Modern doom metal is somewhat of an enigma, as it has almost certainly evolved beyond the simple dark, bluesy origins of bands like Black Sabbath and Candlemass. Perhaps this is a good thing, as it is undeniable that the genre would grow stale if it simply fell into endlessly attempting to copy and worship its founders. However, sometimes, you find a band who wears the doom metal mantle proudly, and is able to emulate the genres founders, without treading backwards over what they have already done. Enter the world of Magister Templi, who have enough blues-driven doomy riffs and so-cheesy-they’re-fun Egyptian-themed lyrics to keep you coming back for at least a few repeated listens.
Truthfully, Magister Templi is not doing anything overly groundbreaking or genre defining, but simply treading on some familiar territory. However, there is nothing wrong with this, and nowhere is it stated in the official “Rules Of Good Music” that all music had to be the most experimental, complex thing you had ever heard. Magister Templi’s strength lies in the fact that they know exactly what they are, and what they are going for, and are perfectly content filling that role.
Now, as far as what to expect from Magister Templi, is, obviously, some fantastic, riff-filled, trad doom worship. Straight from track one “Creation,” the band lays into a thick, rhythmic bass groove perfectly matching the steady drumming and giving the guitarist(s?) some room to layer their own groove-tastic riffs over. The rest of the album proves no different, building steadily on that same formula, and, unfortunately deviating little, which is where Magister Templi begins to face some problems.
While it is not a problem to wear your influences on your sleeve and be considered somewhat “generic,” it does become a problem when the band slips into the overall “formula” of the genre too willingly. Tracks two through four fall into somewhat a repetitive rut, all sharing the same, sudden drop for some vocals into “watch us riff” type territory, and, ultimately, become hard to distinguish. Luckily, the fifth song in, “Anubis,” manages to help the band pull the record back on track a bit and once again show off their ability to write a solid trad doom song. From there, Magister Templi manage to get things somewhat back on track, but fall continuously into the same trap of recycling riffs, vocal patterns, and drum parts. At a certain point the record just seems to be very “been there, done that” and it is easy to skip tracks after hearing a riff or two that truly sets them apart before they slip back into repetition.
Ultimately, Magister Templi has a lot of potential to make a great record, and some truly great moments do shine through, such as the dramatic, chanting build up in “Destruction”, but fall too simply into the formula of trad doom to fully realize their potential. Perhaps one day they will, and then a truly kick ass, trad doom worship record will be released because of it, but, unfortunately, that day is not today, and they still have a long way to go before fully reaching that point.
Magister Templi’s Into Duat gets…