Inexorum – Equinox Vigil Review

My wife really doesn’t understand my love for metal. Sure, she can be heard singing random Sabaton and Brothers of Metal lyrics from time to time, but that’s only because she’s been subjected to a lethal dose of said bands while riding in the car with the kids and myself. I remember her asking me many years ago, “What do you get out of this music? Is there anything beautiful about it?” As a result, I spent the next few weeks curating a list of beautiful metal songs—not songs that would seem beautiful to the average metalhead, but beautiful to the average person. I played her tracks like “Revelations” by Iron Maiden, “Embrace the Endless Ocean” by Amon Amarth, and “Fade to Black” by Metallica, and she couldn’t deny their inherent beauty. Now, most people don’t come to metal music in search of traditional “beauty” per se, but I’m always surprised and bewitched when I run into an album that is simultaneously heavy and gorgeous. Equinox Vigil, the third full-length from Minneapolis project Inexorum, is just such an album.1

If I wanted to describe Inexorum’s sound in as few words as possible, I’d call it melodic black metal. But it is really so much more than that. Elements of atmo-black, pagan metal, folk, death metal, and traditional metal come and go so fluidly throughout Equinox Vigil’s 40-minute runtime that I’m still finding new numinous nuggets nearly two dozen listens in. The embedded title track is a fantastic example of Inexorum’s style, its ultra-melodic intro giving way to a black metal verse that is undeniably savage. The band continues to alternate between these two modes for much of the track, throwing some resplendent guitar solo passages in to increase the beauty quotient. The song ends with a curveball as brilliant clean vocal harmonies appear to close things out on a triumphant note.

And that sense of triumph and grandeur permeates pretty much every aspect of Inexorum’s sound despite the fact that they rarely take their foot off the gas pedal. Many of the riffs are full of aggression, and many of the melodies are drenched in sadness, but the overall vibe of Equinox Vigil is paradoxically uplifting. Just listen to “Dark Sky Sanctuary” and feel your spirit begin to rise when the triumphant chords make their appearance after the tremolo-plus-blast-beat intro. The leads that appear throughout this track—and many others—take on a personality of their own, functioning almost like another vocalist and reminding me of those Death-meets-Maiden leads found on Paranorm’s phenomenal debut from last year.

Unlike many “atmospheric” bands, Inexorum doesn’t waste time creating atmosphere for the sake of atmosphere, but just about every facet of their song-craft is oozing with feeling. I’ve only mentioned two of the eight tracks by name—far fewer than I usually do in a review—and that’s intentional. I could sit here and describe things in more explicit detail, but I honestly feel like I’d be robbing you of something special if I did so. Equinox Vigil reminds me of …and OceansCosmic World Mother or Seth’s La Morsure du Christ in the way that its melodic black metal payload is delivered synergistically, the whole experience becoming so much more than the sum of its individual parts. Inexorum band members Carl Skildum (guitars, keys, vocals, drum programming) and Matthew Kirkwold (bass, vocals) have proven that their individual performances are well suited for such ambitious and effective songwriting, with Skildum’s guitar work feeling particularly out of this world. To be honest, I wouldn’t have realized that there wasn’t an actual drummer on the recording if I hadn’t read the promo material because there are several spots where the programming feels quite organic. But I’m not much of a production guy, so what do I know?

Equinox Vigil is a stunningly beautiful album, and with it, Inexorum have fulfilled the duality of my melodic black metal needs in 2022 by taking up the angelic vacancy on my right shoulder to balance out the diabolical fury of In Aphelion perched squarely on my left. I’ve listened to this album a lot, but my desire to listen to it only grows. I bet many of you will feel the same.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Gilead Media
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: June 17th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. The only thing better than finding a beautiful metal album is poaching one right out from under Cherds Minneapolis nose.
« »