‘Out Of The Garden’
Dark Descent Records
(Released: March 2015)
When God created doom metal – on the Eighth Day, after a hearty breakfast – this is surely what He Had in mind. Fans of Candlemass, even those wearying of the seemingly futile search for a band to fill the shoes of the Swedish epic doom legends, should pay attention. As should fans of Dio-era Sabbath – and if neither of the above definitions fits you, you need urgent psychiatric help. This crew, hailing from Philadelphia, a city better known for brotherly love than for glorious doom riffs, could be the answer to a lot of people’s prayers.
A few epic doom bands have flattered to deceive in recent times, with the likes of Below, Sorrows Path, Order Of Israfel and Aeonsgate simply trying too hard. But this is more like it: solid, heavy guitar tones, mountainous bass, hellish drums, dramatic-but-not-ludicrous vocals, top-quality songwriting throughout and big, memorable choruses.
You can feel the care and attention that has gone into crafting these songs, and savour the technically superb musicianship that underpins it all. Vitally, you can also enjoy the band’s innate ability to know when to stop adding, to know when a song is finished. Even the album’s artwork was painted by singer Brooks Wilson; a real labour of love. Having carved their teeth in other doom outfits, the members of Crypt Sermon have honed their skills to perfection. Tracks such as the enormous ‘Byzantium’ showcase a band that knows exactly what it is doing.
Reminiscent of Solitude Aeturnus as well as the scandalously overlooked German band Doomshine and UK metal monsters Age Of Taurus, this is consistently wonderful slowed-down heavy metal of the highest order. Epic doom is a surprisingly difficult trick to pull off, but there are a few bands who have managed to tick all the boxes in recent months. Puerto Rico’s DoomLord and Indianapolis’s Apostle Of Solitude both unveiled awesome albums towards the end of 2014. But Crypt Sermon’s extra class and elegance gives them the edge – just listen to ‘Into The Holy Of Holies’ and you will be utterly won over.
Crypt Sermon are not quite the perfect doom battalion just yet, and there are a few very minor flaws worth mentioning. There’s a slight lack of definition between some tracks, which means the energy level wanes as the album progresses. The hero homage can feel slightly blatant in places (eg. Dio-style “hmms” and “No light in paradise”), although of course it’s easily argued that this is a plus not a minus. The song ‘The Master’s Bouquet’ fades out too soon, while the album’s title track falls uncharacteristically short of brilliant when judged against their own high standards.
Crypt Sermon’s ‘Out Of The Garden’ is a triumphant debut; an album that sits alongside some of the finest recordings from any era of epic doom metal. This is an album you can explore and fall in love with, and an excitingly accomplished new band to keep a very close eye on.