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Saint Blasphemer is an alt-metal quartet from Santa Ana, California, led by vocalist and lyricist Thomas Monroe. The list of their influences, including Tool, Peter Gabriel, and Nirvana, indicate that their music all about pure and unadulterated passionate honesty. Their new EP, Simon Templar, is an emotionally tortuous concept album of sorts about the heroin epidemic in Orange County. The songs deal with seeing friends and family struggling to deal with addiction, as well as the effects it has on the community in general. It ties in directly to the band’s goal to help people feel like they aren’t the only one going through something.
Not all of the songs deal explicitly with this theme—“Scarecrow” is about the desire to return home, and “A Perfect Rose” is about unrequited love, but indirectly these songs correlate to this overarching feeling of hopelessness and desperation. But it’s the two bookends of the EP that most obviously fit in with the record’s theme. The darkly sinister “Nullify” centers around the perspective of the user, while the closer, “Breaking Just To Bend” flips this and comes from the voice of the observer. A concept like this is a heavy one to cover, and by no means easy, but Saint Blasphemer tackles the job with deftness and heart on Simon Templar.
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