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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