When nearly half of your band includes key Svarttjern black metal misanthropes, a marriage of Pagan Altar and King Diamond‘s heavy metal Mercyful Fate-alism is not what you expect to burst forth from your speakers. And yet it does. 2013’s Lucifer Leviathan Logos proved itself a focused and determined exercise in groovy satanic malarkey and, two years on, it’s an album I still spin. When I heard rumours of a new Magister Templi album in the works, I felt a glimmer of excitement. The rumor mill indicated that Into Duat would put aside the band’s fixation on Crowley’s philosophy and instead turn to the myths and gods of Egyptian mythology with lyrical themes swaying almost drunkenly into the territory of blackened death titans like SepticFlesh. What good can possibly come of this?

“Creation” could just as easily have been written by Pagan Altar as Magister Templi. The track plays out like a curse being unleashed on the unsuspecting masses. The guitar work is as you’d expect from the altar boys were they to briefly collaborate with Candlemass, but woven throughout are convoluted breakout moments of Mercyful Fate worship. It’s a catchy track, vocals are the high point, but it doesn’t completely escape being dogged by a foreboding lack of memorability and the perception that it runs on about two minutes too long.

Around “Osiris” you’re given a larger than life helping of Abraxas d’Ruckus’ vocal talent. His unhinged delivery ends up being the highlight of this well-timed one-two punch and while at first it seems to gravitate towards a Powerwolf-style dramaturgy (minus the pomp and cheese), at some point the similarities to Tim Baker of Cirith Ungol shine through. There’s far more sermon, play on vocal intonation and interplay between the styles of Tim Baker and King Diamond, on Into Duat (“Osiris,” “Horus the Avenger,” “Anubis” and “Slaying Apophis”) than I remember on Lucifer Leviathan Logos. While these are the tracks I return to most often, I did eventually find them wearing. Sometimes less is more.

Magister Templi Into Duat 02Much like on Lucifer Leviathan Logos, from “Creation” right up until the close of “Destruction” you’re beaten almost religiously with more Mercyful Fate and Pagan Altar fanboyism than you know what to do with. This is both good and bad. On one hand it’s a fun mix of influences and by now Magister Templi have become quite adept at seamlessly blending them. On the other hand, if you want to hear either of these iconic bands, your first stop would probably be to go to their discography – think about it for a second: can Abraxas d’Ruckus really out king the King?

Into Duat has scattered moments that lead you to believe that Magister Templi are on to something big. There’s the catchy sloppiness of Satan’s Wrath that pops up in “Horus the Avenger,” the obvious tempo shifts and Manilla Road riffing in “Anubis” and “Sobek” and last but not least, the Candlemass “Dancing In The Temple (Of The Mad Queen Bee)” vibe that breaks through the patriotic drum and guitar expression in “Slaying Apophis.” Unfortunately, in spite of these hooks and the the larger-than-life production style used by Evil Octopus and Sorcerer studios, Into Duat still ends up being largely just forgettable.

Magister Templi‘s latest round of heavy metal worship falls a little short of its predecessor in stickiness, but what it lacks in that area it makes up for in enthusiasm. There are some good tracks here, but you’ll have to sift through filler like “Sobek” to get to them. I rather like the term “open-minded experience” used to label Into Duat. It’s fitting. To appreciate the fanboyism and the lack of lasting impression that these heavy metal merchants are peddling, you surely need an open mind.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Websites: magistertempli.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/magistertempli
Releases Worldwide: September 18th, 2015

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  • It’s not every day you hear Timmy Baker get mentioned.

    • True story.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Come to think of it, if the world was the place it should be, we’d hear of Tim Baker everyday.

  • Kronos

    That album cover is beautiful. Deathless much?

    • André Snyde Lopes

      My first thought as well. I wonder where all these doorways go.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Uh… I’m just going to say that the cover is throbbingly™ suggestive and leave it at that.

    • funeraldoombuggy

      Is it a skateboard or a snowboard?

  • Oberon

    I’m going to check this one out, simply because of the use of dramaturgy.

  • Wilhelm

    I really like the nostalgic sound of this embedded track. I’ll check it out further, thanks.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    I suppose I should hear this wilth all that Mercyful Fate/King Diamond name dropping. But you are right, NO ONE can out-King THE King.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      He’s not the man, he’s the king!

  • You wot m8?

    That embedded track has the very fuzziest of the fuzzy guitars. I’m imagining that their guitarist most likely wears a fuzzy scarf whilst recording, and drives the carpet-covered car from Dumb and Dumber. Just a thought.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      You made me laugh! I just pictured the car from Dumb and Dumber parked outside a club and the Magister Templi dudes unloading their gear for the gig.
      It´s likely the guitar player borrowed it from cousin Harry.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Too bad I can only upvote this once!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I’ve not heard these guys before. I do really like the dark well they draw from. I think I’ll go back to LLL first maybe.
    That Is some cool art too

    • The cover for LLL rocks.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        I always appreciate good art…not sure if I’m expressing this correctly but I find that an album with good art associated will enhance my listening experience by helping to establish an ambiance or atmosphere… Also, I appreciate good art because bad art shits me.

        • In my mind, if a band spends that little extra time really getting the album art right, they must have spent time getting their music and lyrics right also. I can relate to good art giving you a better more complete listening experience, I have the same experience.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            yes true it shows a degree of thought that you can as a starting point, presume will have been applied to the music as well.