The second full length album from Templar pushes this Australian band
beyond the boundaries of their first offerings. The first album was mainly an eighties
heavy metal record with some modern influences. It sounded like a Saint CD, with Josh
Kramer from that band singing the lead vocals in two songs. Dark Circus proves this
group can stand on their own feet. Though there are guest vocals, Templar singer Toad does
lead vocals in all songs. Musically a lot has changed as well. Gone are the Saint wannabe
tendencies. The band has a dirtier, heavier and more updated sound, incorporating heavier
metal subgenres like thrash. At the same time Dark Circus has poppier rock ingredients
too. The album also has a vocal variety that matches the new direction. The main vocal
input is melodic but raw. There are also screams you might expect in metalcore and the
kind of shouting you can hear in thrash metal. There are gang vocals. And there are
shrieks and grunts here as well. Sometimes the vocals are cleaner, less raw. It almost
sounds like too much to pull off. Listen to a cool song like Black Scar how they do it.
The tracks contains a lot of these different vocal styles and thrash elements. Speaking
about cool, a lot of their material has nice hooks and nice lead guitar playing. Check the
song Fatalism or the semi-ballad House Is Burning.
Templar is a band that likes to shock
and provoke: With their make-up and the bizarre way they dress (including an SS insignia
on a helmet), with the dark images in the booklet, but also with their lyrics. Take for
instances the title track: "Welcome to the Circus, welcome to the show, my name is
Mestema, come join my Puppet show. All you non believers, join my horror show. Coz I don't
want to burn in Hell, all on my own!" The lyrics contain a lot of social criticism
too, like the use of media and the influences of bankers on society. Read carefully to
find out what the band really wants to say.
With Dark Circus these Australians guys finally created their own sound. They've grown
and matured. The production is good. If you like melodic heavy metal, but are open to the
more aggressive subgenres, this is a an album you want to check out.