In the world of modern-day metal and heavy music, there’s a thin line between natural, inspired, boundary-free explorers, and inorganic, obnoxious, attention-starved genre-jumpers. Some bands straddle the fence and some are unfortunately defined by the latter, but Richmond, VA’s Inter Arma is the rare specimen that pulls off the former.
Given the stylistic restlessness of Inter Arma and the band’s ability to rock it with ease, their city of origin isn’t terribly surprising. Richmond has exported more metal and hardcore of note over the years than most mid-sized urban areas, boasting GWAR, Lamb of God, Arsis, Windhand, Cough, Avail, Municipal Waste, and Pig Destroyer to name a few. But Inter Arma is not some amalgam of what these fellow Richmond bands have mastered, or an outfit that wants to show you how easy they can switch from grindcore to free-jazz to J-pop to grunge to death metal while making crazy faces.
Formed about a decade back, Inter Arma is now touring behind Paradise Gallows, their third full-length and most recent title for Relapse Records, the band’s home since 2013. Paradise Gallows follows 2014’s The Cavern, a 40-minute single-song “EP” that really drove home what this quintet was capable of.
Paradise Gallows swings between doomy-death metal with understated vocals, sky-reaching piano-driven “post-metal” (whatever the hell that is), and classic power-metal guitar harmonies-often within one (usually epic-length) song. Piano is tastefully used to bolster more epic instrumental passages, and Paradise Gallows is meant to be ingested as a single piece of music rather than a song-cycle.
Inter Arma dabble in heaviness that’s actually trying to shoot for the future of the form rather than rewrite or repurpose the past, a refreshing aspect in these retro-fascinated times.
Opening for Inter Arma is Colorado’s Call of the Void, another Relapse Records offering that mixes modern grindcore, crusty heavy hardcore, and wailing guitar leads- meaning they share the same fans as His Hero is Gone, Brutal Truth, Buried Inside, post-Y2K Napalm Death, and especially Trap Them.
Call of the Void songs lean towards the longer (2-3 minutes) side for this type of stuff, allowing for plenty of references to the aforementioned bands and extending the punishment to its logical breaking point. Local hopefuls Sunfather will kick off the evening. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the cover is $12.