Album Review :
Templar - Dark Circus

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Band: Templar

Title: Dark Circus

Label: YoungSide Records

Release Date: 2009

Review By: Scott L

Tracklisting:

  1. Media Whore
  2. Dark Circus
  3. Institution
  4. Black Scar
  5. Apostates Regret
  6. Fatalism
  7. Sweet Misery
  8. House Is Burning
  9. Greenback Nation
  10. New Years Revolution
  11. Dark Circus (Reprise)

I can only assume that the cover model that graces the front, back, and interior of this CD’s packaging is meant to be the embodiment of the intro track’s title… “Media Whore”. That somehow the whole fishnet stockings, stitches, mistress make-over, and one pupil-less eye thing is the representation of our current pop culture’s dark side… the evil fascination that swirls through the unwashed throngs of humanity weaving it’s web of confusion and deception. Or something like that, anyway. Maybe I should ask Dale from Metal Pulse Radio… yeah, this was another gift from him. Helping me to expand my horizons.

Templar is a 4-piece out of Perth, Australia that starts off playing some nice heavy music that brings to mind such bands as Darkest Hour, As I Lay Dying, and Winter Solstice. The problem I found was that these guys kinda mellow out over the course of the CD… ending up somewhere around Blessed By A Broken Heart or even Seven System. Winding it’s way through a wealth of audio samples and television snippets, Templar grinds out 11 tracks on “Dark Circus”. Well, 10 if you don’t count the 38 second intro. Judging solely from the cover, I thought that this CD was gonna be gothic rock. So I was pleasantly surprised to find it pretty straight forward metal. Well, straight forward metal that ends up as more modern rock down the stretch. Granted, the CD picks back up towards the end and the last track, “Dark Circus (Reprise)”, ends the CD with a bang. But the stretch between tracks 5 and 8, right in the middle, kind of bogs things down. These songs are good songs, don’t get me wrong… but to pack them all in back to back to back to back was, in my humble opinion, a mistake because it looses continuity.

Lyrically, as the name may imply, Templar is a bit on the conspiratorial side at times… but not all the time. Actually, they talk less about secret societies, governmental cover ups, and world bank funded global power brokers than I thought they would. But that’s cool, because Templar doesn’t pull too many punches even if they rarely step onto the soapbox. Although, I have to say that for all of the stands they take and for all of the questions that they ask… they don’t offer much in the way of answers. It’s kind of a ‘here’s what’s wrong with the world… the end’ kinda deal. Which to me was a let down. Consider the song “Fatalism” which says “was it meant to be / or was it just meant to happen to me / did the precious find a place to hide away / if we can’t fix it / why we have to destroy it / and just what does it make us now / when we stand before ourselves / did we save them at all from a fate worse than death / did we sentence them all to a cage we call life / no choice / no say / no relief / and no conscience”. Full marks for fearlessly calling out corruption and evil, but why shy away from the solution?

I feel obligated to note that someone received credit in the liner notes for “Cursing on Sweet Misery”. Dale mentioned that in the U.S. released version there was something removed, but he didn’t elaborate. On several specific listen throughs of that song, I didn’t hear any cursing… although the samples at the beginning were a little obscured. If you’ve spent much time on this site, you know my take on swearing… so I’ll leave it at that.

The standout track for me was “Institution”. I don’t know where this Demon 69 guest vocalist came from, but in spite a cheesy name… the guy can flat out sing. I had to avoid listening to this song in my car for fear of speeding tickets. This song picks you up and throws you around. Good stuff.

Overall: Templar’s “Dark Circus” is a surprisingly good release. I honestly didn’t think that I’d enjoy it nearly as much as I did. My only real beef is that the album’s flow suffers from the song placement. That and the fact that I could have lived without seeing that wack-job of a cover model… but she does make the point. So, if you’re into the hard stuff and a change up here and there… give Templar a listen. At least, the U.S. release. Peace.

www.myspace.com/templarmuzic

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