Surge Ex Monumentis by JIRMRelease date: March 16, 2018
Label: Small Stone Recordings
Swedish psychedelic doom rockers JIRM may have raised a few critical eyebrows in the past, and quite rightly so, as their music straddles the line between full on stadium rock, atmospheric prog, and crushing doom. With new release Surge Ex Monumentis they take that a step further and deliver what is probably their best work yet.
Tight, explosive and absolutely soaring at times, ‘Candle Eyes’ is the perfect opener which sets the scene for a long, but very satisfying listen. Pushing the hour mark, each track is a perfectly formed to pull you into its world, with the ebb and flow of the album feeling like both a roller-coaster of emotion, and a cinematic triumph. They encompass all this in just the first few minutes of the opening track. Soon it gets even better.
‘Dig’ begins with a long, atmospheric opening which bursts into bloom with a psychedelic tinged guitar. As it builds into a wall of sound which threatens to become part of the universe, you can feel the band becoming a force of nature. As the song progresses it opens up into a cinematic storm where the blissed out moments collide with tempestuous forces. It’s breathtaking, beautiful, and completely full on.
The emotional roller-coaster of ‘Isle Of Solitude’ is played mostly straight until the now familiar wall of sound takes control of body and mind in all its splendour. This gives way to the 70’s melodic harmonies which make ‘The Cultist’ such an enjoyable listen. Culled straight from that era when FM rock ruled the airways along with prog, that classic rock sense complements the more modern aspects of the album in an absolutely wonderful way.
‘Nature Of The Damned’ returns to more progressive roots as the atmospherics of ‘Dig’ return in what turns out to be a sprawling song. Repeated listens make this a true centrepiece on an album full of highlights, although this is then matched by the woozy balladry of ‘Giza’ which drifts by on a signature motif played over and over.
The majestically triumphant ‘Tombs Arise’ completes an album of stunning quality, as it ties up all the themes and motifs that have been running through the running time. Although the album pushes an hour, you are left wanting much more, resulting in repeated listens which continue to turn up more and more interesting moments. It leaves you emotionally drained, but in the kind of way which makes you want to experience that joy again and again. If ever a band were on peak form it is JIRM and with Surge Ex Monumentis they have created something of a masterpiece. A superb listen from beginning to end which never lets up, and continues to bring new thrills on each listen.