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Released February 15/19 (THE AJNA OFFENSIVE)

And now for something completely different. Well, perhaps not completely, but New York-based, one-man band Funereal Presence certainly are a different kettle of fish from most of their black metal brethren.

Opening track 'Wherein Achatius Is Awakened and Called Upon" is initiated by some arcane medieval trad folk (not far removed from Blackmore's Night), before giving way to a short acoustic guitar section, oddly oriental and spacey at the same time. Weird. A black metal crescendo follows, ultimately transitioning into the main riff (signaled by cow bell!) which has a NWOBHM aura to it. From thereon out, the track oscillates between blackened fury and lustful 80's love of riff, before church bells signal the conclusion almost 13 minutes later.

Three more elongated tracks (each averaging 12 minutes) follow in similar fantastical vein, utilizing the same elements as found on the first track, but in different spots and ways to keep the listener engaged and challenged. Totally unique in sound and approach, Funereal Presence are to be commended for steering off the beaten path here.


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