The Vinyl Verdict: Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows Special Edition
We’re back with another Vinyl Verdict. In case you missed the first couple of installments, this column offers reviews from the perspective of vinyl fanatics, people that want to know more about special edition and limited edition vinyl releases before they invest their hard earned money into them. This is not a review of the music itself.
I’ve been paying close attention to the comments sections of this column, and I’ve found myself catching flak for not offering up information about things like dynamic range, or if an album was mastered specifically for vinyl. That was not actually the intended purpose of this column. I generally like the feel of a tangible physical product in my hand, and vinyl tends to have more care and attention to detail in terms of presentation and packaging, which is what immediately attracted me towards collecting it. And that is what this column was meant to be about: the presentation and packaging of special editions.
But all things must evolve, and I have no problem letting readers have a chance to dictate this column’s direction. So I’ll now be discussing the technical aspects more than in previous columns. If you need a tutorial on these subjects, I highly recommend Metal-Fi.
Now, with that out of the way…
This week, we’re talking about Inter Arma’s recent special edition release of Paradise Gallows, out now via Relapse. This 2xLP is set on semi-clear electric blue 180g vinyl with a gold “splatter” decorating the interior of the LP itself. It creates an awesome tie-dye effect that I’ve seen on a number of other special edition releases, and seems to be gaining quite a bit of popularity as of late; it’s very in-vogue right now. These special prints are a limited to a run of 500, and are available directly on Inter Arma’s Bandcamp page. Relapse is also offering a few other limited editions, including: Halloween Orange/Mustard Merge (limited to 300), Clear (limited to 100), and Blood Red with Metallic Gold/Sea Blue/Mint Green Splatter (limited to 500). It’s worth noting that if you want the Blood Red one, you’ll have to see the band live to purchase it — it’s only available as a tour exclusive. There is a standard black release as well, with the first pressing limited to 2,200.
The first thing you’ll notice about Paradise Gallows is the stunning cover art. Orion Landau has painted something genuinely beautiful. It depicts an eerie sunset scene, as a hanging man dangles from a noose tied to the bow of a ship wrecked upon the rocks. Waves crash upon the coastline, reflecting hints of the color found littered in the sky above. The use of color is what stands out the most, exploring complimentary blues and oranges as the sky runs a range of various shades from top to bottom. The enlarged artwork is a feast for the eyes, and will certainly command the attention of anyone looking at it.
Opening the gatefold displays internal artwork that is not be as striking as the cover. Still, the sole image of a raven soaked in the orange glow of a moon that, once again, mirrors the rays of a setting sun compliments the cover art with reverie. The stars that dangle along the curtain of the night sky scatter themselves on both sides of the fold, while a green hue brings the viewer’s eyes towards the center of the fold itself, right along the crease. Lyrics and track listings adorn the sides, with thanks, dedications, and recording information found on the far right.
The wax itself is quite beautiful. Featuring a weighty thickness on both pressings, its aforementioned semi-clear blue hue offers a gorgeous compliment to the external packaging. The tracks are listed as follows:
“An Archer in the Emptiness”
“The Summer Drones”
“The Paradise Gallows”
“Where the Earth Meets the Sky”
Relapse has confirmed that Paradise Gallows was separately mastered for vinyl, and features HD 24-bit resolution wav files.
Because the album was specifically mastered for vinyl, I cannot comment on its dynamic range. I could offer insight on the FLAC files, but since those were mastered differently, I don’t think it would be accurate. I don’t have any way to rip files directly from wax to my PC yet. I am looking into ways to do it, and as soon as I can, I will be sure to include it in the future. That being said, there is a notable difference between the vinyl recording and the digital files. It’s not a negative one, but the vinyl definitely sounds more dynamic.
Inter Arma have managed to not only put out a great album — personally I think it’s better than Sky Burial — but thanks to Relapse’s attention to detail, they’ve also managed to release an amazing product for vinyl lovers. Everything about it oozes quality, and I cannot recommend it enough. If you’re a fan of Inter Arma’s inability to be classified, then do yourself a favor and pick up one of these awesome special editions. You won’t regret it in the least.