(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Tampa’s Dark Sermon.)
Metalcore is a pretty dead venue for the most part at this point. When the majority of a genre has resorted to knocking off elements from djent in order to maintain any credibility, you know your style is knee-deep in irrelevancy. That’s why I’m surprised by the debut of Dark Sermon, called In Tongues.
Dark Sermon are a sinister, ravaging band. Heavy influence taken from The Black Dahlia Murder, Bleeding Through, and At the Gates manifests itself in a sound that definitely comes off more early/mid 2000’s. The riffs are technical, dark, and draped in an old-school Swedish overcoat, drawing strength from the darker melodic bands of that scene, such as the aforementioned At the Gates, old Arch Enemy, and even Carcass. The vocals of frontman Johnny Crowder fall between a John Pettibone (of Himsa fame) bark and Trevor Strnad-styled high-pitched shrieks.
“The Shepard’s Staff” wastes no time in establishing the modus operandi of these guys: pedal-point riffing in the Gothenburg tradition accompanied by artillery fire in the form of blast beats and over-saturations of double bass.
This album is nothing but high-speed melodic butchery, unrelenting and steadfast. The general intensity with which the music is conveyed is ludicrously intense, combined to good effect with the rough-as-nails, unpolished mix courtesy of Eyal Levi of Daath fame. This album is chock full of riffs, in spades, and packed with dual-guitar harmonies, elegant solos, and skyscraper-splitting breakdowns that, to reference my earlier comparison, really channel Bleeding Through.
This is essential listening for this year; it’ll remind you of the glory days of the more brutal side of metalcore. A very impressive debut by these guys, and I think if they keep going this way, they’ll turn out to be something very special.