Upon their first encounter with black metal, many newcomers are overwhelmed by its brutality and aggression, failing to notice the rich tapestry of sounds that lies underneath. Denmark’s Orm, making great use of a wide palette of sounds and textures, are the perfect embodiment of a band that knows how to give their music some real depth. We can only hope that people will take notice.
With only two tracks in the album, each running for about 25 minutes, Ir is an ambitious record. Opener “Klippens Lyse Hal”, for example, starts off with a good 1.5 minutes of just slowly plucked distorted notes, before unleashing a more traditional black metal barrage. Similarly, “Baer Solen Ud” takes the bold move of starting off with a sad acoustic guitar for a full 3 minutes before veering into black metal territory. While the former does so in full force, in a style very reminiscent of Emperor, the latter takes its time, in the form of a slow, doomy crescendo, before veering into full-on black metal. Even when they reach “peak black metal,” however, both compositions (the term “song” seems a bit too restrictive here) keep changing directions, taking the listener into a hectic musical journey. They slow things down when they want to bring down the mood (and I really mean slowing things down), enhancing even more the experience when they go back to full speed.
The stylistic changes that the songs go through make for a very interesting listening experience, and actually kept me engaged through several replays. While the album can certainly work “merely” as great black metal music to play in the background, the textures of the music are so are so varied and so rich, that they really unleash their full potential when you give them your full attention. The arcane and melancholy lyrics complement each other perfectly, and are sure to awaken an array of feelings and sensations in you, regardless of whether you know what exactly it is that they’re saying (the lyrics are in Danish, after all).
Ir is a really unique album, with a true narrative feel to it. Each composition is so complex, so varied, and so rich in sounds and textures, that I’m sure that you’ll find yourself going back to them over and over. To truly enjoy this record, however, turn off the lights, put on your headphones, close your eyes, and enjoy the ride.