Scotland is not a prolific country for metal by any means. Sure, Andy Marshall works hard with Saor and his solo-project Fuath but the pickings are slim on the Gaelic isle. Thankfully, newcomers Ifrinn are here to thicken that scene with some quality black metal. Thus, the Island harbors bands in a “quality over quantity” manner. Ifrinn’s self-titled debut LP is a barely an LP, five tracks (and two of those interludes) spanning roughly thirty minutes. But for what it lacks in length it makes up for in girth and breadth. The work is rife with symbolism, atmosphere and poignancy. Ifrinn is young but they are a band with focus, drive and a vision—one that they attack with vigor.
Like many black metal bands, the members choose not to identify themselves. Rather they view the band as a single constellation. Working off the principle that identity would only seek to undermine their cause, the band puts the music at the forefront and does not compromise on their vision. Their message is that of Caledonian Black Magick and their songs are hymns to the nightside and her majesties. Thus, the interludes and the beauty in these tracks is meant to deliberately call forth from other dimensions. As a listener, the album does exactly that—calling forth the depths of emotion and weightlessness of the soul.
A highlight of the album is the interludes. Particularly the second interlude, and fourth track, “Sulphorous Oscillations.” The track is entirely a minimalist organ track that sets the mood for the album’s closer, “These Darkened Shrines.” The obvious imagery is a church, as the organ is Christianity’s instrument of choice, but being a Scottish band, the organ is equally reminiscent of rolling planes, serenely dark and choppy oceans as well as icy hills and caves. The drums are cavernous and immediately enticing as they burst open with a fury on “Oracular Phantasms.”
Ifrinn is a solid release and a promising debut. The negatives are that the band tends to choose the wrong part to carryon for more than a brief spell. A better mix, with the guitars featuring more prominently (and less in tune with the cymbals) would certianly help separate the instrumentation sonically. But overall, it’s a phenomenal addition to the Scottish metal scene and the world as a whole.