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Sulphur English

by Inter Arma

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about

Richmond's INTER ARMA, reigning masters of the slow build, continue to trace a distinctly ambitious trajectory through modern metal. Their impulses tend toward the epic, but never bloat; they meld several styles — doom, sludge, and hard psych — without coming off like dilettantes. This newest full-length, Sulphur English, finds them mining deeper in the proggy organic doom fields that made both Paradise Gallows and Sky Burial so thrilling while expanding further the on the psych-folk strain that made those albums' peaks seem so lofty.

Few metal bands have ever made such effective use of acoustic instruments in truly heavy environments as INTER ARMA do; the acoustic guitar that stitches "Stillness" together is as effective as any overdriven bass; a two-minute gloomy piano-and-feedback piece titled "Observances of the Path" rolls out the carpet for "The Atavist's Meridian," an album highlight that rides a gigantic, roomy drum sound into realms akin to a murkier Paradise Lost, a more aggressive Om, and a dreamier, more stoned Kylesa all playing together at once. Few bands make music as engrossing as INTER ARMA; their lengthy, almost meditative songs rumble patiently forward until you're ready to get thrown off a bridge — and then they throw you, with great force.
- Words by John Darnielle

credits

released April 12, 2019

2019 Relapse Records
www.relapse.com
www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com

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about

Inter Arma Richmond, Virginia

INTER ARMA's music resists generalization and categorization, but one thing that's consistently true, is that the VA quintet possesses an unparalleled sense of scope. Few artists convey the complexity that INTER ARMA (Latin for "in times of war") does. The band creates terrible and often hauntingly beautiful portraits of humanity through music that is deeply organic yet still mystical and modern. ... more

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Track Name: A Waxen Sea
Placid is the toll of the iron bell
As its resonance washes against the hills
And settles into the dry beds and knotted groves
Of the sun-parched valley at rest below.

The morning rises guardedly
Over a stirring countryside,

Illuminating the far off sea.
A waxen shield, horizon’s protector.

As I stagger up from the sun-bleached tiles,
Where in night’s revelry I laid my head,
I lean against a rusting lattice and compose my thoughts,
My waking eyes held spellbound by a waxen sea.

I raise my hands to the sea beyond,
Intoxicated by the winds that whip up from her fair shores.

I’ll mind any road, be they tranquil or pestilent,
Through knotted, olden grove or stone-strewn ruin,
To wander her fair shores,
To be adrift in the azure,
To covet the sea breeze,
To daydream upon her dunes.

All in due time

Placid is the toll of the iron bell
As its resonance washes against the hills.
Track Name: Citadel
As the seasons turn and spoil
A crooked axis guides my way
Down unsung paths that burn out
The most hardened of drifters.
Still I wander endlessly
Through houses turned to graves.
A stone in the eye of humankind,
Forever at bay.

Held captive by untold wounds
Of corporeal and psychic root,
Aloft in a storm of unseen anguish
Where joy and sorrow entwine.

Can I shake free the detritus of these countless, vagrant years?
Can I harness the wild flame that lays dormant deep within?

Still I wander endlessly
Through houses turned to graves.
A stone in the eye of humankind,
Forever at bay.

Held captive by untold wounds
Of corporeal and psychic root,
Aloft in a storm of unseen anguish
Where joy and sorrow entwine.

A fire burns deep in the citadel of my heart.

I will break free from captivity.
I will weather the storm.
I will shake free from detritus.
I will harness the wild flame.
Track Name: Howling Lands
Beasts high atop
Drab slag heaps
Hammer their drums,
Stirring their keeps.

“And they’ll pray to their Gods
To calm that which aches,
As they dig their way
To the center of Hell.”

Hubris-wrought flocks
Toil under duress,
Fleshed with ego,
Tamed with distress.

“And they’ll pray to their Gods
For a mercy so sweet
As they dig their way
To the center of Hell.”

The flock toils, the beasts oversee.

“They’ll howl for their Gods,
Convinced they’ll pay heed
As their chorus is strangled
By the pounding of the drums.”

Beasts high atop
Drab slag heaps
Will hammer their drums
Into the center of Hell.
Track Name: Stillness
At dusk
We’ll coax the old brook to sing
A hymn
To quell the will of the night.
Restless,
We’ll sway to its primeval song,
Enchanted
By the fires burning within.

Restless

At dawn
We’ll sing the old brook to sleep.
A hymn
To quiet the roar of the day.
In stillness,
We’ll lay on its primeval banks,
Weary
From the fires burning within.

Stillness
Track Name: The Atavist's Meridian
Regale us once more
With the tales you used to chronicle,
When we were but callow
And all was new,

Of age old myths
Both formidable and sublime,

Of gallant feats
That gripped our fledgling minds,

Of a spirited people
And their bucolic wisdoms,

From the land in which you grew,
From the land in which you pine.

An atavist you’ve always been.

A pastoral dream
Swells in your soul,
Evoking the spirit
Of soil left behind.

A yearning profound
Captivates the senses,
Flooding your heart
With lucid recollections

Of burning days
Tending to vine and herd,
Of blackest nights
Gazing at the heavens.

Cry out for the hills
And their ancestral paths.
Weep in remembrance
Of those so revered.

The mortal hours are waning.
Return to her.

Drink from her soundless waters
If you truly wish to sing.
Ascend her sun-gilded peaks
If you truly wish to climb.
And when her winds come to reap your earthly vessel,
Only then will you truly know you have lived.

Return to her.

An atavist you’ve always been.
Track Name: Blood on the Lupines
As the sun bids farewell
To this dusty wash,
Its last thin rays

Kindle tiny stars
That dance
In no particular time—
Specks of stray glass
That collect the last hints
Of the fleeting light.

As darkness grips
This wayward land,
Scant flickers of transient light
Frolic in the distance —
A sure sign of some dreary town.

So I wander through the night
‘Til I reach its shadowy edge,

Where gravestones lay between
Shuttered homes and rusting hulks,

Where I see her figure,
Faceless in the gloom,
And she says:

“Turn away! These people are held by a cursed star.
There’s blood on the lupines and a fever in this town.”
Track Name: Sulphur English
Beware the charlatan
Slinking amongst
The pallid colonnades.

Beware his garb
Of threads woven
In gilded opulence.
Beware his forked tongue:
Its diction foul and impenitent,
Delivered on the winds of sulphur’s breath;
Its noxious arguments
Crudely spun into a mesh of bedlam and fallacy.

The charlatan sets his eyes towards the throne,
Tongue adrip in revolting ecstasy.
And the lackeys gnash their pearly teeth,
Pining for his next decree,
Erect and euphoric with unquenched delusion,
Thirsting for a power absolute.

Their intentions reek of an impure faith
Born from the promise of a glutton’s lust.
Their minds too dull and weak-willed to break,
Servants to the charlatan’s every desire.

Sever the corrupt tongue
Of the imperious fool.
Silence the gangrenous root
Of his abhorrent voice.

Beware the charlatan
Slinking amongst
The pallid colonnades.

Sever the corrupt tongue
Of the imperious fool.
Silence the gangrenous root
Of his abhorrent voice.

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