Released: 2015, Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
If, upon hearing the words 'Norwegian metal band' you immediately assume that said band must be black metal (such is the country's dominance over the genre) then you may need to rethink that conclusion: meet Magister Templi, an 'occult old school heavy metal band' (according to their Facebook bio). Starting life in 2008 as a doom metal band, they released an EP (Iao Sabao! In 2012), a full length (Lucifer Leviathan Logos in 2013) and a 7” (Nyarlathotep/Anubis in 2014), at first focussing almost exclusively on the philosophy of occultist Aleister Crowley. Slowly however, another rich seam of material was crystallising: Egyptian mythology (as can be seen in the B side of their 7”). Enter album number two, Into Duat ('Duat' is the realm of the god Osiris), due for release on September 4th, 2015.
Opening track 'Creation', with its long intro and moody vibe, definitely proves that MT's doom heritage is still very much a part of their sound. There are also aspects of their newer, more traditional metal sound present too, particularly in the vocals and the old-school gallop in the song's second half. The result is interesting and really rather majestic.
In fact, one can almost hear the evolution of the band's sound on this album. From the doom-laden tones of the aforementioned track, as well as on 'The Lord of the Morning' (although the instrumental and outro are pure trad metal), to the fifty/fifty split of doom and classic metal of lead single 'Slaying Anubis', all 'woah-oh' choruses and a fantastic riff throughout, and final number 'Destruction' with its choral (Egyptian) segment and sparse yet stinging guitar solo, all the way to the pure metal vibe of 'Horus the Avenger', which sounds a bit like a slowed-down 'Can I Play With Madness?' and contains a blistering guitar solo. It's clear that this is a band in a state of flux: not in a bad way, by any means, as the combination of genres creates an intriguing sound. And while there may still be 'doom', there certainly is no 'gloom': check out the theatrical (and a tad hammy) 'Osiris', with it's Evil Scarecrow-like spoken word sections...they sound like they were having a hoot recording it!
Black metal may forever be the dominant genre of Norwegian metal (indeed, two of MT's members also play in Svarttjern) but bands such as Magister Templi are clearly hoping to make inroads into tipping the balance. And while the thought of a classic metal band coming from Norway may seem a little jarring – particularly one such as this, with one foot squarely in their previous doom metal past – Magister Templi are in fact a joy to listen to. Passionate, refreshing and beguiling, they will turn your idea of Norwegian metal on its head in the best possible way.
Review by Melanie Brehaut