Surge Ex Monumentis – Double Vinyl // CD // DD
Small Stone Recordings – released March 16, 2018
Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr
Karl Apelmo: vocals, guitars
Micke Pettersson: guitars
Viktor Källgren: Bass
Henke Persson: drums, percussions
Additional musician: Daniel Hägglund: organs
Spirit Knife (2014)
First coming together in 2004 under the name of Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, this quartet have spent many days and nights sharpening their skill-sets, both as a collective and individually through endless gigs and three solid releases that have kept their name on the lips of the ever-widening fanbase. They have been described previously as quote, “a driving mindmeld between psychedelia, classic metal, heavy rock, and individualized realms beyond” enquote. With this fourth release, they have shortened the moniker to an abbreviation of the previous name to the shorter and more accessible JIRM and results contained in this 7-track opus will leave jaws dropped and eyes wide.
Already known as a progressive force, dripping in the sweat of endless striving for those defining musical moments that set them apart from their peers, these four have taken that and have indeed redefined who they are and what they do as a unit and the result is this juggernaut that clocks in at just over an hour.
Recorded in their hometown of Stockholm, the record was mixed in Gothenburg, Sweden and then mastered in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the end result shows that JIRM remains stronger than ever and the proof is ‘in the pudding’ as it were with the sheer MIGHT that exudes from each song here. From the opening rolling chords of “Candle Eyes” that sets the pace before that high-scream hits hard at the 1-minute mark and has the hallmark tones of psychedelia melded into that hard rock/metal hybrid and is unrelenting in the delivery that grabs you by the arm and pulls you along to end solos that fade slowly into the opening organ sounds of “Dig”.
This track is fraught with that ‘space-rock’ feel, from the back and forth vocal fade in that sounds almost operatic in undertone. Being the longest of the seven songs contained, it is three minutes until we are given a bass line that gets your pulse matching the cadence and when the double guitar assault comes in, it is just as thick and churning as you could ask for. By the time the crescendos are at full gallop, there is no turning back and why would you want to go back anyway, right?? At the half-mark we are granted that clear voice again, soaring as high as you can possibly see and it seems almost too short as you take in the tale delivered with enough time-shifts and slight pauses to make the atmosphere around you shimmer as you surrender to every measure to the almost ghostly-solo that ends this time.
“Isle Of Solitude” fades in, even slower than it’s predecessor and at 11:26, it is the next-longest of the offerings and the name of the track tells the tale you will experience with this softer/slower parade that cascades by, showing the versatility of these guys in a manner most may not have expected, where “Nature Of The Damned” lets JIRM get even more complex in the weaving of bass, guitars, perfect cadences and that vocal that takes absolute control of you as it continues to reach even higher highs. “Giza” is another slower, softer track that does not fail to satisfy in its plush arrangement and is the perfect bookmark to take you into closer “Tombs Arise” that is as frantic and powerful as the opener and seems the absolute summation of the creature that stands before us in the guise of JIRM.
The one that really stood out for me here would have to be “The Cultist”. In MY opinion, this is the ultimate melding of the prowess of each musician here, comes at you out of the gate with a steady running tempo and power chord progressions to match, all served with that voice that truly IS the icing on the cake of this slab of wax that is guaranteed to satiate even the most fervent fan of progressive compositions.
I would have to put it out there that this WILL be one of the ‘must-have’ records released in 2018 and I encourage you to buy it and share it with all in your realm, support them live as they truly seem to never stop gigging, and spread the word about JIRM so nobody misses this juggernaut… and most importantly, keep it LOUD!!
Photograph by Sophia Hogman Myrbacka