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Funeral - Praesentialis In Aeternum Award winner

Praesentialis In Aeternum
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 10 January 2022, 6:24 AM

FUNERAL is a doom metal band from Norway who formed in 1991.  "Praesentialis In Aeternum," is their sixth full length album. They have also released five demo albums throughout the years. This is my first experience with their music, although I am familiar with vocalist Sindre Nedland's other band, IN VAIN. FUNERAL is, of course, quite the departure from that band's progressive brand of metal. With that being said, "Praesentialis In Aeternum," is diverse in its own right. Elements from various doom styles can be heard across these six tracks and 55:56 run time, such as funeral, Gothic, melodic and traditional.  Symphonics make their appearance too…and fit in nicely.

It isn't just the music that has variety—the vocals do as well. Sindre's vocals go from a smooth classic clean vocal, to operatic, and then from there to deep, Gothic tones. I’m not sure if he does the death growls too but, regardless, those are also well done. "Ånd," opens the album with adventurous and whimsical symphonics before crushing distortion from the two punch combo of guitars and bass drop the proverbial doom hammer. The drums are very powerful—hit with the power and fervor of artillery. I love it when the death growls and keys mix with the heavy riffs—the band sounds truly menacing in these moments. But those clean vocals…wow! They definitely add a progressive and bombastic feel to the proceedings which are two elements not often found in doom.

"Materia" begins more direct—these riffs are potent and sometimes sounds dissonant or djent. Those are yet two more words I don't often use when describing doom. FUNERAL just do what they want and by God they make it work. Around the three minute mark, the song treads more melodic waters, complete with a quiet almost gentle part with clean crooning. Of course, the moment right after is anvil heavy bass and searing growls. Perfect, this song alone gives the best of both worlds, light and dark. The guitar solo melds beautifully with the keys and I loved the melodic dirge that follows it.

The next two tracks, which I feel collectively are the best on the album, comprise the song "Erindrng," which is composed of two parts. Part one is "Hovmod," is the more catchy and direct of the two parts. It opens with melodic tinged riffs and sorrow infused keys.  The guitars soon hammer down the atmosphere during the stanzas but it all returns to melody with what amounts to the chorus. The vocals here are deep and so rich. The song grows more baritone and Gothic as it moves forward but there are hints of beauty within the darkness. After a lovely symphonic passage and guitar solo, the song comes full circle back to the chorus. The second part, "Fall," is a couple minutes longer and more methodical in its approach. The keys in the beginning growl steadily towards the ravaging crunch of the guitars and bass. When it all mixes, it truly sounds epic. The middle part of the song is slower and even slightly ambient before the death growls rise upon the guitars metallic waves. The later half has a sort of operatic feel to it, what with the soaring cleans and background vocals. The song is still crushing however and it just goes to show how well cleans can work even with the heaviest of doom.

"Oppvåkning," is the most straight forward song on the album but there isn't anything wrong with that because it is 100 percent pure, unadulterated Gothic death doom metal. It hits all the right notes at the right times.  The bass in particular accents the song so well and the drums keep it all on steady shoulders while moving the focus to key areas of the song when needed. The final track, "Dvelen," is just ridiculous and I mean that in a good way. At eleven and a half minutes long, it takes all the elements of the tracks before and combines them into an opus. The keyboards are the MVP on this song, showering the doom with a Gothic embrace that compliments the elements while pushing the song forward. All in all I am impressed with my first experience with FUNERAL and they have gained yet another new fan. I reviewed this too late for it to me considered on my AOTY list but it definitely would have made it otherwise! Stunning doom metal.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Ånd
2. Materie
3. Erindring I - Hovmod
4. Erindring II - Fall
5. Oppvåkning
6. Dvelen
Anders Eek - Drums
Erlend E. Nybø - Guitars
Rune Gandrud - Bass
Sindre Nedland - Vocals
André Aaslie -Keyboards, Orchestrations
Magnus Olav Tveiten - Guitars
Record Label: Season of Mist Records


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