Genre: Pagan Black
Label: Blood Music
Named after a river in Norse mythology separating the realms of gods and giants, Ifing plays pagan black metal. Norse mythology has inspired many bands across Scandinavia. But just as the Vikings were great explorers their faith travelled much wider and further. So it has also influenced this Michigan (USA) based two-man-band. Tim Wicklund handles drums and percussion, while Fritz Petersen takes care of guitars, bass, vocals, and keyboard. When you read they state Ulver, Agalloch, Bathory, Windir, Summoning, and Moonsorrow as their main influences, you immediately get high expectations for their debut Against This Weald.
“The Sires Beyond Wait” is a 4 minute long instrumental opener that would serve nicely as soundtrack in one of the episodes of History Channel’s Vikings. We have to wait for drums, guitars or vocals, but the keyboard and soundscapes set the stage for what is to come on this album.
The waves at the end of “The Sires Beyond Wait” flow into “The Stream” and we take off for 13 minutes in which we are treated with the full potential of Ifing. The band uses the length to offer a pleasant listening that flows into different arrangements without getting dull. The rapid guitars, blast beats and Petersen growling vocals occasionally get turned down a notch to leave space for acoustic passages reminding of Agalloch, complete with folk whistle. Ifing’s music is characterized with multiple layers of music, giving you the opportunity to discover new elements with each listen.
“Realms Forged” is a monumental 18 minute track but fills it up with in the same vein as “The Stream”. The tempo alternates on a pleasant pace with Petersen switching between raspy growls and eerie melodic vocals. Of all the influences mentioned above I am surprised they did not choose to mention the great Falkenbach. Between the slower passages, the fast paced picking and chants remind of the severely missed Windir. With the sound of waves added to the mix it feels like we are carried on our Viking longboat to distant shores. Thunder cracks the sky and the guitars burst in again while the otherworldly synths give you the feeling you are hearing the soundtrack of Ragnarök unfolding.
Petersen and Wicklund have proved their masterful songwriting skills on this epic debut and I’m eager to hear more in the future. The Finnish label Blood Music has made a wise choice picking up this band from across the great pond to share their music with the world. The band’s music is available online under the “name your price”-principle. So if you want to have a listen and support the band go to their label’s Bandcamp.