Thursday, June 06, 2013

Inter Arma: Sky Burial (2013)

Writ of Heavius Corpses (TM)

Wherein joanismylover takes issue with one of my reviews.

The issue on appeal is whether Inter Arma, as evidenced on Sky Burial, is “boldly combining influences in new ways, or do they lack identity?”*  The rule applicable is whether the release kicks enough ass to make the listener say, “Whoa, this some good fuckin’ shit.” (hereinafter “the kick ass good shit rule”).** Respondent argues in essence that the length of the release, combined with its allegedly mis-placed acoustic interludes and discordant influences present a confused but potential-laden release.  We granted this writ because it presents an issue of first impression – i.e. significant disagreement between FMA and joanismylover.  Because real-party at interest – Inter Arma – despite some minor mis-steps, ultimately satisfy kick ass good shit rule, joanismylover will, as explained below, give Sky Burial an improved rating.

This is a heavy release.  It pounds you so relentlessly with its opening salvo “The Survival Fires” with its ten minutes of sludge stomping black metal, that the second song acoustical interlude is almost required.  Normally I’d object to such a placement.  (See Galvano – Two Titans review)*** But raging war hammer fury of the opener makes the “(Iron Gate)” of the Long Road Home a welcome respite that leads to the looming slaughter.  The third track “Long Road Home” is the song that roped me into the application of the kick ass good shit rule and ultimately, to the conclusion that Inter Arma, are, in fact, “boldly combining influences in new ways”.  Right after the listener is pounded by sludge and allowed to breathe through the (Iron Gate) he gets uplifted.  The Long Road Home wields a classic rock inspired soaring – positively to the heavens – solo that wouldn’t be out of place on a Lynard Skynard album.  Just as you start to think you are out of the metal zone, the black metal drum hammers and tortured screaming kicks in – jolting the listener, and the album, into 16 ton metal journey that doesn’t slip until the last track.

Destroyer, like the album after the opener “The Survival Fires”, builds, builds, builds and builds to a sludge crescendo that evokes both that opener with its bottom end and the third track with its airy guitar overlays, combining both disparate sounds into – wait for it – a great fucking song.  Respondent and appellant agree that “‘sblood” is a “pretty damn cool” metal song, and it’s the drumming that does it for appellant, joanismylover.  As referenced above, Inter Arma slip only on the last, title track. This song betrays one of the band’s obvious influences in Neurosis by including a guest appearance by that band’s vocalist, Scott Kelly.   [I don't think that's actually him, but I can see the reason for confusion. --FMA] This is the most “Neurosis” sounding of the songs. It’s the only song that doesn’t sound like Inter Arma, and as a result probably could’ve been the one song left off the album in order to bring it in at a more acceptable length.

Respondent’s arguments regarding album length is noted and acknowledged, as above.  Comparisons to Panopticon are distinguished on two grounds:  1. Joanismylover hasn’t checked that release out yet; and 2. Even if he had, application of the kick ass good shit rule is not dependent on complete originality but rather, a wielding of the instruments of heavy metal to bludgeon the listener into submission.  That portion of the rule being satisfied, the writ of heavius corpses (TM) is granted. 

4.5 out of 5 stars.

*taken from
** joanismylover’s “Lessons in Violence; Vol. 4, district 9, Ch. 11 “Pitchforks & Needles”, p. 22 (Acacia Ave Press) (Remastered Ed. 2013).
***"put that shit in the right place and make it count." joanismylover -


  1. And thus justice was served... or something :)

    Love this review.

  2. Proof that I might actually be a lawyer, Max. Thanks for kind words.