The Templars

Reconquista 1994-1998

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Taking the jangly throb of '80s college rock, the aggressive political bent of the U.K. anarchist scene, and the rage of New York City hardcore punk, the Templars made a brief but interesting career out of blending their influences into a unique anomaly in the '90s punk scene. This is documented on Reconquista 1994-1998, a career retrospective that covers the infamous Oi! band from moment one to the end. Unlike many of their contemporaries, this takes little comfort in hooks or sped-up tempos, instead delivering a medium-paced assault that avoided the overwhelming sonics of most punk bands. In fact, the music here is hardly recognizable as punk if it weren't for the vocals, barely distorting the guitars at all and letting the natural ringing of the instruments carry the message. And the message was quite radical, offering brutal views of world politics that pull no punches and are emphasized by the gravel-throated growl of Carl Templar. He's the driving force behind the group, adding the element of charisma to the band's somewhat tempered sound. They may have been the finest American Oi! band to ever lace up a pair of combat boots, and this collection offers 15 examples of their lasting power in a genre that has very little support in the U.S.

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