Il’Ithil- “Ia’Winde”

Il'Ithil- "Ia'Winde"

Blake Green of Wolvserpent is popping up everywhere these days, at least for those of us who keep a keen eye on the underground. In addition to the recently reviewed IV: Love Eternal from his project Aelter, Green is soon releasing his first offering as Il’Ithil. Whereas Green’s better known works see him trudging along the edge of the abyss, Il’Ithil’s debut Ia’Winde is a chilling plummet to depths only hinted at in his other projects. With two tracks spanning approximately twenty-seven minutes, this album feels far lengthier than its run-time.

On a website focusing primarily on black metal, it’s always a thrill to have an album come in that fits so perfectly into traditional black metal atmospheres yet evades easy traps of repetitive meandering. Instead, jagged yet layered guitars fold into each other to form clashing, beautiful backdrops like endless barrages of snowfall. There’s a fury driving it onward, yet it’s driven by the ferocity of nature rather than a place of hatred. This subtle beauty within the chaos is especially apparent on “Through the Cold Grey Sky,” where thin, ghostly melodies hover above it all offering up solace while harsh vocals cut right through the entire body of music, chaining the piece in place. It’s Il’Ithil’s capacity for balancing extremes by highlighting the struggle between them that makes this interesting. Instead of walking a middle ground, listeners get to experience the contrast in action.

The extremity and starkness of Il’Ithil’s musical tapestry isn’t the album’s only defining characteristic. Indeed, each composition wanders its way into focus. Introductory segments aren’t uncommon in pieces of greater length, but here they feel more like promises which the songs deliver. The militaristic percussion and choral effects at the beginning of “Winter’s Shadow” truly set the stage for what follows without feeling like throwaway sounds dropped in just to prepare the listener. It’s the integration and essential nature of these sounds that really has me immersed. The way Il’Ithil weaves in and out of extremes makes it so easy to follow that it’s almost hypnotic. After repeat plays, this album has yet to disappoint and often leaves me in a state that no other album will satisfy. As the last buzz of the guitars rings out, I find myself starting again, and I imagine you will do the same if you only give yourself the chance. This album is currently available for pre-order from Psychic Violence in an edition of 329 vinyl records.