Formed in 2008, this young Norwegian crew issued a popular demo and EP on the road to recording this, their debut album. More or less from the same Scandinavian school that brought us recent sensations such as Portrait and In Solitude, Magister Templi owe their allegiance to the arcane and occult spirit of classic 80s metal.
Coming on like the doomy end of the NWOBHM (Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General) battling fantasy-obsessed US metal (Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol) to the sound of the first Candlemass record, it’s serious stuff. The frequent tempo changes recall Mercyful Fate at their mercurial best, and guitar duo Patriark and Baphomet clearly hold Fate axemen Michael Denner and Hank Shermann in high regard.
Against this epic backdrop, vocalist Abraxas d’Ruckus warbles in cod-operatic style, his tales of mystery and magic delivered with Shakespearian gusto. The album sags a bit in the middle and concludes in anti-climactic fashion, but overall this is a strong debut.