I have an almost sentimental connection to Crypt Sermon. The review for their first full-length record Out of the Garden came to this blog when I seriously started to contemplate continuing with this endeavor. And their album really did get me on this road of loads of work – and little reward.
Now, this – at that time – little-known band did show a lot of promise. An outfit that we thought would really start to shine further down the road with a little more action under their belt.
So, here we are, still active, and with this band’s newest 2019 album The Ruins of Fading Light. And it is with no small amount of trepidation that I let the first track roar out of our mighty music machine. Because you never know what you will find next. Right?
Crypt Sermon‘s Facebook page boasts influences as being – and I quote “Uncompromising, traditional Heavy Metal”. And that talks to me. I don’t quite know about the ‘traditional’ part. Because their brand of Heavy Metal seems to be a metallic, strangely doom-laden version of Heavy Rock. Which – besides – perfectly fits the overall soundscape the band presents. The Ruins of Fading Light delivers this meaty, heavy chunkiness that surely is not devoid of a certain allure.
Not only did they up the ante with an almost late Sabbath-esque riffing prowess, but the song structures are generally much more mature than on its older brethren. Brooks Wilson‘s vocals also got a pretty serious overhaul, with a no-nonsense, somewhat cocky quality to them that I found pretty tasty.
Then again, the band clearly follows the tracks of these new-age and clear-voice Doom Metal outfits like Khemmis, Fvneral Fvkk or King Goat with a tormented taste of Candlemass. So, begone you adepts of the Peaceville Records crowd and welcome abject crunchiness of these doomsters that join us from the US. With a much more artful collection of pretty high-end solos that come sprinkled all over them tracks.
I also really dig that trifle mysticism on Ruins. The one that reminds you of knightly endeavors in misty landscapes. Complete with the inevitable spaghetti war of faux sword fights on The Ninth Templar (Black Candle Flame). I am really not sure why on earth they all use these tired samples to spiff up their tracks.
On the other hand, Crypt Sermon serve those small portions of acoustics and fantasy that are pretty artfully done. But none of that overly bombastic fantasy metal garbage that other bands try to bludgeon you to death with, like Thor’s hammer gone haywire.
The RMR deck crew even forgave them horrors like Epochal Vestiges that just about sail clear of those pitch-black rocks of overladen bluster. And only, because it perfectly leads into the crusty, almost thrash-infused Christ is Dead. The one that solemnly sails into its realm of doom a little later.
Low-tempo, slow-marching, and fleshy beats really are the main pillar of quality on The Ruins of Fading Light. I guess we listened a gazillion times to delights like Our Reverend’s Grave. One of a few on Ruins that quietly pound you into that deathly dust that you must return to. In time.
If only Crypt Sermon would have paid attention to somewhat crisper song-writing, things would have been perfect. As it happens, some of the tracks sound like some sort of a roller-coaster with a few heavy loops too many. Also, the mix sometimes is a bit rusty and the master did not fix it. Which is a pity in a record with that much promise.
Yet finally, The Ruins of Fading Light delivers a piece of Doom and truly Heavy Metal that I can wholeheartedly recommend. A disc of real metal, made from pounding meaty beats, soaring guitar work on a bed of tastily arranged lyrics.
In a way, a perfect sophomore album and a feat well accomplished. We truly loved Ruins, and so will you.