Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

An extremely solid debut - 85%

SlayTheDragon, May 9th, 2013

Dark Sermon are a fantastic new band from Tampa, Florida, that formed in 2009, previously under the name 'In Reference to a Sinking Ship.' In terms of their musical style, the best way I could describe would be Behemoth covering The Black Dahlia Murder. With this great stylistic mix they've created what I consider to be a contender for album of the year; certainly this would be my pick for debut album of the year.

The entire album is utterly relentless and brutally heavy, with this thoroughly dark atmosphere that is pervasive on every track on the album. Technical, down-tuned, twin guitar leads thrash out some incredible riffs that are clearly inspired by albums like Behemoth's 'Demigod', as well as producing some exceptional guitar solos, particularly on the eponymous track 'In Tongues.' I will post the video for that song below. The guitarists (Neal and Austin, I think) definitely deserve serious props for their performances on this album as the guitarwork on songs like 'The Scales of Justice,' 'Forfeit I: The Crooked Quill,' and 'In Tongues' is dazzling. The drumming is also phenomenal; keeping in time but at the same laying down a relentless assault on the ears. One suggestion to the band: drop the breakdowns entirely! They're rare in this album, and they don't stick out like a sore thumb on like on many deathcore albums, but they're unnecessary and sometimes take away from the momentum they have going.

The vocals are also a very strong aspects of this album, in my opinion. It's hard to pin down exactly what sort of genre the stylings are pulled from, but vocalist Johnny Crowded does an exceptional job of providing vocals that are not only varied in range and solid in delivery, but also sounding raw and heavy. He definitely has his own style, and I would say that he does a good job of adding a somewhat 'core' (and I use that word in the best possible sense) side to an otherwise death metal vocal style, at times reminding me of Trevor Strnad from TBDM but with more emphasis on a mid-range bellow.

It's not all perfect. Sometimes, on tracks like 'Carcass' and 'Testament', although still solid and I enjoy listening to them when the album comes to them, one does get the feeling of 'I've heard this before.' They tread a fine line between consistency and sameness. On songs like 'In Tongues,' 'Forfeit I: The Crooked Quill,' and the particularly interesting track 'The Tree of New Life' which genuinely would not have seemed totally out of place on Behemoth's 'Demigod,' they do show a good amount of variety though, so I would argue you should listen to the album to decide for yourself.

Overall, though not a perfect album, this is by far and away one of the most solid debut albums I have ever heard. Dark Sermon combine some of my favourite elements from bands like Behemoth, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Job For a Cowboy to create a stunningly brutal, relentlessly heavy monster of an album, never sacrificing technicality for heaviness and sidestepping with ease the tropes that so often plague the deathcore genre. This is an extremely solid debut album and I really hope that this band continues to improve on this winning formula.