It’s not what one expected
Fans of Inter Arma like them for very particular reasons—usually having to deal with their propensity for doomy riffs, sludgy atmospheres and the occasional psychedelic groove that’s come to define their signature sound. What’s fairly unexpected, especially when it comes to a band like this one, is how they apply that prowess to another artist’s work. That’s part of why Inter Arma’s latest record of covers is somewhat unanticipated. Normally full-on cover albums have found their place in the arms of artists of less harsh genres as monetary reaches at relevance. Inter Arma’s case is different, though. Instead of any type of desperate ploy, Garbers Days Revisited sees the band using the dynamism of their collective elements tackling a string of very different songs. They’re not all winners, but the attempts are definitely worth appreciating.
Garbers Days Revisited starts with a paced drum-cymbal exchange from T.J. Childers, signaling their much more metal-infused take on Ministry’s “Scarecrow.” They still mildly honor the industrial flair of the original, though Mike Paparo’s screeching vocals are the real star of the show. A strong start, but Inter Arma runs the gamut of homages to their idols. Neil Young’s “Southern Man” gets a ghostly revision with a spooky choral arrangement that transforms into a Paparo force, while their take on Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream” and “March of the Pigs” by Nine Inch Nails sound shockingly similar to their real counterparts. A special shout out also goes to guitarists Trey Dalton and Steven Russell, who pillage the band’s version of Venom’s “In League With Satan.”
The biggest issue with Garbers Days Revisited comes with their choice of a closer—Prince’s “Purple Rain.” It’s understandable that the purple man is held high on the band’s list of idols, but one of his most famed songs is an advantageous feat to tackle. The band tried, for sure. Sonically, its instrumentation is comparable, as Prince and the Revolution wielded all of the same tools. It’s Paparo’s stab at the singing that evokes the cringe. He’s a bit too gruff for Prince’s emotive suppleness, and it ends up being a distracting detraction from an otherwise decent remake. Though Garbers Days Revisited is supposed to be about how they imagine these songs, “Purple Rain” is the kind of prolific song that sits atop a pedestal that shouldn’t be touched.
Other than that, especially on the heels of last year’s astounding Sulphur English, Garbers Days Revisited is the kind of surprise every band should have in their discography. The effort behind it shows a band continually willing to explore and experiment within reason, which will only play out in Inter Arma’s favor in the end.