This is an ideal time for us to find some strength within ourselves, a boost upward to help us getting our foundations built underneath us so we can move forward. That struggle is not the same for all of us, and many people face battles a lot of us cannot even imagine, but having something to remind to find the positives of our trials and come out stronger on the other side is the perfect medicine right now.
There’s no way Inexorum planned things like this (how many times have we said something similar about a lot of other music the past few weeks?), but the arrival of their second record “Moonlit Navigation” comes when we need it the most. Darkness has enveloped us, as has evil, dishonesty, and disillusionment, but giving up and throwing in the towel only means those forces win. On this record, Carl Skildum (guitars, vocals) and his musical partner Matthew Kirkwold (bass and backing vocals) strive to find positivity that can come at the end of or in the midst of one’s struggles. Despite their music coming from the origins of death and black metal in the 1990s, they don’t steer toward dark outcomes. Instead, the band hopes that listeners can take the words and music and use it to help overcome their battles—both internal and external—and emerge a little stronger. In fact, it’s impossible to take on their eight tracks and not be filled to the brim with that sentiment.
“Ouroboric State” gets things off to a rousing start as the drums come to life, and the riffs start cutting down their path. Right away you get a sense of what’s to come, that being huge riffs and vocals that wrench at you, as the leads blast through, and a sense of delirium strikes. Later on, clean calls sit behind Skildum’s harsh cries, and the track comes to a burning end. The title track has a glorious dawn before coming to full life as the pace pummels and Skildum howls, “Night, my sanctuary.” The playing rumbles as the feelings about basking in the night’s glow shines down on you, clean singing punches behind the chaos, and the track trails off into darkness, where it’s most at home. “Dream and Memory” is a massive deluge out front, with punishing roars and a mass of energy creating a great force. The drums decimate bones as a charge jolts your chest, making your blood rush, before the tempo calms and melds into the fog. “Chains of Loss” gushes open but it also holds with it the sense of mourning woven into the fabric. The growls slash and the leads carve their path, and at its heart, you can feel a sadness permeating, one that strikes deeper in the times we’re in. The guitars dig in, and colors burst, while the song comes to a searing end.
“Signal Fires” lands punches as everything lights up, while the playing destroys everything in sight. The growls have an added conviction as they jar your ribcage, while the drumming once again rocks your insides. The chorus is powerful as hell, while the back ends trudges before becoming breezy, and all the elements blend into dusk. “The Breaking Point” rips open and mashes right away, bringing savage intent but also a mystical edge that emerges as the song develops. Guitars call out in a steam bath, coating your face with humidity, before the playing catches fire again, with clean calls echoing behind the snarls. Things begin to pull back from there as smoke rises and envelops the place, while Sarah Roddy’s ghostly wails lure you into mystery. “Wild Magic” is a brief instrumental piece that sits beneath the deep clouds, making it feel like a cool summer afternoon before a heatwave, and then it’s on to closer “In Desperate Times” that inflicts damage with a rage of riffs. Melodic growls and razor-sharp guitars work their magic as Skildum laments “when all is lost and nothing’s left to save.” That isn’t a sign of submission as the battle continues, and a blistering chorus does its best to get you going. The leads glimmer as Skildum howls, “Only we can save ourselves,” while the guitars well up, and the track ends on a tidal wave of emotion.
In just a few years, Inexorum have become a well-oiled machine that bring the finest points of atmospheric, melodic death and black metal that first popped through the soil in the mid-1990s, but in a way that adds modern flourishes and their own vocabulary to the mix. “Moonlit Navigation” is a tremendous record, one that pays off every bit of promise that was hinted at on “Lore of the Lakes” in a gigantic way. It’s a time when all of us could use a boost and reminder that strength within ourselves remains one of our best tools, and this music helps hammer that home over and over again.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/inexorum/
To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/pre-orders
For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/