2020, the year of both pandemic and the metal cover album. Seven months in and we’ve already seen grunge cover albums from both Thou and MANTAR, now comes something a little more unconventional from Virginia’s most devastatingly heavy amalgamation of post rock, sludge, black and death metal – Inter Arma have utilised fifth full length ‘Garbers Days Revisisted’ to produce their own takes on songs from the likes of Ministry, Neil Young, Cro-Mags, Nine Inch Nails, Hüsker Dü, Venom, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and even Prince. To say the track listing on this record is eclectic would be a massive understatement and the idea of Inter Arma covering any of the aforementioned musical greats seems absolutely absurd before you’ve actually had a chance to listen to the record.
Little has been done to tamper with the original blueprints of the songs, although they are drenched in Inter Arma’s trademark stifling atmosphere and skull rattling reverb. Mike Paparo’s usual guttural roar is ever present on the vast majority of songs with the exception of Tom Petty’s ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream’ (to which he also commits to the infamous ‘woo-oo’ on the chorus) and ‘Purple Rain’, where kudos is definitely due for not shying away from the high notes, although it’s a little less Prince and a little more pissed at a karaoke bar. Nonetheless, it’s good solid fun and the likes of ‘In League with Satan’ (Venom) and ‘Hard Times’ (Cro-Mags) are played with the gritty punk fervour they rightfully deserve.
When thinking back to how impactful 2019’s ‘Sulphur English’ was and still is, the juxtaposition of an opus full of covers seems is almost obscene, however, it’s a rare peek behind the curtain at the influences that makes each member of the band the musician they are and an opportunity to hear them perform something outside the realm of what their usual audience would consider normal for them. It’s also the comedic relief we need right now; with the future of music hanging in the balance and uncertainty worldwide, something to lighten the mood is a welcome reprieve and ‘Garbers Days Revisited’ does just that. It definitely helps that they’ve absolutely nailed every song they’ve attempted too.
(8/10 Angela Davey)