Ifing – Against this Weald (Blood Music)

Wednesday, 2nd April 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

From Grand Rapids, Michigan, blackened folk metallers, Ifing, took root and bloomed with their natural, robust, and mystic ways. Ifing summon ancient spirits of Norse mythology and invoke a world of forest-fantasy in their masterwork, Against this Weald. Even this duo-project’s name is from Norse folklore – Ifing (or Ífingr) is a river said to separate the kingdom of gods from the land of giants. In the name of this mysterious river, Ifing’s versatile musicians, Tim Wickland and Fritz Petersen, placed themselves at the epicenter of these two realms and broke the barrier between purified godliness and raw earthiness.

The seamless vibrancy of Against this Weald is astounding. Ifing doesn’t just hold your attention, they captivate your consciousness. The first track, “The Sires Beyond Await,” is sacrificed to four minutes of mellow orchestral ambiance, chilly with a sound like water gushing at a rocky shore. Next, “The Stream” plunges straight into an onslaught of Ifing’s deepest darkest black metal. Thereafter, the rapids lift into a graceful wave by an enrapturing tin whistle solo then slowly swell into fiery, musty, windswept darkness. Set as the centerpiece of the record, “The Stream” exceeds the standard expectations of a fine piece and it is simply incomparable to the average song. Lastly, stretching over eighteen minutes long, “Realms Foraged” makes up over half the record. This monstrous ballad of folky black metal is enthralling with everything from soft, soothing, ethereal vocals to wild and savage vocals; fetching euphoric zephyrs to dark and wicked fires; cold deathliness to lively blazing vigor; plus the sounds of rain pouring over the inextinguishable flames of Ifing.

The prolific density of Against this Weald is absolutely satisfying. It doesn’t matter that there are only three tracks because each one is a brilliantly composed, viscous work of supernatural charm and raw organic pleasure. Like the enchantment of a forest inciting one to cross middle grounds into the wilderness, one can lose oneself in the mystifying grandeur of Against this Weald. So if you dig genuine folk metal and value true nature-bound black metal, do not let Ifing pass you by.

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