Inter Arma – The Cavern -CD
Each album has captured different aspects of Inter Arma's career; ''Sundown'' is a reflection of their deep knowledge of extreme metal, ''Sky Burial'' shows us how longer songs can be memorable and that sludge/doom is a genre that they can be more associated with. ''The Cavern'' is a reflection of their live performances, you can certainly feel the emotional intensity that they project on stage. I never had the chance of watching Inter Arma play live, but I can imagine being in the front row and being mesmerized while I stood there with my body shaking. I bet looking at the front man Mike Paparo is something almost orgasmic in a sense that he has a great presence on stage.
This EP was recorded at different times and they certainly managed to put it together nicely because there are no abrupt parts or segments used as links to pretty it up. In 2013, ''Sky Burial'' proved to be an unexpected, but very pleasant change in their style. Inter Arma is basically an American post-hardcore / sludge band that has a Neurosis-like type of gene attached to them. Their music manages to blend impressively well with the Pink Floyd-like psychedelia and even with some American black metal influences added to the whole. Inter Arma seems to be in a creative phase right after ''Sky Burial'' because a year later they released ''The Cavern'' as an EP, moreover, only consisting of one number. It turns out to be a colossal number of more than 45 minutes long.
The question is whether the band managed to keep the listener on edge from start to end. The answer is: in part. There are enough moments found on ''The Cavern'' to engage you, but in the end it seems like the band has too much hay on its fork. ''The Cavern'' therefore sounds a little less exciting than its predecessor ''Sky Burial'', although there is absolutely enough to enjoy.
The first part of the song is mainly built on Cult Of Luna-like post-metal rhythms. There are heavy and cumbersome, 'sludgy' riffs with a touch of plaintive violin melodies. It gives a melancholic touch to the otherwise pleasant monotone thundering sounds. After about fifteen minutes, however, ''The Cavern'' changes in tone: the number is surprisingly good with slick guitars being a lot more melodic. At the limit of twenty minutes, the mournful violins and the lead are a very nice interplay of subdued passages and heavily managed chopping drums and guitars. By the twenty-eight minutes, it is a nice built-psychedelic piece with a vocal contribution of Dorthia Cottrell, which culminates in a fantastic, drawn-out guitar solo.
It is this kind of ''Pink Floyd-resque'' influence that also made the previous album ''Sky Burial'' such a strong record. These are also parts that Inter Arma want you to hear and it shows that they really do have more to offer than just being another Neurosis- or Cult Of Luna clone. By the end of the song, they roll back the same riff as the opening theme, which is a full circle, but very well put. Unfortunately that opening theme can be the least exciting part of the track, but with something ambitious like ''The Cavern'' you cannot blame the band for adding those extra minutes.
The end result is strong and convincing, but across the board, it is slightly less captivating and exciting than its predecessor ''Sky Burial''. The highlight of the second half is probably the guest appearance of Windhand singer Dorthia Cottrell. The occult doomer, also from Richmond, Virginia, borrows the singing from the frontman Mike Paparo, resulting in a subliminal epic atmosphere. The fact is, you could have "The Cavern" divided into individual songs. Could have and should have, but at the end, it does not matter because they have created a monster only seen in a cavern.