Australia's Templar give you music with plenty of ba**s, instrumentally and lyrically. I'm not one much for lyrics these days: suffice to say that more sensitive listeners may find these uncomfortable in their conspiratorial, revolutionary intensity and fascist overtones, but I would judge that most lovers of the heavy rock/metal musical style purveyed by the band would focus on the music.
And, listening, the music is a sheer delight. I would call this a straight, fast-tempo heavy rock/metal mix, perhaps naively given that the band themselves call it "darkwave/metal/electro/industrial". This pacey rock is cleverly infused throughout with news sound clips, many of which you will recognise, as a means of getting their message across: the clever thing is though, that unlike many albums on which you hear this done, Templar's incorporation is so skilful that the clips merge seamlessly with the music, becoming another instrument or a third vocal part almost – they become part of the soundscape.
Another highly enjoyable feature of Dark Circus was the interplay between the two vocalists; Toad (credited with vocals and screams!) and Dan Yohan (vocals and guitars). The combined vocals are a mix of normal singing (very good) and growling. It works fantastically in the context of this music and these lyrics; at times the two do a duet of growling, almost "in harmony" with the normal voice – very effective and theatrical.
But perhaps the most enjoyable feature of the whole album is Dan's guitar work: whether riffing – and he comes up with some catchy riffs – or playing lead lines, the guitar is mightily impressive!
The band line-up is completed by Sy Mon on drums and Rafael on bass and synthesizers. I have to say though that I really didn't pick up much on the synthesizers: there was a section of "Sweet Misery" where it came through clearly but otherwise the focus is very much on the powerhouse of the bass-drums, the guitar dominating and the vocals/soundclips theatre. This is the band's third outing on disc, following the EP Witch Hunt (2006) and a limited edition album CD Preaching to the Converted (2008).
Dark Circus is a very strong album that delivers a powerful message. Concentrating on the music, the listener experiences a clever infusion of studio wizardry and good old-fashioned heavy rock/metal with pace, rhythm, great songs, great guitar and great vocals. You want more?
By the way, be careful if you follow the MySpace's link to the band's supposed own website - my virus checker is warning me it's malicious. Enter at your peril.
1) Media Whore (0:38)
2) Dark Circus (5:46)
3) Institution (5:18)
4) Black Scar (3:54)
5) Apostates Regret (4:02)
6) Fatalism (3:29)
7) Sweet Misery (5:20)
8) House is Burning (4:14)
9) Greenback Nation (4:25)
10) New Years Revolution (5:40)
11) Dark Circus (reprise) (1:40)