Heroic and bone chilling, the stance taken by Gespegewagi indigenous black metal solo artist Ifernach‘s latest effort shows a deeper reverence for the composition process. Unlike the savage, warlike music of Gaqtaqaiaq, whose stomping mania recalled the early days of Emperor, Wastow: the Sortilege of Winter is the music of lore and frozen might.
This isn’t to say the idea of “fist raised pride” is missing from this stunning effort of melodic, folkish black metal plod. Instead, rather, there is pride in introspection and history. Unlike the nationalist movement that defines much of the scene surrounding Ifernach, Wastow looks further back in both locational and musical history.
Kesik—the Mi’kmaq word for Winter. The indigenous (or “First Nation” if you happen to be in Canada) people of the Atlantic provinces of Canada, the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec and the Northern reaches of Maine, the Mi’kmaq’s culture is as ancient and rich as it is immensely fascinating and inspirational. In Wastow‘s eleven minute opener, “Kesik, Dethroned King of the Northeastern Woodlands,” Ifernach’s slow-burning, acoustic guitar-driven black metal epic reflects on the longevity of winter’s frigid grasp and what it historically meant to both the Mi’kmaq and black metal’s histories overall.