Ia’winde: a short album of immense and overpowering density, and of regret beneath the aggression

Il’ithil, Ia’winde, Psychic Violence, MLP vinyl PV-XV (2015)

Il’ithil is a recent black metal project founded by Blake Green whose other musical hobbies include darkwave drone ambient solo project Aelter and co-running the drone doom metal band Wolvserpent. Debut recording “Ia’winde” might be less than half an hour in length but its two sprawling tracks seem much longer; perhaps that impression is due to how much fury, atmosphere and layered sound Green packs into the sonic landscapes here.

First track “Winter” is an icy rage through clanging percussion, crazily churning demented guitar, heavy grinding bass and sub-zero temperature ambience. Myriad demon voices shriek or mumble through much of the driving rhythms. At times the busily humming music sounds a lot like masses of giant wasps on the hunt flying through dark skies. On and on the music goes, becoming more frantic, more menacing, more single-minded in its fury. Suddenly it all plunges into horrific darkling depths of murky tone wash fading into the black void … though not completely for the dim rumble morphs into “Through the Cold Grey Sky”, a much more bleak and depressive atmospheric set where voices of resignation sigh amid militaristic pounding percussion, and a dense and frenzied conglomerate of maddened guitars and drums pound out a crazed grinding routine while ice ghost voices and demon roars mix in a weird chorus. The whole juggernaut of deep bass grind, hornet guitars, clanging cymbals, gruff demonic howls and shrill banshee screaming is a spectacle to behold as it lurches along.

The extreme sounds and the huge contrasts among them give the entire recording an immense and overpowering density; add insane hyper-machine speeds and rhythms, layers of screaming voices and guitar, and a clear production that emphasises each and every sound, and this album ends up being a lot bigger than its playing-time suggests. The music strains at its physical limitations – there’s just so much more pushing to get out onto this physical plane of existence. The dominant moods may be aggression and rage but there is also deep melancholy and sorrow beneath; the source of these extreme emotions is clearly not hate but perhaps deep regret and grief that humanity has defied and defiled nature for too long and must now face the consequences in the form of extreme harsh weather.

For such a short recording, “Ia’winde” is incredibly powerful and spellbinding. I’m really looking forward to what Blake Green can come up with on a follow-up. This reminds me so much of the best parts of L’Acephale and Njiqahdda together – how I miss those bands when they were at their peak. Blake, you sure have big expectations to fill!

Contact: Psychic Violence Records, [email protected]