Friday, 11 March 2016

Ifrinn - "Ifrinn" (Album Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Mini-LP
Date Released: 25/03/2016
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions


I’ve spent a lot of my life listening to 90s black metal, and those bands seeking to duplicate that sound in the present. There are bands that that can do it well, even if they’re outright re-using another band's ideas. That’s not Ifrinn. This isn’t a clone band. They’re a band entrenched in the past creating music that would be revered alongside the classics of that era, were it released at the same time. Instead,Ifrinn” is one of the great black metal albums of 2016, despite looking backward rather than forward.


“Ifrinn” MLP//DD track listing:

1. Descent Into Shining Labyrinths
2. Oracular Phantasms
3. Dweller Within the Gulf
4. Sulphurous Oscillations
5. These Darkened Shrines

The Review:

As with just about any subgenre in metal, there are a ton of bands doing what’s already been done. How you feel about that is up to you, but if you’re looking for something that sounds like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, there are plenty of bands doing an admirable job of taking that sound and making it their own. The same can definitely be said for black metal, though not really any more than any other genre. For every forward-thinking band, there are multiple others trying to recapture old magic to varying degrees of success. When a band genuinely succeeds at sounding like they’ve been dug out of some closet and given first exposure to the world decades later, there’s a magic to that too. Such is the case with Scotland’s Ifrinn.

It’s as if they recorded the album in 1991, locked it in a time capsule and someone found it twenty five years down the road. It’s important to note a distinction being made, though. It sounds like it came straight out of 1991, but it doesn’t directly pilfer riffs or influence from the bands making their mark in that era. “Ifrinn” conjures that old atmosphere while creating a thunderous roar you can’t find anywhere else. They don’t sound like Mayhem. They don’t sound like Darkthrone. Instead, they’re like a denser, more complex contemporary of those bands, except that we’re just hearing the album in 2016.

Ifrinn is mature and developed in a way that those early second wave black metal bands had no chance of being, as those bands were primal trailblazers taking music in places it hadn’t been before. So while Ifrinn has the benefit of taking in decades of fantastic music in this style from a multitude of great bands, they avoid the trap of trying to replicate any specific band’s sound. It’s really difficult to pinpoint who they’re blending together, if they’re even doing that at all.

Looking at “Oracular Phantasms” as a microcosm for the rest of the album; the song opens with a droning two-chord riff atop a blast beat. The aura is immense. The recording is drenched in reverb, though not enough to make this a black metal cousin to caverncore. The sound is lively, in that the drums aren’t over compressed and the performances are human, though never really sloppy. The riff, while seeming sort of plain, effectively builds a whirling tension while slight variations and drumming changes keep it from feeling monotonous. When the song finally makes that giant shift into its second act (so to speak) at about 2:40 it feels like some great explosion. It’s all crashing down beats driving deeper the notes a riff that borders on doom/death. It’s the sort of songwriting payoff that exists in other forms throughout “Ifrinn’s” thirty minutes. A true indicator of the quality that permeates the rest of the album.

I’ve spent a lot of my life listening to 90s black metal, and those bands seeking to duplicate that sound in the present. There are bands that that can do it well, even if they’re outright re-using another band's ideas. That’s not Ifrinn. This isn’t a clone band. They’re a band entrenched in the past creating music that would be revered alongside the classics of that era, were it released at the same time. Instead,Ifrinn” is one of the great black metal albums of 2016, despite looking backward rather than forward.

Ifrinn” is here and will find an LP copy here



Band info: Facebook

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