As I write this I have a large spiky yellow bearded dragon sitting on my shoulder, it’s irrelevant but I thought it was worth mentioning because with my kickboxing girlfriend for a henchman (kinda’ like Bambi and Thumper rolled into one), my mohawk and my shoulder lizard I’m only an eyepatch away from being a Bond villain… But anyway, let’s get down to business (while my shark tank is being cleaned out)…
I’ve been following The Sonic Templars for a good few years now, through my WUTS days, my radio days and of course my mainstay work with NHC. They’re always a great band to see live, their performance and music never disappoints and I believe they all work really hard to maintain that, developing as they do, over the years.
I reviewed them alongside The Sneaky Russians at Pivo Pivo back in 2014 in my now infamous Clockwork Orange style Insectways review. Here’s a couple of my quotes from that long lost review;
“…ripping the joint to shreds with their crashing sound and boomin’ fuckin’ basslines – the likes of which I haven’t heard since Jacques Burnel! Basslines to make the Beatles blush, dirty, growling, grinding fuckers”
“The drums are so heavy they might as well be playing on my eardrums; I get that warming, tingling sensation through my auricles that I always love…. I can feel this band destroying the minuscule hairs in the shells of my ears, costing me my hearing when I’m an octogenarian no doubt – just the way I like it! Every member of this group is a master of his weapon!”
“Heavy, mixed up exquisitely with transcending melodies, dreamily-delivered, having a knack to know when to deliver nebulous nectar and when to knock it into the nether regions of your neocortex.”
As you can see, I was a much more creative writer back then, before journalism destroyed that side, haha. And there is a few more large paragraphs of that kind of thing, so suffice to say I was impressed. So where are they now? Well, I hold in my hands a copy of their new ‘Ascension’ EP, and I slide it into the disk drawer, crack a beer and light a joint…
Air raid sirens announce the arrival of The Sonic Templars like Armageddon, and the music that flows in doesn’t disappoint, hard-edged, dark, emotive and encapsulating. Stewart’s voice marrying perfectly with the heavy apocalyptic sound that bursts forth from the speakers and manifests itself as explosive imagery before your eyes. There’s so much more to the Templars than meets they eye, they are a hugely talented alloying of musicians that come together tightly to form a glorious soundscape, ‘Porcupine’ (aptly named, as before I even looked at the title they had reminded me of a sorta’ Mars Volta meets Porcupine Tree style sound) is, to put it in the vernacular, a fucking belter of an opening track!
I spoke to Stewart and he says, and this is not an exact quote, ‘it’s the fact that the band have so many different likes persuasions and bents when it comes to music, that the Templar sound is pulled in different directions’. Sometimes this might spoil a band, but not in the case of these guys, the individual contributions create an excellent end product – driven, hard-hitting and technically sound.
The Sonic Templars are not afraid to rock out and that’s definitely a good thing, because it gives the music the attitude it needs to carry it along its myriad progressive pathways. Onstage they always seem to have a good time and that reciprocates to the crowd. They have a deep and dramatic sound but they also know when to slow it down and also when to really fucking kick it flaming out of the park and into the ether.
Their fanbase grows and grows and their sound gets stronger and stronger as they go, not afraid to draw influence from any musical perspective. I went to see them at their EP launch on 5th August and they were as tight, impressive and aggressive as ever, with their new material marking their ascension, pun intended.
Also that night I discovered Spleen, who were fucking awesome. Showing off some truly talented musical skills between the bass, drums and guitar, I was so astounded by it, it glued me to the spot with a mint choc chip white Russian in each hand for the duration of their set… Highly recommend you see them live.
You definitely must see the Sonic Templars though, and they are on tour and are doing a special unlplugged set at the NHC store on 17th September so I expect to see you there, with the fanbase of the band and NHC and the Gonzo Division and Raze The Roof (The Chicken Movement) all converging on it it’s sure to be a packed out picaresque* party . See you there!
*Damn right we’re sharp-witted vagabonds! Join us on our adventures…
Originally published September 5th 2016 on NHC Music, view that here: