Nov 27, 2021

Ifernach - The Green Enchanted Forest of the Druid Wizard (2020)

Genre: Black Metal
Location: Quebec, Canada
Release date: 20.06.2020
Label: Tour de Garde
Listen: Bandcamp

I started listening to this project's works in the reverse order, as The Green Enchanted Forest of the Druid Wizard was the first release I got my hands on, and there have been several interesting mini-releases as well as three full length albums before since, since their inception in 2015. Ifernach belongs to the cast of black metal artists exploring native American folklore but not just out of interest, as they are usually closely related on the topic even outside the borders of music.

The first thing to quickly notice in the record is the impressive riff work. When it goes deep into melodic / harsher guitar parts, I would say that all the riffs are just wonderful, and all of them memorable. The Green Enchanted Forest... opens with an introduction that honestly reminds too much of Burzum's "Dunkelheit" days, but it's more of a homage than a rip-off, much like Watain's touch on Mayhem on the opening "Devil's Blood" of Casus Luciferi in 2003. Nevertheless, following with "The Passage of Dithreabhach", the most bombastic track of the record and in my opinion, its highlight, shows clearly Ifernach's skill to compose great black metal, combined with an interesting clean guitar part towards the end.

More ominous playing is found in "In the Hollow of the Togharmach " and "Teimn Laid II", making me think that Ifernach must be really into Norwegian black metal and more specifically, the aforementioned legends. There's traces of punk in these tracks too, and above all I really enjoyed the thick and dusty production the record has. With an album cover painted by Megan Walsh, the record conceptually clicks with all its different aspects apart from the music itself and definitely offers a journey worth taking.

On the other hand, I found the interludes of The Green Enchanted Forest... just too long. While still above average, "A Cursed Spear" feels unnecessarily long, and I had the same impression of "Teimn Laid I". Building on that, "Hidden Palaces Under the Green Hills" is a nice ritual / dark ambient track, and all of these grant the record with another, more meditative side, which helps with its originality and the story that is told here, but just didn't keep me personally attached in the end. However, as a whole, The Green Enchanted Forest... has some seriously powerful black metal in it, and that's not only what you will find here.

As a whole, Ifernach have achieved something special. The album is really interesting once it sets in, and you could find yourself returning to it more than you expect, with awesome guitar lines and a great and unique atmosphere. I enjoyed most of it, and I have been listening a lot on repeat since the time I found it (which was even later than when it was released), but its beauty was revealed to me after a few listens and not right away. It is also a project that deserves listening time for their EPs, demos, and especially split albums, but still i consider  The Green Enchanted Forest... as a fairly high point at their discography.

1. The Green Enchanted Forest of the Druid Wizard
2. The Passage of Dithreabhach
3. A Cursed Spear
4. In the Hollow of the Togharmach
5. Teinm Laida I
6. Teinm Laida II
7. A Winter Tree Clad in Black Frost
8. Hidden Palaces Under the Green Hills

Damage: 4/5 [Excellent]

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