Magister Templi
Into Duat

I learned a long time ago that taking labels like “occult heavy metal” seriously missed the point. Except for the hood and robe crowd putting the music second to their image and dogma, countless bands have enjoyed great success embracing the supernatural imagery so often associated with metal without ever taking themselves too seriously. A handful, however, have written and recorded impressive albums reflecting decidedly non-mainstream passions and beliefs while never proselytizing for any particular point of view. The Norwegian five piece Magister Templi’s new album from Cruz Del Sur Music entitled Into Duat embodies that approach. The band’s sophomore album follows their full length debut, Lucifer Leviathan Logos, with a thematic pivot. The songwriting shifts its focus from offering musical interpretations of Aleister Crowley’s writing to finding its inspiration in Egyptian mythology.

It’s an album brimming with grandiloquent melodies, expansive textures, and crushing guitars. “Creation” lives up to its title. One of the band’s two guitars thunders in fragmented, distorted phrases while the other weaves an equally spare melodic line over the top. When Magister Templi shifts into the main body of the song, the tempo spikes and the band locks into a garrote-tight riff that grabs listeners by the throat. The improbably named Abraxas d’Ruckus has genuine vocal chops and a clean style that never strains for effect. There’s a surprising bluesy gravitas in his tone, but the notable quality is the complimentary power he brings to Templi’s music.

“Lord of the Morning” begins in a similar fashion to “Creation”. The mid-tempo intro ends much sooner here, however, and Templi leaps headlong into fury less than a minute in. Their romping power steamrolls any chance of distraction – it’s difficult, if not impossible, to turn your attention away from such inflamed riffing. They further impress thanks to their ability, studio work or not, to hold this fearsome juggernaut together for over five minutes. “Osiris” is a much more theatrical work than the preceding two tracks, but there’s no slight in observing it. Instead, it brings added drama to the songwriting and the performing vehicle it provides obviously inspires the band. D’Ruckus unleashes a deep, unbroken howl near the minute forty-five mark guaranteed to bring at least a few more non-believers into the fold.

“Horus the Avenger” is another riffing showcase and closer in approach to the opening songs than the preceding one. It begins with some of Templi’s fractured quasi-doom guitar work before firing away into another snarling sensory assault. The song’s extended instrumental break rampages through a dizzying array of tempo changes. The delicately eerie guitar duet opening “Anubis” lasts long enough to provide a perfect intro for one of the album’s best mid-tempo tracks. It’s a quality seldom appreciated in the genre, but Templi’s lyrical content has strong storytelling qualities and some literary flair. “Sobek” plays like it’s much more direct and stripped back than earlier songs and takes the album in yet another interesting direction. The real star of the track is drummer Grimdun. His nimble and remarkably steady performance behind the kit is clearly an under-recognized band strength.

There’s no preamble with “Slaying Apophis”. The track comes blasting out of the speakers with incredible velocity and much more dominant lead guitar work than we’re used to hearing so soon. Templi shows off more even more diversity with the inclusion of simple backing vocals, but it’s more of the band’s furious riffing that will undoubtedly linger largest in listener’s memories. The band accomplishes two things with the final song, “Destruction”. They managed to slot in a final track that reaffirms the album’s strong suits while still pushing ahead into new territory. Their second key accomplishment is writing such an appropriate ending. The extended vocal passage accompanied by nothing but bass, the acoustic guitar intro, and mournfully beautiful lead guitar near the song’s conclusion are new to Into Duat’s sonic palette, but succeed wildly.

This is a bruising musical workout intent on testing your endurance, but equally intent on not letting go. Magister Templi rarely lets up from the first note on and plays every track like a band with something to prove. If they did owe us anything, we have it now.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jason Hillenburg
September 11th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Ace Barker

    This album KICKS ALL TYPES OF ASS!!!! CHECK IT OUT!!!!


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