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Magus Noctum - "Guardian Of The Desert"
Impaled Productions 2003

Finally, we are faced with the first full length recording by the unique Slovenian band, Magus Noctum. Coming from the capitol, Ljubljana, they have "tested" this album's contents many times in front of the live audiences - domestic and foreign. We are talking here about a band, whose presence grew from month to month - since their beginnings, they have managed to evolve in all aspects, developing a distinct sound and musical image that tends to linger in their audiences' memories. But is their studio product just as memorable?

Guardian of the Desert is an album that calls for attention from the very first moment. Desert? Not a very frequent protagonist in this genre of metal (generally speaking...). I mean, a "frozen tundra wasteland" does sometimes appear, but, generally, black metal of all sorts is stuck up north, mostly in forests, generally in snowy and frozen ones, and wolf - infested at that. Well, maybe the title of the album is no criterium quality - wise, but it certainly expresses a non - routined approach that the band in question has made their own. Good

Now for the real deal...musically, Guardian of the Desert is more than just a solid product. It's an unique creation, detailed and worth hearing. Originality goes hand in hand with dynamics and a wholesome approach to music here, setting Magus Noctum apart from the pile of cliché, disinteresting groups that flood the scene with below - average products. The tracks are varied in all aspects, at once easy to tell apart and recognizable, something, that became obvious in the band's live performances.

They have an unique character, creating a mystically - mythological atmosphere and managing to avoid the banalised, routine idiotisms that appear all to often with many other bands. The words come through on a mystical, personal level, making the songs "speak" to the listener, yet are of mythological proportions. Nice concepts too, well expressed, so, great job on that

And as with words, so with the tunes. Dynamic tracks with just the right amount of rhythm changes, a perfect balance of true, raw power and intricate atmospheric sections, sometimes a perfect harmony of both, it's all in there. You can't really get bored if you listen to this music. The raw sections are commendable - blasting, speedy drumming, roaring guitars and likewise vocals. But the atmospheric part is just special. With haunting themes on the keyboards and the interwoven spirit of the oriental melodies, carried also by the guitars, it's just so new - and it sounds bloody great I bet many other bands will kick themselves for not getting the idea first...well, too late.

The music supports the words, making the songs full and completed, the songs - individual though they are - create a totality, the atmosphere is everpresent, the final catharsis comes after the last of the album's 51 minutes and the original character of Magus Noctum is affirmed on their debut studio work. Congratulations and my regards upon this brave and creative release.

The only thing that slightly spoils the 100% mark on this one is the sound. The sound quality just doesn't let certain elements of the music shine as much as they would deserve to. Sometimes, the vocals or the keyboards are a bit hidden. Shame, 'cause the record is really good. It's just not fair that some "big" bands can afford perfect studio sound and make hollow, cheap - arse music, while Magus Noctum, whose music lives and breathes, don't get that "privilege". Hell, it should be the right of any band to get a decent studio, not just the boring, overpaid f**ks With proper sound, this'd be a MAJOR release worldwise. A true groundbreaker (musically, it's just that). Still, the sound isn't half as crappy as it was on the old Darkthrone stuff - and look where they got to. My advice is to grab this one while it's hot It's bound to go by "collector's item" prices later. And as a matter of fact, it is one already.

Author:   Ja¹a

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