There are big waves coming from North Dakota. No, seriously! Where you may least suspect it, I have found Ingress. Their crunchy riffs and massive vocals have swept me away in a weedian haze of Vikings battling in the cold northern frontier! They may only be a two person band: “TG” on guitars, drum programming and vocals, and “BF” on bass – but they have a much larger sound than most four member bands. The music is grand enough to allow the listener’s imagination to wander. The artwork for their debut album Kingdom Of The I (a DYI album they released on July 29th) depicting the mountaintops under an angry sky is a great tool in finding our own epic journey.
Ingress Kingdom of The I (2014 – Self-Released)
I: The Threat 09:06
II: The Dagger 09:58
III: The Initiation 10:54
IV: The Resolution 10:12
Other than the incredible Candlemass-esque artwork, the first thing that really attracted me to this album was the track listing. Just the titles alone create imagery of an intense duel—combat to the death! One might think that Conan would be an influence, but this classic doom sound takes me back to the mid-to-late 80’s. Slow riffs are rampant throughout the 4-track album and they hearken the Mournful Cries of Saint Vitus. The riffs are monstrous, like Odin himself stomping to the battle scene. This is most evident in “The Threat” which sets the scene for the album.
Kingdom Of The I is more than just heavy riffs. In “The Threat,” you’ll get some light blues rock soloing. It’s a nice change of tempo, then the riffs take over again. The vocals are low, bellowing – even crushing. These growls give the heavy music even more edge, and I most identity his voice with the almighty Kirk Windstein of Crowbar while TG utilizes growing, as opposed to Windstein’s yelling technique.
"The Dagger" starts with some faster riffing, which will take you back to Trouble’s Psalm 9. They’re almost a bit on the thrashy end of the spectrum, while still staying true to doom fashion. This accented riffing, along with help from BF on bass, really packs a strong punch. One thing is for sure—Ingress aren’t afraid to add in different elements, as made obvious with the touch of blues in the previous track. Nearing the end of the second song that blues guitar is back bringing beautiful expression with it. Enjoy it while it lasts, because the slow, rumbling riffs return shortly.
"The Initiation" is my favorite track and kicks in with those heavy Wino-esque riffs that we just can’t get enough of. This song has a lot of movement and headbanging just isn’t enough in response. It makes me wanna jump up and stomp into the wilderness, in search of my own battle. This song has more sludge tone to it than any of the others, which also makes it more interesting. Crushing, yet groove-laden—a perfect balance, in this reviewer’s opinion.
"The Resolution" closes the album and has a tone of empowerment and achievement to it. Once again, tempo is all over the place, from the slow doom riffs of the victor dragging his contender’s body through the muck, to fast and choppy rhythms of horses galloping home to victory. A few different times, you can hear sections with a fuzzy stoner tone that one might hear in a Kyuss jam. Kingdom Of The I comes to a close with swampy, yet majestic riffs that paint a picture of the warrior returning to slumber after annihilating his brave, but not strong enough enemy.
While Ingress is a band that was perhaps born from influence, they create their own sound in such a way that they aren’t merely a throwback to the masters of doom. The sound is huge and modern. These four epic tracks, alone clocking in between nine and eleven minutes, are a perfect listen—close to forty minutes in length. It’s hard to believe that something of is caliber is a debut album. The only thing that may stray some listeners is how difficult it is to decipher the lyrics, however I don’t think this will stop the true doomers out there. The song titles are descriptive enough and matched with their magnificent musical sound, it allows the listener to create their own exciting and unusual experience.
p.s. BillyGoat has tracked down the mysterious band from Fargo for an interview, so keep your eyes out for that one this week!