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DEVIL | MAGISTER MUNDI XUM | THE NOBLE SAVAGE [RE-RELEASE]

DEVIL | MAGISTER MUNDI XUM | THE NOBLE SAVAGE [RE-RELEASE]

DOOM METAL | NES/ NORWAY

RE-RELEASED VIA SOUL SELLER RECORDS IN 2012

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Ghost and Electric Wizard have given birth to a bastard child, and its name is Devil. Doom metal with more than a hint of blues, the band’s cheerfully Satanic lyrics are capable of scaring your grandmother or a conservative church congregation – and not many others. But maybe that’s what they intended; they don’t seem to take themselves all that seriously, like many supposedly devil-worshipping bands. They seem to have fun just playing this music in the vein of Black Sabbath (as all doom metal bands do, in one way or another.) Driven by simple-yet-catchy guitar riffs and vocal melodies, their debut “Magister Mundi Xum/The Noble Savage” is just as any band’s first demo should be: raw, unpolished, and not of the best sound quality. (It seems to vary from track to track.)

The album begins with “The Arrival,” a two-minute intro consisting not of music, but sounds of a storm, a galloping horse, heartbeats, and other creepy noises before an ominous voice greets the traveler with “Good evening. I guess you’ve come to see the Devil?” Enter “At the Blacksmith’s,” a song whose blues-influenced riffs bring to mind Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy,” oddly enough, while telling the tale of riders of the apocalypse, forging weapons and killing traitors.The only song on the album to rival this one would be “The Noble Savage,” which combines doom, blues, and classic heavy metal in equal parts. Let’s not forget the bridge in “Time to Repent,” where cries of “witches of fire!” give way to a slow, doomy, effects-laden guitar solo.

However, these standout moments aren’t enough to make up for the album’s downfalls; singer Joakim Trangsrud fails to impress with his lackluster singing. Most of the tracks could certainly benefit from more energetic vocals, especially on “Spirit of the Cult,” and perhaps changing up the song structure once in a while. This album is no masterpiece, but given a bit of time, Devil may very well polish up their already-catchy sound and breathe some life into their songs. [6.5/10 – JESSICA RODGERS]