Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus is dead, long live JIRM. With a new moniker and a re-energized focus, the band formerly known as Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus (I seriously shit you not, that was their name!), returns with Surge Ex Monumentis which is an enthralling slab of prog rawk regardless of what these Stockholm-based rockers choose to call themselves.
The minute “Candle Eyes” airily shreds its’ way into existence to start off the album there’s an almost mystical presence with this blues-soaked Stevie Ray Vaughan-style riffage amidst a rollicking and rumbling while drummer Henke Persson provides some impassioned percussive pounding. Did we say “airily”? The cause of that would be the divine voice of Karl Apelmo who also lays down some of those aforementioned riffs while equally slaying with those pipes moving from a croon to a scream with ease.
“Dig” is almost ethereal at times and the first of some truly epic pieces of rawk as at least four tracks exceed the ten-minute mark within Surge Ex Monumentis. Then the song just explodes in a flurry of desert rawk awesome. Not the classic kind either but the modern kind (Think Vista Chino over Kyuss). It’s so good that you almost forget that there haven’t been any vocals until halfway through when Apelmo makes his grand entrance to take the song to the next level of, you guessed it, awesome.
“Isle Of Solitude” creates that sense of isolation as the name implies with Apelmo’s wail echoing as if crying out from a deserted island while “The Cultist”, in contrast, is a straight up soulful rawker with half the length (But still almost clocking in at seven minutes) as these swirling, surging riffs cry out triumphantly.
“Nature Of The Damned” is almost like an old Moody Blues prog classic before becoming a lurching behemoth of guitars and beats and an otherworldly wail from Apelmo (Think Rob Halford meets Bruce Dickinson) until shifting into the ether for a magical breakdown.
Then “Giza” brings out the big guns, namely the flute, for a quiet respite before the shit hits the fan for the eleven minute closer that’s to come. And come it does as Micke Pettersson and Apelmo’s dual guitar attack is definitely felt during no holds barred closer “Tombs Arise” which gushes for the entirety with only slight breathing room during one of the many breakdowns throughout with bassist Viktor Källgren laying on the low end thick before being swallowed back up into the riff machine. And that, boys and girls, is how you rebrand yourselves!