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Magister Templi - "Into Duat" (CD)

Magister Templi - "Into Duat" CD cover image

"Into Duat" track listing:

1. Creation
2. The Lord of the Morning
3. Osiris
4. Horus the Avenger
5. Anubis
6. Sobek
7. Slaying Apophis
8. Destruction

Reviewed by on August 3, 2015

"Fans of traditional metal and Egyptian mythology can’t go wrong with this one."

Cruz del Sur Records has released stellar albums by such band as Pharaoh, Slough Feg, Twisted Tower Dire and King Heavy, so when I saw their imprint on Magister Templi’s “Into Duat” I knew this would be special. There is something magical about bands recreating or attempting to recreate the sounds of ancient Egypt. Nile has made a career out of mixing death metal with Egyptian scales. Iron Maiden enthralled its listeners with the song “Powerslave.” Now Magister Templi gives us a lesson in Egyptian mythology with “Into Duat,” which means the realm of Osiris.

Iron Maiden is a good comparison band not just because of penning a classic ode to Egypt but also because Magister Templi’s style recalls old school metal. Tracks such as “Slaying Apophis” bear close resemblance to Maiden in parts. Vocalist Abraxas d'Ruckus and the band’s quasi-doom sound also brings to mind Manilla Road. Although the group started fully entrenched in the sounds of doom metal, the 7” vinyl “Nyarlathotep / Anubis” showed Magister Templi step away from that sound and begin to develop what would become “Into Duat,” which taps into traditional metal. Still, there are some great slow riffs found in songs such as “Creation” and “The Lord of the Morning.”

Magister Templi really shines in the guitars: Baphomet and Patriark work together to create memorable riffs of the Egyptian sort. They make these sounds known from the album’s first struck chord on “Creation.” These enchanting sounds soon entwine with mid-paced chugging metal chords, thus forging the band’s formula for metallurgy. The Egyptian theme doesn’t change, but rather the band builds the riff through speed, with“Sobek” featuring interesting gallops.

“Destruction” is one of the most dynamic songs on the album. It begins with another Egyptian theme played on an acoustic guitar, which also finds another form when sped up. Also of note on this track around the 1:30 mark Akoman plays an isolated bass line that conjures the spirit of Iron Maiden’s “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.” What an epic song, indeed.

While the music in itself is enough to plant visions of pyramids, deserts and mummies in our brains, we would not get the full stories without Abraxas’ soaring narrations. He pays homage to the god of the underworld, Osiris, the falcon-headed Horus, the jackal-headed god of the underworld Anubis and the serpent foe of Ra, Apophis. It’s not just what is being said, though, it’s how it’s said. Here is where the Manilla Road comparisons mostly come in. Abraxas sings with power and conviction, showing an ability to hang on to a note for a good deal of time. He gives his best performance on “Horus the Avenger” where he holds the word “avenger.” Abraxas also receives helps from his band mates on gang chorus lines as heard on “Anubis” and “Osiris.”

Fans of underground metal from the ‘80s will have no problem with the production, but I feel it is the album’s low point due to its murky quality. A cleaner production would result in a higher rating for this writer. Still, a 4/5 marks this album as something worth checking out. The album is chalked full of catchy rhythms and the vocals are powerful. The fact that these tales can be deciphered through the vocals also says a lot, as a lyric sheet is not necessary when paying close attention. Fans of traditional metal and Egyptian mythology can’t go wrong with this one.

Highs: The Egyptian guitar harmonies

Lows: Murky production values

Bottom line: A fun Egyptian-themed metal listen from beginning to end.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)