Ifing – Against This Weald

ifingWhen you find yourself constantly looking abroad for new sounds, it can be easy to ignore what’s going on in your own backyard. I’d only recently heard of Ifing, a band to be found a scant two hours south from Worm Gear HQ in Grand Rapids, MI, and had thought they were unsigned, but Blood Music in Finland picked them up before they released their music into the wild. Wise choice, for what you’ll find on Against This Weald are whispers of Ulver-style folk guitars, wisps of Summoning grandiosity, and the thematic concerns of Viking-era Bathory. And while the works of these revered ungods grace the collections of all that peruse these pages of electrons, Ifing bring their own bent to the modern musical discourse of the Norse. The riffs, synths, clean vocals, flutes and other non-electric instruments are unabashedly presented with clarity, and though I typically prefer a less perfect sheen in my black/pagan metal, here the choice is appropriate, if not necessary, for each instrument rises out of the mix clear, upfront, and vibrant, adding to the promise of triumph that fuels each of the three songs comprising this forty-minute opus. We hear samples of a lonely Viking boat creaking and slowly cutting through melancholy waters, and in so doing we hear below the cries of strength an unspoken fear and weariness locked deep within the hearts of the raiders. Stepping beyond the chest-thumping we’d usually hear, Ifing’s melodic leads and synths lend a sense of foreboding to the typical mead hall goings-on. Perhaps its the shared harshness of our mutual regions’ Winters, perhaps its our shared affinity for the woodlands, but whatever the reason, this Michigan duo have captured the soul of ancient Scandinavia, and not just its history of blood and thunder.
My nitpicks for Against This Weald concern the ride cymbal work on the blast beats and the mix of the harsh vocal, the former of which could have been used a bit more sparingly and the latter of which would have succeeded best deeper beneath the fantastic music, but these are minor criticisms. Experience this stunning debut from my fellow Michiganders in its entirety as I did, and you’ll be transported by full sails and living seas to a familiar, yet somehow new and wondrous place.
And you will want to return.
ps – Pre-orders for US vinyl are almost sold out; get this one while you still can (I just did 😉 -Jim

Blood Music

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~ by cliftonium on March 26, 2014.

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