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An Interesting Blend of Classic Heavy Metal and Doom - 85%

Stained Glass Assassin, February 28th, 2019

Although Nile may be the foremost Egyptian themed metal act these days, others have dabbled in the ancient mythology namely Apophis (one of my personal favorites). However, in 2015, Magister Templi would release “Into Duat” and add their names to the Egyptian metal lore.

“Into Duat” is an interesting album, not because of its overall theme, but more so due to the sound they play. Now, I have yet to listen to their previous album “Lucifer Leviathan Logos”, (I have read the sounds on the albums differ a bit), but the sound on “Into Duat” is a nice blend of classic 80’s heavy metal played over a doomy backdrop. At times, I certainly hear a more classic sounding Candlemass, but the eclectic sound of Manilla Road and Slough Feg, are much more prominent.

Magister Templi employ a twin guitar element to their sound, which, is a nod to the classic NWBHM sound. With the dueling guitars, the album centers more on mid to up tempo riffs, catchy hooks, and nice harmonies, as opposed to shredding solos which are sparingly used. This is a very nice approach to their sound as it gives them the ability to play a more up tempo riffs, while also having the ability to add in subtle hints of doom chords. “Anubis” is the best example to hear the duel guitars and their use of mid-tempo riffs with a nice little solo near the end. There are moments of a more, down tuned, plodding style, but they are not the dominate sound like many doom bands follow. An example of a more classic, crushing riffs can be heard on “Osiris”, but even then, there are still sections of faster paced rhythms to be heard.

As for the vocals, Abraxas’ voice carries a unique high tone, one that I don’t think would work well with a standard doom sound, but since the music on this album plays much more to the tune of 80’s US and NWOBHM, they fit the sound. His voice reminds me of Tim Baker of Cirith Ungol, with the ability to blend high notes with a grittier baseline. Songs like “Anubis” or “Horus the Avenger” display both the vocal and instrumental similarities of Cirith Ungol.

The drums have that classic 80’s metal sound to them. They are speedy and hammer away, keeping to beat of the tune, while harmonizing with the strength of the twin guitars. Although the bass is not as front and center as a standard doom metal act, it can be heard if one pays attention, providing a subtle dose of heaviness behind the guitars and pounding drums. All the instruments, as well as the vocals as clearly present on this album, which leads to my tip of the hat toward the production. They did an excellent job showcasing the talent on display and made sure that every element got their fair share of attention.

When I read an early review for “Into Duat”, it was being cataloged as just another doom album released that year, so initially I was hesitant, but the cover art and Egyptian theme swayed my decision. I’m glad I did, as I found “Into Duat” to be a pleasant surprise, especially since the band shares similarities to a few other bands I hold in high regards. I think fans of the bands metniion previous should give this a listen, but I think anyone looking for a subtle twist on the classic doom metal sound would be wise to give it a listen as well.

Highlights: “Horus the Avenger” “Anubis” “Osiris”

Into the Abyss of Oblivion

Crushing the opposition into dust - 88%

Metantoine, September 18th, 2015

Norway isn't widely known for its doom metal, compared to nations like Sweden of Finland, it only has a handful of bands evolving in that style. I'm thinking here of Lamented Souls with its lineup composed of well known musicians (ICX Vortex and Apollyon), the excellent High Priest of Saturn and Sadhak or the underwhelming Sahg and Devil... That's about it as far as traditional doom is concerned... Well, except for Magister Templi! The quintet from Oslo is back with their sophomore release after their well received debut album “Lucifer Leviathan Logos”.

Not as doomy as their debut, “Into Duat” is more rooted in epic heavy metal than anything else. I'd still classify them as heavy/doom as they mix both genres but this is clearly not your typically slow trad doom release (see England's Witchsorrow for a good example of this in 2015). Unlike many doom bands (I'm thinking of the Candlemass lovers of Crypt Sermon here), their influences and inspirations are harder to pinpoint. There's some early Slough Feg (read Thin Lizzy) in their music (especially the track “Horus the Avenger”) and pure 80s heavy metal and that's totally awesome. They're very groovy and keep things relatively short and tidy (eight songs for forty minutes), only the excellent opener “Creation” is a bit on the longer side with its near seven minutes length. While I'd like for them to go overboard with some longer moments like fellow heavy/doomsters Atlantean Kodex, I'm perfectly fine with this stylistic choice and I must say that they're pretty skilled at incorporating such an epic sound to a classic, punchy and concise packaging. It feels like they're putting Maiden's most epic tracks into a 4-5 minutes one.

After the Lovecraftian and occult themes of their previous effort, Magister Templi took the Nile way and crafted a bunch of songs about Egyptian mythology (obvious with the song titles) and it's always a rich and interesting subject to write about. There's plenty of occult stories full of betrayals and magnificent fantasy tales to be found in Egypt's rich lore. The musicality is also influenced by the themes, it's not exactly Melechesh turned doom but the analogy isn't that far off (listen to “Anubis” and its ear-worm of a chorus), that's a style of metal we rarely hear, I still feel like a 10 minutes epic heavy/doom track about Ra or whatever would had been great but that's just me!

Osiris, god of the afterlife!

The two guitars approach was the way to go, there's many subtleties so the double axes way was required. There's not a lot of super technical guitar solos not that they were needed, there's some like the start of “Slaying Apophis” but it's kept minimal, it's just great riffs after great riffs most of the time. The bass is also strong, especially in the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”esque break in the closing track “Destruction” (the album starts with “Creation” and ends with “Destruction”, it's fitting). Their vocals are thundering and freaking manly, quite powerful and particular, they add to the epic vibe the band is cultivating. Abraxas d'Ruckus has this classic, deep approach reminiscing of Danzig and I hope he sings without a shirt on! The band puts a lot of emphasis on the collaboration between the catchy vocal lines and the instrumentation, in the end, they really do fit well together.

Magister Templi is a top tier traditional metal and they're exactly how “true” metal should sound in 2015. It's not too cheesy nor rehashed and it has this classy distinguished feel (not as refined as Borrowed Time though but these guys were hard to beat). Ornamented by a beautiful and evocative artwork, you just can't ignore the mighty power of these guys. It's a required spin for trad metal fans.

Metantoine's Magickal Realm