Crypt Sermon are the second doom-oriented band with a new debut release named Demo MMXIII that I’m reviewing today (the first was by Temple of Void). This is a new project, and I know only a small amount of information about them: By snooping around I’ve learned that they are from Philadelphia, the membership apparently includes Steve Jansson (Infiltrator, Grass, Trench Rot), Brooks Wilson (Grass), and James L. (Labyrinthine), among others, and the demo was mastered by Chris Grigg (Woe).
I’ll say up-front that the demo is an Exception To the Rule around here — no howls, growls, guttural vomiting, or hair-raising shrieks on this release. But the clean vocals — whoever is doing them — are definitely one of this demo’s strengths. The music is strong in many other respects as well.
The three songs are an offering of traditional doom — the kind of music that put me in mind of Candlemass, Saint Vitus, and The Gates of Slumber — but less theatrical than some of the music from the bands I just name-dropped. I will also say up front that I have never been a die-hard fan of any of those bands, yet Crypt Sermon struck a chord, and twanged it really hard.
The mainly mid-paced music is anchored by huge, burly, infectious riffs and a bone-breaking rhythm section, and the dark melodies are as hook-filled as they are atmospheric. Each song also features screaming, white-hot guitar solos that light up the music like phosphorus flares. I’m especially digging the long one that ends the last track, “Whore of Babylon”.
Back to the vocals: They’re really strong, with some grit and pleasing vibrato in the works along with soul. The vocalist also has the capacity to elevate, like flames that have been fed a fresh cord of wood.
Whoever contributed to the production (in addition to Chris Grigg) should also congratulate themselves, because the songs sound great.
Listen below, and go HERE to get a free download of the demo (I hear through the grapevine that it is eventually going to get a tape pressing from Dark Descent). Crypt Sermon have a relatively new Facebook page at this location (not much information there yet, but a way to follow what happens next in this project).