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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