Richmond extreme-metal experimenters Inter Arma are finally streaming their new album The Paradise Gallows and its a doozy. A long, dense, powerful listen, this one takes a lot of time to absorb, but it’s well worth the effort.

Like their unbelievably good The Cavern EP (which is the rare metal song that actually made me cry), The Paradise Gallows trades in emotional heft just as much as physical heaviness. They’ve always married a recognizably southern sense of beauty to their scorching, heaving metal passages, but here the metal is deathier (there’s a strong Celtic Frost vibe to a lot of this) and less forgiving, making the fleeting moments of lightness all the more affecting. Highlights here include “Primordial Wound,” which weds melody to classic doom crush in a uniquely satisfying way, “The Summer Drones,” which is the grooviest thing here, and “Violent Constellations,” which is an absolute stunner on pretty much every level, one of the best metal songs of the year. It conjures a level of emotion that you can probably only get at by going through the grind of a long, attention-demanding album like this, a catharsis forged carefully by a band whose dedication to songcraft, ear for melody, ability to change sounds on a dime, and refusal to talk down to the audience is landing it in rarified territory on the American heavy scene.

Inter Arma are about to kick off a tour with Withered, which will take them through NYC for a show at Saint Vitus on July 8. Local death/prog/grind maniacs Pyrrhon and Boston death metal crew Coagula are opening. Tickets for that are still on sale.

Stream The Paradise Gallows below (via NPR).