After less than 25 seconds into the opening track “Descent into Shining Labyrinths” you are taken directly into the scene depicted in the artwork adorning this mini-LP from Scotland’s Ifrinn. Droplets fall from the stalactites above, the dissolution of the limestone portending to the dissolution of existence that surely awaits through the portal. The acrid air reciprocating the sonic landscape. The last soured breath rushes into your lungs as you take the plunge.
On the band’s debut release, Ifrinn take the listener on a half-hour trip through a dank subterranean realm, fraught with dread and trepidation. The best description I can muster for the dominant style found here would be hypnotic blackened death metal. The release evokes thoughts vast and spacious yet without the associated lo-fi cavernous production. Ifrinn conjure this sense of endless space through the immensity of the riffing. The aforementioned hypnotic element arises due to their structure. The actual riffs tend to spread out and fill the enormous spaces, crossing multiple bars and have repeating motifs that either alternate back and forth or shift, as if the ground was quaking below your feet.
The drumming doesn’t distract from this boundlessness in any way. Sure, there are still furious blasts, relentless double-bass sections and a variety of snare-snapping fills but the overall effort works in excellent cohesion with the guitars. The bass is a little low in the mix but is still quite audible, and if you listen closely you’ll hear some subtle synth backing in places. This supporting role goes along with the intro track ‘Descent Into Shining Labyrinths’ and the penultimate offering, “Sulphurous Oscillations” being solely synth affairs. They might not quite match Sequestered Keep-level imagery, but they do serve to continue the desolate atmosphere and maintain the mesmeric trance of the spinning void.
The album centrepiece “Dweller Within The Gulf” is the only available track for me to embed at the moment, but it gives a solid representation of what you can expect to hear from this release. Along with the final track ‘These Darkened Shrines,” it forms the most resonant and memorable portions of the album. The closing riff on the latter bringing you ever closer to the brink of the infinite nothingness. Overall, I found this to be a solid debut which has a captivating atmosphere that has the potential to transport the listener to distant realms and depths. I feel like some of these interesting ideas could be expanded upon a little further and will be curious to see how this progresses should the band pen a longer release in the future. Not a lot is currently known about the band. As I mentioned earlier, this is Ifrinn’s first offering, after being established in 2014. The member(s) have opted to remain anonymous and let the music do the talking, stating that the burden of identity would effectively undermine this concept. The MLP will be released on 12″ through the ever-fruitful Iron Bonehead Productions on March 25th.