Friday, March 8, 2013

John Zorn: Templars - In Sacred Blood (Tzadik, 2012) ****


Sometimes, at the end of a stressful day (or at the end of a week of round ups), you are longing for purification. It has to be simple, raw, and genuine. What else could be better than a decent dose of John Zorn’s Moonchild project, his super group consisting of Mike Patton (vocals), Trevor Dunn (bass) and Joey Baron (drums)? Like on previous albums the band is augmented by an additional musician – here John Medeski on organ, which gives the songs a much darker and gloomier atmosphere compared to the previous album “Ipsissimus” (with Marc Ribot on guitar). And there is another development: Zorn wanted to have wordless vocals for Patton on the early albums (Moonchild - Songs Without Words), but started to add at least some words on Crucible and ends up here with fragments of French, Latin and English. The result is a true hardcore album, Zorn reveals his love for speed metal bands like Napalm Death again, which only makes sense in this context.

The Knights Templar was an order established by the Catholic Church in 1129 and became something like an elite troop during the crusades combining ideals of knighthood and monks. From the very beginning their history was connected with horrible battles, innovative financial practices, the creation of legends, conspiracy theories and violence (especially connected around their dissolution in 1312 when many of them were tortured and burned allegedly for worshipping Baphomet/Satan).

“Templars – In Sacred Blood” provides everything you expect, especially Mike Patton shows what a great vocalist he is. Supported by a crude musical mixture of wild metal breaks (“Templi Secretum”), obscure bass lines (“Evocation of Baphomet”, “Libera Me”), Gregorian chants (“Murder of the Magician”) and prog rock (“Secret Ceremony”) Patton provides spoken word narratives, on-top-of-his-voice screaming and shouting, baritone murmurs, or mysterious whispers.
Great fun!

You can listen to “Templi Secretum” here: 




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