When I was asked to review this 2009 release by Templar titled “Dark Circus” I was pretty ecstatic as their previous albums, including “Witch Hunt” and “Preaching To The Perverted” (which featured Josh Kramer from Saint on a few songs) reminded me somewhat of White Zombie and Rob Zombie, Scum of the Earth, and the Genitorturers with an Industrial Metal feel to them.
So, I popped the CD in (well, actually I ripped the CD to my iPod), and clicked Play, and the first song, “Media Whore”, was pretty much status quo with samples, synths and voice-overs. This song discusses how the media is controlling us and is about 38 seconds in length.
Then, Dark Circus kicked off, with carnival music sampling, then the guitar kicked in. Thirty seconds into the song and I knew this was a metal song, not industrial metal. At 1:20 into the song, I knew this song had thrash metal influences and was much heavier than previous Templar albums. The lyrical content of this song talks about the show being free and they giving all that you desire during the show and will give you an eternity, but at the end they own your soul for all of eternity. This is one to bang your head to, with a great guitar solo, some blast beats, and thrashing riffs to mosh to.
Institution features Demon 69 (from Temple of Wrath), and again is another headbanging song. No industrial metal here. Great guitar riffs, the rythym section is solid, and has a nu-metal Disturbed vibe to it. The lyrics talk about how the singer is in a mental institution, and all they’re doing is pumping him full of killer drugs, which is driving him even further to the edge of insanity. The singer then asks what crime did I commit to deserve this treatment.. The sample talks about a mentally retarded person not being safe, but drugging them to keep them from getting into trouble and everyone safe…. This song features yet another very good guitar solo near the end of the song.
Black Scar uses samples as well, but once the guitars, bass and drums kick in the song is a heavy headbanging masterpiece! The chorus is melodic and instead of screaming Toad actually sings. This song kicks into thrash mode. The lyrics seem to deal with drug addition, specifically heroin or something in which a needle is used. The guitar solo on this one is my favorite on the entire CD while everyone is thrashing in the background.
Apostates Regret begins with just an acoustic guitar and Toad singing. I would consider this one of the lighter songs on the CD, a nu-metal ballad possibly? Very melodic, clean guitars and very clean melodic guitar solo, tight rhythm section, towards the end of the song it gets heavier. Another great song. It is amazing to see how far along Templar’s song writing has come since their first EP. The second guitar solo just rocks, reminds me of Oz Fox of Stryper style of playing.
Fatalism is a song about abortion. The song is another straight up hard rocker in the nu-metal vein. Very melodic, with good harmonies throughout. The middle section of the song starts thrashing, with samples thrown in, then slows down for another great guitar solo. Dan Yohann has really stepped up his guitar playing on this CD.
Sweet Misery is a song about the effects of artificial sweeteners on our bodies and how they can slowly kill us. The song starts out somewhat industrial (nominally), but then kicks into a great opening rhythm on the guitar and drums, then the bass and guitar play together with keys and drums in the background. When the main song kicks off, again it’s a hard rocking metal tune. This song has a sing-a-long chorus, very memorable! No guitar solo on this one, but as far as the choruses go, this one is the most memorable, and probably the most melodic song on the CD. This song reminds me a bit of the Murderdolls.
House Is Burning starts off with Mr. Rogers singing “It’s a good feeling to know you’re alive”. Then the music kicks in. This is another slower, ballad type song about the singer and his friends and their house burning down. This song contains some great lead guitar as work, as well as bass and drum work as well by Rafael and Sy Mon, respectfully. Toad can really sing and has a good voice when he sings, plus he is a good screamer as well.
Greenback Natioin is another almost thrashing metal tune. The guitar riffs are something you’d hear from Metallica or even Megadeth. The song is about a 1 world economy and 1 world nation, and how we’d rather have “greenbacks” instead of microchips or credit cards, and we don’t need the IMF or the IDA secret society, or the UN, to tell us how to live. This song deals with the way the current world is heading, which is part of biblical prophecy. The guitar solo again is very melodic yet shreds on this song. The song ends with “Bankers are vermin, Bankers are scum, Bankers try to control everyone. Bankers are detritus on the sewer floor, see them smile as they eat the poor!” The gang vocals singing this in the background are by none other than Dave Kilgallon, Todd Kilgallon, and Simon Hoggett from Scourged Flesh.
Great heavy metal song that reminds me of Metallica (Black album) or Megadeth.
New Years Revolution is a song about anarchy. Anarchy against the anti-Christ and his rule on this earth. This song is a straight up thrash metal song, with a few samplings spread throughout. The guitar solo on this song just shreds, if you are into guitar solos then you’ll love it! The guitar solo is by Jason Euphoria from the Jason Euphoria Project. This is the heaviest song on the CD, and is my personal favorite song on this CD.
Dark Circus (reprise) is the last song on the CD, and is a shortened “remix” version of Dark Circus, including synths, digital drums, and the only song on the CD that sounds industrial or old-school Templar.
The CD is professionally produced and the mix sounds great whether in my home stereo, my iPhone, iPod, or car stereo system with Bose speakers. The packaging is very professional as well, with cardboard digipack foldout (four cards front and back) filled with photos, artwork, credits,, etc. This is an “enhanced CD”, meaning that here is a video clip on the CD (Windows Media format). They lyrics are also on the CD in a PDF file, complete with illustrations and images to match each song. Very high quality, nicely produced stuff here! The one thing that baffles me about the packaging is that on the front cover, there is a “Parental ADVISORY Explicit Content”. I searched through the lyrics, watch the video, reviewed all of the pictures and artwork, and personally I didn’t see anything that I would consider “explicit”. Maybe I am missing something, or maybe it is a ploy to get rebellious teenagers to buy it? I’m not quite sure.
Overall, I recommend this one as a purchase. If you want the video clip and cool lyric sheet, then I suggest purchasing the physical CD if still available. If you don’t care about the video clip (or you’ll just catch it on YouTube), then the digital download will be just fine for you.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Written by Thrasher777 (Brian)
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)