Published May 05, 2014While Grand Rapids, Michigan might not be the first place of origin you'd guess for a vibrant new Viking Metal project, it certainly proved fertile ground for Ifing. While the group have been together since 2008, they are only now releasing their debut: a three-track, mythic voyage of a record titled Against This Weald. The album functions very much as a single creative unit, with a strong central narrative moving through the tracks. The opening number, "The Sires Beyond Await," has a plaintive restlessness to it, evoking a journey's beginning and conjuring a sense of both excitement and threat with it's sharp, clear ambience.
"The Stream" is all about activity and the crystallization of that threat, with ravenous, smouldering black metal building a sense of intensity and violence, while a tin whistle solo helps convey a sense of wonder and delicacy. The highlight of the record is unquestionably the 18-minute epic "Realms Forged," which has the strongest forward drive and creates a sumptuous, rich and story-driven soundscape. The thunderclap and sudden elevation of intensity that heralds the beginning of the song's third act is shiver-inducing.
The uncommon structure of the record is a great strength, allowing it to unfurl at it's own fierce, viscous pace. Those who appreciate stranger musical narratives and Viking Metal that veers more towards the elemental and supernatural than strictly confined to the battlefield with relish this release. (Blood Music)