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The Templars

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If a punk fan heard the Templars without knowing anything about their background, it would be perfectly logical for him to assume that they were from England. Comparable to Cock Sparrer and Reducers SF, the Templars favor an extremely British punk sound and are obviously great admirers of England's Oi! bands and pub rockers. But the Templars, who enjoy a relatively small yet enthusiastic following, are not based in London or Manchester — the band is actually based in New York. The Templars show no awareness of ‘90s/2000s emocore bands like blink-182, Fenix TX, the Sloppy Meateaters, and Green Day; their approach to punk is strictly old-school, and their stomping yet melodic work is a throwback to pioneering U.K. punk bands like the Clash, Sham 69, the Sex Pistols, the Damned, and the Buzzcocks. However, the Templars had been together seven years before they finally performed in Europe, and they had been together ten years when they played their first British gig — which is ironic when one considers how British they sound.

The Templars were formed in 1990 when singer/guitarist Carl Fritscher got together with drummer Phil Rigaud; bassist Perry Hardy didn't join until 1994. At first, Fritscher and Rigaud jammed together as a duo; it wasn't until 1992 that they added their first bassist (one of Hardy's predecessors), became a trio, and started playing live gigs. That year, the Templars recorded a cassette titled Pure Brickwall Oi!, and they soon gained a reputation for being a very British-sounding American band. In 1993, the Templars caught the attention of Sonic Aggression (a small label based in New England) and recorded a rare EP titled The Poor Knights of Acre; only about 600 copies were pressed, and the EP went out of print when Sonic Aggression folded. After that, the Templars went on to record for a variety of small independent labels, including TKO, New Blood, Dim, and Vulture Rock. In 1999, the Templars recorded The Horns of Hattin (a full-length album), for the Atlanta-based GMM Records, which has also released a Templars retrospective titled Reconquista: 1994-1998.

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