Inter_arma New_heaven

Inter Arma - New Heaven


Inter Arma from Richmond, Virginia, have always been a sensational band – but with their new release New Heaven they definitely did not take a small step but a giant leap (for all of metal mankind). This record combines all their quality elements known before and adds some new parts that make it stand out even more. Huge record! One of the best of 2024!

The guys have been making music for the better part of the last two decades and they have already released some seminal records like Sky Burial or Sulphur English but never before have they been so versatile and diverse in sound and songwriting. With New Heaven the progression and integration is most obvious – for the guys assemble all the elements they have already been known for and add a few new elements. Namely we can assess that some of the Southern Metal parts are still there, including the classic Heavy Metal parts, as well as the Blackened Death Metal songs – but on this record they are accompanied by some Noisey, even dissonant Death Metal parts and a clearer display of their singer’s affinity for Nick Cave, which results in some Post-Punk’ish tracks and passages.

To namedrop the songs most embellished with new trademarks: The opening title track with all its Dissonant Death Metal glory bordering on the power of Noisecore is definitely a new thing because they do not only use it in a few passages, but really go full-throttle on the dissonance as the song’s major trademark. ”Gardens in the Dark” is a track that the narrow-minded among us might not have expected from Inter Arma, as it is a very open, vast and elegant Post-Punk influenced Industrial Metal track that seems to channel their love for Killing Joke as well as singer Mike Paparo’s admiration of a certain Australian crooner named Nick Cave. On former records there were always parts where Mike’s clean vocals shone like crazy diamonds, but here on this record, and particularly on its second half, that becomes clearer than ever before. A track like ”The Children the Bombs Overlooked” (one of the most fear-inducing track titles by the way) would not have been out of place on many great Industrial records, even on some of the earlier Nine Inch Nails releases, because of its pumping and pushing beat provided by band mastermind TJ Childers.

”Desolation’s Harp” needs to be mentioned here as well, even though, it shines because of its wonderful composition which after about three minutes makes room for a perfectly embedded Sludge solo that would fit on any record from Savannah-rooted Prog-Sludge pioneers Baroness. The swampy parts of Virginia might also have been one of the roots for the sometimes very floaty guitar lines on New Heaven - just listen to the beginning of ”Concrete Cliffs” where the guitars seem to float above the listener standing on said cliff and feeling the wind drag the sounds away, especially the strongly hall-ladden clean vocals between some of the grumpiest Funeral Doom vocals this side of the James River. That track shows once more what an exceptional singer Mike really is.

When the last and second-shortest track ”Forest Service Road Blues” embraces us with its acoustic intro and sad, sad theme and lines like ”The sun doesn’t shine like it used to / but it always comes down” - then we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. The string parts might be the silver lining, but the track still would also fit on any Harvestman release or might be sold as a previously Cave b-side from the No More Shall we Part or Murder Ballads period.

When we press repeat and ”New Heaven” throws us around again, the neck-injury and trauma is even stronger because of the huge, canyon-like difference between the last and the first track, that one might rub one’s eyes strongly in disbelief that this is the same band and the same record. It is and this record will remain one of the best of 2024 because of the additions and diverse and yet agile differences in sound and songs’ genre-attachments. A New Heaven for every lover of extreme metal and one we will gladly return to over and over again.

PS: If you want to know more about the record and the band, tune in to our YT channel on Sunday!