievements in recent memory.



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user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
scissorlocked
September 25th 2013



3508 Comments


never listened to this, Sky Burial was good though

Digging: John Roberts - Ausio

oltnabrick
September 26th 2013



30047 Comments


I saw this band when they opened for Gorguts.


Decent band, but I didnt really like Sky Burial that much so I probably won't be checking this
out.

Digging: Stellar OM Source - Ocean Woman

neurisis17
September 26th 2013



581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, if you don't like Sky Burial this definitely isn't for you. And I saw them live at SXSW in March, and the whole reason I bought that album is because I was so impressed by the live show.

oltnabrick
September 26th 2013



30047 Comments


They were awesome live. I was pretty disappointed when I heard Sky Burial

Wizard
September 26th 2013



19206 Comments


Please redo the first two paragraphs into a better opening statement and not "I'm bias towards this band because I love their sophomore album".

As for Sky Burial, it's a jumbled mess of half-assed ideas and presented in a boring fashion. They genre jump way too much to hold my interest.

Digging: Merzbow - Dust of Dreams

Smial
September 26th 2013



800 Comments


sky burial was awesome wtfwthwtrwtjwtbwtcwtawtewtj

neurisis17
September 26th 2013



581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Wizard

With all due respect, no, and what did you have in mind as a better statement?

@Smial

Right you are.

neurisis17
September 26th 2013



581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Wizard

You're also being purely contrarian with your statement about Sky Burial. Unless you think your 4/5 rating equates to "half-assed" or "boring".

Wizard
September 26th 2013



19206 Comments


That's a big whoops, I don't remember clicking 4/5. Probably accidently clicked it and didn't double check. This site has been doing that to me lately.

As for an opening statement, discuss history of the band and give the album some context. That's one way of beginning a review. Use your imagination.

neurisis17
September 26th 2013



581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, all reviews are personal opinions, and I was giving the album context in my own listening experience.

slimdaddy
September 26th 2013



428 Comments


Have a pos

Wizard
September 26th 2013



19206 Comments


Well, all reviews are personal opinions, and I was giving the album context in my own listening experience.

Maybe I should have explained myself better and I apologize. The bias is too blatant and it would read better if you were subtle about it. You're a new reviewer and I should be a bit nicer in tone. Have a pos' for taking a chance on reviewing something different.

neurisis17
September 26th 2013



581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah I see your point... Thanks for the constructive criticism.

Grimlin
September 26th 2013



831 Comments


yeah, if you don't like Sky Burial this definitely isn't for you.
i actually prefer this to sky burial. i always thought this album was fairly overlooked



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