The torrential new album called Ir from Denmark’s powerful, musically immersive black metal band Orm is not subtle. The monumental piece contains just two separated tracks, each of which approach the 25 minute mark, and within those confines, the band embark into an utterly devastating, shredding sonic storm that rips apart what’s in its path before laying down the tired soul at the center into an illumination of the scope of what they’ve gone through and its implications, delivered here via gentler but foreboding atmosphere-drenched portions.
The Skeleton Of Ir
The music overall feels like a raw, visceral expression of the potency of this extreme music in crafting a new path. You can’t escape the onslaught — which proves to be packing real emotional resonance.
“To put it into as few words as possible, Ir is about a personal loss, the suicide of a dear family member, and all the emotions and questions that follows in the wake of something as monumental as that,” the band’s bassist Troels Cort Nielsen explains. “To put the specific incident into a larger perspective, and perhaps to cope with it in some sense, we’ve centered the narration around the nature and folklore of our home island of Bornholm, a small rock in the middle of the Baltic sea.”
The uncompromising framework of the extreme metal that Orm deliver provided the perfect opportunity for the processing of this pain.
“Loss and grief most certainly directed the progression of the album, but in coping with the death of a lost one, there is also anger, guilt, despair, hope and in the end, acceptance and the fond memories of the one who has passed,” Nielsen notes. “I think the album has done a lot in terms of moving forward, but diving into all of these emotions, and putting them in a wider context, has helped us understand grief in relation to religion as well. We’re not religious by any means, but we as humans tend to deal with the unfathomable by creating parallel, fictional, narrations to help understand questions such as ‘why’ and ‘how,’ just as we did with Ir.”
Developing the Album’s Power
Taking the reins of this storytelling as the members of the band have, they’re granted a sense of direction. The music’s force ensures that the storytelling reins end up hanging out in the open, and the band’s subsequent redirection leads to stunning, flourishing stops along the way. You’re really not going to forget this easily — the band stay strikingly dynamic throughout the whole work, which only drives the idea further in place of this album packing a real, personal, human story available for listeners to engage with too.
“Personally, I think that the genre is in a liberation process in many ways,” Nielsen notes of the overall style his band is working with here. “Black metal is no longer just black metal, perhaps it never was, but I feel that the genre specific constraints are being torn down and bands are trying harder and harder to take what they like and make it their own.”
Practically, Nielsen explains that they specifically tried to match Ir‘s immersive, at times oppressive sound to the themes they were exploring. “Stepping out into an emotional snowstorm is not far off by any means,” he notes.
Their fine-tuning of their musical process extended all the way down to the practicals of the music’s construction — the band even have their own studio, Nielsen shares. There, they dug into initial live recordings for Ir of drum and rhythm guitar sections, “building layers on top and around of the music,” as Nielsen puts it.
“That certainly prolonged the recording process a lot but it was essential to make this record feel and sound right,” he adds.
Although the band are based over in Denmark, and their lyrics are even in Danish — you can immerse in the music and let your mind drift through these carefully constructed but ultimately volatile torrents no matter where you’re at. Nielsen notes that he hopes to be able to “travel far and wide” to bring Orm’s live performances to people, but in the meantime, he says:
I hope that people will take the time to listen to the record in its entirety. Take a deep breath and be present in the moment.
Photo via Naya Buch
Check out Ir for yourself below: