Ifing – Against this Weald


Jim and I neglected to communicate that we were each reviewing this album, so here you go… 2 similar glowing reviews with 2 different writing styles!

Based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, only a short 2 hour jaunt south of this frozen bunker here in Traverse City, comes the inspired and endlessly atmospheric duo Ifing with their Scandinavian black metal fashioned debut, Against this Weald. Knowing that city well due to family living there along with many pilgrimages to Radio Kilroy Records (RIP), Vinyl Solution (RIP) and now Vertigo Records over the years has filled my music collection with endless classics, I still find myself being a bit stunned when the mid-paced and patient swell of excellently considered and endlessly melodic music washes through the speakers to send my thoughts adrift once more on that old familiar stream of reflective and world traveling atmosphere. GR is a busy city like any other, but it is obvious these guys heart and passion belongs lost out in the woods.

When the bio drops names such as Bathory, Windir, Summoning, Ulver and Moonsorrow when trying to tie down Ifing’s inspiration, for most of them I would wholeheartedly agree and even add the likes of Enslaved (for select riffs on the album and the Viking Mythology theme) to the pile. Though you can feel the pulse of those bands surging through this expansive 3 song album, Ifing cultivate their own spirit of composition and synth accompaniment that really sets these songs high on the wind to take flight and feel even more mighty. The simplistic though so very deeply uplifting guitar harmonies intertwine with the synth foundation to make an all-encompassing descent mentally into a time where the world’s main technological advancement was the forging of iron into tools and weapons, which the band skillfully achieves by way of an excellent digital recording. Making mention of this point is only to compliment Ifing, for they utilized modern tools and instead of creating a cold and stiff sound canvas, have succeeded in breaking through with an organic aura which further empowers the spirit and delivery of this material. A smooth and roomy sounding distortion ignites a woodland buzz, for throaty mid-ranged black metal vocals to further keep this material alive and rooted in the right vibe for such a grand orchestrated statement that is Against this Weald. When the acoustic guitar comes in on The Stream, it is such a nice touch and pulls at the heart strings attached to my love of Bathory’s “Viking” era musically, only for flute to arise from the aether to further instill Ifing’s working with folk elements to expand their sound and musical culture. Throw in powerful clean singing at just the right moments and in just the perfect balance and you have an extremely moving body of work that will affect the listener and demand repeated listens.

Against this Weald is excellent and such an emotive beast of an album, it proudly puts Michigan on the map as having so much more to bring to the black metal genre than the aggressive stuff we’ve been known for in bands like Masochist, Summon, Lucifer’s Hammer and others. If this album came out in the mid 90’s and Ifing were from Norway, I have no doubt they would have been written into the history books as one of those bands that made their mark. It’s 2014… regardless of the era or geographical location, Ifing have indeed made their mark with this powerful album that will easily enchant all followers of atmospheric, or “epic” (and I hate to use that term) black metal. -Marty
Blood Music

~ by martyworm on March 26, 2014.

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