Review: Saint Blasphemer “Simon Templar”


This is Saint Blasphemer.

A moody, dark, grungy rock unit from Santa Barbara, CA.

The band rides the edge between Alice in Chains-like heroin drifts and aggressive Tool-ish confrontations. This has been captured on the 5-song EP, “Simon Templar” that dropped in October of 2016.


While staking out the hard rock territory with some easy to spot influences, there is a solid polish on this release, making most of these tracks something popular radio might pick up on in the way Stone Temple Pilots managed to crack the grunge code to mainstream success. There are a few moments that shine a light on the potential that this band might evolve into, even while showing some rough edges that suggest Saint Blasphemer doesn’t have the road-work logged in to lock down unto something truly indestructible. Most songs swirl around addiction and the alienation and the loss that breeds. One can feel the subject matter is coming from a source of experience when singer Thomas Monroe digs down throughout the “Simon Templar” release, which lends a much needed sense of credibility to this developing unit.

The opener ‘Nullify’ flashes with edgy rolls laced into charge and retreat volumes that create a proper tension to the angsty delivery.

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‘Scarecrow’ shows up half-way through as one of the more combative numbers. Although the track dominates with a louder intent, Saint Blasphemer has the ability to control their tempos to maximum effect. This allows single songs to contain a wider dynamic while still staying true to the rock ethic that pumps through the heart of this group.

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‘A Perfect Rose’ is the only miss on this release, showing the limitations of singer Thomas Monroe. To be fair, he challenges his range constantly, while still attempting to bring some passion to the vocals. At times, his whine can be an endearing trait, in less defining moments, slightly off putting and bordering on cringe-worthy. But they have an interesting quality, and coupled with the aforementioned risk taking with his tones, cadence and effects, I’d rather hear somebody throw their heart into it and miss than try to always color within the lines. Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction is a classic example of a vocalist who took their own unique path and became a legend. Monroe is no Perry Ferrell, but he is something… different. And in musical currency, that is worth a lot.

As much can be said for their motivation to create music. The band comments: “Remember when you were a kid, how a song could make you feel like you weren’t the only one going through something? Our goal is to make music that can do that for other people.”

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Google is a weird thing…

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