Inter Arma
Sulphur English


4.5
superb

Review

by Dean M. CONTRIBUTOR (25 Reviews)
April 15th, 2019 | 78 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With a unique, unified songwriting ethos, Inter Arma have finally made their myriad influences cohere beautifully.

For pretty much their entire career, Richmond’s Inter Arma have had a daunting task to accomplish. The band started with a laundry list of disparate influences, from Neurosis to Immolation to Pink Floyd, but couldn’t quite work out the difficult alchemy of melding them all together into a stable compound. Paradise Gallows came close, with an expansive production job that tied the separate tracks together admirably, but in many respects it still felt like a sampler platter of metal music: a helping of doom metal here, a taste of black metal there, a smattering of David Gilmour throughout, and so on. It’s understandable that Inter Arma would need some time to mature and a few tries to get the formula right, and in the meantime, their music was still often captivating. But eventually, the disconnected feel of their albums needed to be rectified. Thankfully, Sulphur English hits that mark, and hits it hard.

Inter Arma certainly haven’t cut down on their myriad influences on Sulphur English; they are still clearly a band of manifold forebears. But unlike on previous albums, Inter Arma have crafted a unified songwriting ethos that permeates the entirety of Sulphur English. The album privileges simple, minimal progressions over face-melting riffs; subtle, measured shifts over hair-trigger technicality; and methodical repetition over soaring, fluid melodies. Inter Arma practice phenomenal restraint, taking only what is necessary from each of their influences to adhere to their unified vision. The end result is less like a sampler platter and more like an intricately-crafted entree, each ingredient hand-selected and exquisitely prepared to harmonize its flavor with the others.

Inter Arma’s consistent songwriting ethos not only brings all the tracks together into a cohesive experience, but also allows each individual track to flourish as unique, novel, something that the band can claim as entirely their own. The Morbid Angel-inspired “A Waxen Sea” is appropriately explosive, but the explosion occurs at a strangely deliberate pace, like watching the tree on the album’s cover catch fire in slow motion, one branch at a time. The folk and psychedelic guitar work on “Stillness” becomes ritualistic, a mantra repeated louder and louder until it’s being howled. The mammoth centerpiece “The Atavist’s Meridian” rides a steady quintuple-meter motif for several minutes before dragging it through a drone-soaked bog for several more. Every track is simultaneously a chapter in a vast voyage and a journey in itself.

On Sulphur English, Inter Arma have finally found a way to make their many varied influences cohere, and beautifully so. A spectacular experience in its own right, the album is also a remarkable milestone in the band’s career. Having solved the biggest challenge that they set for themselves, Inter Arma can explore their newfound potential unfettered, and it will be very exciting to see what they discover.



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user ratings (72)
Chart.
3.9
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other reviews of this album
Xenophanes STAFF (3.5)
A valedictory commodity to Inter Arma’s admirable decade of post-metal oddity....


Comments:Add a Comment 
hesperus
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2019


1099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wouldja look at that, 2019 finally gave us a goddamn aoty contender

Digging: Inter Arma - Sulphur English

Firedust
April 15th 2019


895 Comments


Yes, album is phenomenal.

TheNotrap
April 15th 2019


10226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review



Album is massive, one of the best of the year so far

Digging: Allegaeon - Apoptosis

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2019


9387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been waiting for you to drop this here. Love your work man

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2019


15498 Comments


Heeeeeeeeeeesp!!! Nicely done man. Hyped to hear this.

Digging: Ioanna Gika - Thalassa

Scheumke
April 15th 2019


528 Comments


Good review mate! This is massive. I have no idea what to rate it yet though. Needs more listens.

Digging: Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing

0GuyMan0
April 15th 2019


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only heard the opener, but I got chills. I think they finally found it.

botb
April 15th 2019


12842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don’t think it’s too far fetched to say this is their best to date, good review

trilo
April 15th 2019


2458 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice review album slays hard

Digging: Inter Arma - Sulphur English

DDDeftoneDDD
April 15th 2019


4741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hyped to hear this.

[2]

also

"wouldja look at that, 2019 finally gave us a goddamn aoty contender"

There's a few more already (and finnaly), but I'll be really happy if this adds the list m/

Digging: Allegaeon - Apoptosis

PistolPete
April 15th 2019


4967 Comments


I gotta give this a try, although I do tend to find this type of music relentless and exhausting despite its quality.

Digging: Suldusk - Lunar Falls

TheNotrap
April 15th 2019


10226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Try to jam it in small doses, it will be worth your time



I really dig their Morbid Angel-esque approach in some songs

DDDeftoneDDD
April 15th 2019


4741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh Notrap!!! a 4.5!?

I'm up next onto this!

TheNotrap
April 15th 2019


10226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Hahah yeah, sludgy stuff isn’t usually my thing, but this album struck me down

frozencarl
April 15th 2019


629 Comments


can we talk about Citadel and how fkn heavy that riff is

Digging: Horrified (UK) - Allure Of The Fallen

TheNotrap
April 15th 2019


10226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Citadel rules damn hard

DDDeftoneDDD
April 15th 2019


4741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2 tracks in and effectively feel like the cover. Should we get some firefighters here?

TheNotrap
April 15th 2019


10226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The fire is too uncontrolled for them to come

DDDeftoneDDD
April 15th 2019


4741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

for real man...meaning the mix is hot and dry af!! Not a single space for water or oxygen lol



getting fuckin Lord Mantis vibes on this m/

TheNotrap
April 15th 2019


10226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, O2 is almost non-existent



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