Inter Arma’s The Cavern tells the tale of a lost and dying soul in the desert. Our hero eventually comes upon a cave where he awaits his final fate, and in the end is consoled by a death-like figure who welcomes him into the black. It seems a fitting and somewhat inevitable tale for the likes of Inter Arma. After all, the band’s last album was called Sky Burial, a reference to a Tibetan tradition of laying the dead to rest on a mountaintop to be eaten by birds of prey.
But it’s not the story that makes The Cavern remarkable. From pounding, doom-laden riffs and throaty screams to proggy instrumental passages to clean vocals and violins, Inter Arma is intent on taking the listener through a musical odyssey that captures the imagination and surprises with its ballsy twists and turns. The degree of difficulty here is immense, and the cohesiveness with which Inter Arma pulls it all off is an impressive feat for even the most seasoned of bands.
|Photos by Carmelo Española|
On a granular level, the musicianship on The Cavern is sublime. The drumming throughout the song’s 45 minutes is expressive on an almost primal level, pounding out the long arc of a solid and massive backbone. The clean instrumental passages that roam the mid-section of the track build patiently toward those exhilarating peaks of masterful, extended guitar solos. Chunky, slow-burning riffs round out the composition, digging the deepest valleys and delivering hooks all the way down that claw their way in and settle for days.
In a way The Cavern seemed inevitable, and it may yet turn out to be Inter Arma’s greatest musical achievement. It’s a statement of refusal to be categorized. The edges of a half dozen genres bleed together in a dark and beautiful tapestry that covers a wide swath of the musical landscape. With this statement, Inter Arma thrust themselves onto metal’s center stage and demand our attention. Nothing left to do except shut up and listen.