Deus VultPirates Press Records
By Cole Faulkner
You never know what you’re going to get when a long running band returns from periods of dormancy. It could be a totally new take on an old formula, a modest update to a familiar sound, or in the case of Long Island, New York Oi! band Templars, a return to business as usual. Twelve years is a long time regardless of how you slice it – heck, a baby born when the last album was released would now be on puberty’s doorstep. It may have been a while, but with the release of their sixth full length, Deus Vult, the Templars are clearly committed to keeping their style of old.
Deus Vult is a old school Oi! rocker for sure. The recording quality screams of early 90’s or even late 80’s DIY production. Vocalist Carl Fritscher belts at a forceful, washed out tone, and each shrilling riff feels punchy without sounding artificial. Think of how records used to sound before it was trendy to “remaster” them and up the volume on every square inch. Admittedly, it takes an adjustment period, because you’re probably just not accustomed to hearing music recorded this way, but a few tracks in and you should become acclimated. The band commits to their occultish themes of sacrifice and ritual that come from their medieval inspired namesake (the album opens with an extended scene from what must be an old movie’s take on the Knights Templar myth).
The bulk of the album takes on a tough as nails street punk-ish vibe often typical of classic Oi! troupes. For instance, “Kicking Down Your Door” drives the motto that “you’ve gotta fight for the right to live how you choose,” while “Propaganda” is the definition of a fast paced, rough and tumble Oi! anthem. Other highlights include examples of soaring but simple guitar solos residing in “Losing the Game” and “Middle Road.” They’re not over the top by any means, but definitely help define Deus Vult as a whole.
In the end, Templars’ return from dormancy is a return to familiarity. Deus Vult is born of decades past, and Templars revisit a now classic sound seldom heard outside of the past century. In that sense, Deus Vult is very much an album geared towards the old guard rather than today’s young guns. But either way, Templars are true to themselves, and have produced a natural addition to their ongoing legacy. The Oi! faithful will eat this up.