Founded in 2007, INTER ARMA is a band from Richmond, Virginia. The band refuses categorization through their abilities that stretch among many genres. As soon as they were on their feet, INTER ARMA got a van to start touring all over the United States. In 2010 they released their first album “Sundown”, that had very strong black metal and sludge influences, followed by “Sky Burial” (2013) and “Paradise Gallows” (2016) and the EP, “The Cavern” (2014) that opened new horizons in Europe for them. Now, after 12 years of activity, they released their latest album “Sulphur English”. To support their latest studio effort, the band is touring through Europe, hitting the stages of Finland for the first time with two dates: Helsinki and Tampere. We had to be present at the show on 9 November 2019 at On The Rocks in Helsinki.
The night began with the local opening act: RADIEN. They’re a Helsinki-based sludge metal band, that started their activities in 2014. I have to be honest, I had never heard of the band before, and it seems like they are fairly small, but I can tell you that I think they deserve to be known more. The band chose to have the stage almost in complete darkness for their show. There was only a faint blue shade that showed us their outlines. The atmosphere was perfect for enjoying everything at its best: the band mix heavy guitars and drums with deep synths that give the music strong ethereal vibes. The main vocalist, Jyri Kuukasjärvi, delivered one of the most intense performances I’ve ever seen. On the stage with them, there were two special guests from their last EP: Juuso Raunio who performed his throat singing and Rommi Rapeli at the saxophone. Unfortunately, much of the audience only gathered at the venue after their show, but those who were there definitely had a blast.
Then it was time for INTER ARMA, and On The Rocks started getting more crowded. As soon as the band got on stage, incense was lit and it burnt throughout the whole show. Just like RADIEN, the lighting on stage was fairly minimal. The setlist was a great choice of six songs: three from their latest “Sulphur English” and three from the past.
They started by playing “Citadel”, from their latest album. A song that starts with a heavy progression that quickly makes room for incredible blast beats, giving us proof of the great abilities of the drummer T.J. Childers. They continued with “Hollow Lands”, from the new album as well. Mike Paparo’s vocal virtuosity is undoubtedly the highlight of the song, along with the drum crescendo at the beginning of the track. From all the songs, probably the most anticipated for the audience has been “Transfiguration”, which comes from their third album “Paradise Gallows”. This song seeps stoner-metal vibes from every note played, showing the huge talent of bass player Andrew Lacour, who aside from his talent, also showed that he’s a great entertainer.
INTER ARMA’s performance has been a full journey in an apocalyptic scenario. The audience was captured by every single song and therefore couldn’t help moving rhythmically. The huge round of applause they received at the end of the gig was well-deserved. We honestly hope to see them soon again here in Helsinki.
- Howling Lands
- The Atavist’s Meridian
- The Long Road Home
- An Archer in the Emptiness