Mo., 20. Juni

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Helios37

Inter Arma

+ Support: Briqueville · Einlass: 19:30 Uhr · Beginn: 20:00 Uhr · Vorverkauf: 16€ [zzgl. Geb.] · Örtlicher Veranstalter: Underdog Recordstore

Inter Arma

WANN & WO?

20. Juni, 19:30

Helios37

INFOS

Ticket

+ Support: Briqueville

Mike Paparo – vocals

T.J. Childers – drums

Steven Russell – guitars

Trey Dalton – guitars

Andrew Lacour - bass

“‘Middle finger’ might be the best way to describe some of it.”

That’s Inter Arma vocalist Mike Paparo talking about the band’s new album, Sulphur

English. “It’s definitely a fuck-you to people,” he adds. “I wish it was more eloquent

than that, but it’s not.”

After 13 years and three full-lengths, these Richmond, VA-based extremity artists

are throwing down the proverbial gauntlet with their fourth. Though the band has

never really fit into any of underground metal’s ever-splintering subgenres, they’ve

often been lumped into the “sludge” or “doom” factions—largely by folks who

haven’t been paying attention. “We do share qualities with those types of bands, but

we’re not that,” Paparo points out. “We’ll get to a lot of cities and the promoter will

be like, ‘Oh, here’s our local talent, Doomfuck. They’re playing with you guys

tonight.’ But we all hate that.’”

Sulphur English is the result of that hate. From spiraling death marches (“A Waxen

Sea”) and primeval dirges (“Howling Lands”) to fireside acoustic passages

(“Stillness”) and roiling power jags (“The Atavist’s Meridian”), the album is Inter

Arma at their most unconventional and severe. “I don’t think this record is what

people would expect from us,” Paparo ventures. “I think maybe people thought we’d

take another trajectory, like a more accessible route or something like that. That’s

definitely not what this is.”

Before drummer and primary songwriter T.J. Childers even started working on

material, the band knew they wanted to do something different this time around.

“We wanted the record to be uglier and more fucked up,” Paparo explains. “In the

early stages of the songwriting, we could tell this was gonna be darker and heavier

than probably anything we’ve done before. It’s way more death metal, which is

something all of us like but wasn’t used as much as a songwriting tool in the past.

Definitely now it is.”

In some ways, Paparo views Sulphur English as a reaction to its critically acclaimed

predecessor, Paradise Gallows. “I felt like Paradise Gallows was a very colorful

record,” he says. “This record is not. It’s fucked and it’s dark and it doesn’t let up. We

love Paradise Gallows and everything about it, but that’s the last record that will be

like that. We’re not gonna write ‘Primordial Wound’ part two. Obviously, certain

songs are gonna have certain characteristics of what we do, but we don’t wanna get

stuck in a formula. We’re not gonna write variations of the same riff over and over

again and slap a sticker on it.”

The title Sulphur English started as the name of the album’s 12-minute closer, the

lyrics of which mark new territory for Paparo. “That song is political, which is

something I haven’t done before,” he says. “It’s still kinda strange to me, but it’s what

I was feeling. So ‘Sulphur English’ is basically a stupid way of referring to political

rhetoric. When politicians speak, it’s stinking rhetoric.”

Paparo says the song “Howling Lands” is also vaguely political. “It’s very, very veiled,

but it’s social commentary saying, ‘Hey, if you let these people walk all over you, this

is what’s gonna happen,’” he offers. “If you let your material stuff and your ego get in

the way, these people will control you. You’re gonna be a pawn to these elite scum.”

On songs like “The Atavist’s Meridian” and “Citadel,” Paparo looked inward for

inspiration. “This record has some of the most personal lyrics I’ve ever written,” he

explains. “I’ve been suffering from depression forever, as cliché as that is, so ‘Citadel’

is basically like an anthem for me. Like a ‘Hey, you can get through this shit’ type of

deal, because when we recorded it, I was in the throes of that kind of crap. And I felt

like I had to write the song ‘The Atavist’s Meridian’ for somebody in particular. It’s

like a reconciliation.”

Other lyrics—like those to “Blood On The Lupines”—will remain forever

unexplained. “That one I’m never gonna reveal,” Paparo says with a laugh. “Some of

it is based on a dream, but some of it is based on something else. It just kinda came

to me. But it’s deeply personal.”

Despite all the new territory being covered both musically and lyrically, Sulphur

English isn’t an experiment. It’s not Inter Arma testing the waters. It’s a necessary

step in the evolution of a band whose music remains unclassifiable. “The record is

not us trying something,” Paparo says. “This is us doing it. We’re all fans of abrasive,

fucked up shit. It’s not like we’re trying to reinvent ourselves. It’s more like it’s

coming to a head now.”

“I feel like this record is us stepping away from the world we’ve been put in before,”

he adds. “We’re a weird band—I get that. We’re never gonna find a nice little niche

to fit in, but I don’t think any of us were interested in where we were sitting before.

“This is a progression into a different kind of world. What that is, I don’t know.”

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