In the Presence of a Dread Magician
(Blackmetal.com Records) Enslain Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1 This two man duo have one hell of a record. Aside from an intro and outro, it consists of 4 epic tracks which average 15 minutes in length. It is like listening to "Master of Puppets" twice! (or listening to an OLD old school DRI song 30 times!)
It would be difficult to classify this as a "black metal" record. This record has some of it's feel, but also includes llivelier and animated passages not normally heard in black metal. The riffs and arrangements don't lend themselves to too much predictibility. It is effective because the songs are so long that standard song structures would tire very easily. "In the presence of a Dread Magician" manages to sustain the listener's interest, despite the song lengths, by keeping one guessing where the music will go next. It changes mood often enough, and keeps the early themes of the songs echoing and embellished in later passages.
The only draw back is that the vocals could have been a bit louder on the recording. With the inlay jacket, one has to (honestly) hold them up to a mirror to read the lyrics, since they are printed in reverse. Not sure why it was done, but they did get me to go up to the bathroom mirror to figure out what was being said! Overall, I would say this is a good record that takes a lot of getting used to.