Album of the Day: Inter Arma, “Sulphur English”

Richmond, VA’s Inter Arma are nothing if not chimeric, a mythical beast perpetually entangled in lashes of black metal, death metal, doom, noise, prog, and even folk (albeit in a Neil Young’s-worst-nightmare kind of way). Their latest album Sulphur English is only the five-person ensemble’s fourth full-length since the band’s 2006 inception (and their third for Relapse Records), but don’t mistake that for slacking; Inter Arma are also seasoned road warriors, and if you haven’t allowed yourself to be sonically obliterated at one of their incendiary live shows yet, it’s your own damn fault. 

From the first piercing moments of lurching album intro “Bumgardner” (a tribute to the late Indian drummer Bill Bumgardner) to the roiling thunder of their Neurosis-gone-death-metal slab “A Waxen Sea,” to the menacing liturgy of “Howling Lands,” the album’s first half is a tectonic blast. Further into the record, the gorgeous acoustic prairie fire of “Stillness,” ambitious epic “The Atavist’s Meridien,” and the mammoth title track showcase Inter Arma’s willingness to dive still deeper into uncharted waters. All in all, Sulphur English is an album that clearly achieves its lofty, genre-skirting goals, while retaining the burning intensity that Inter Arma have built their still-ascendent career upon—forever hammering their drums into the center of Hell.

-Kim Kelly

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