Sunday, March 22, 2015

Crypt Sermon - Out of the Garden

Eating my hat

It's sort of well documented that I don't care much for doom.  This isn't anything personal towards the bands that play it, I just generally prefer faster, more energetic music.  Perhaps this is why I prefer the "epic doom" style over the traditional Sabbath worship.  Sure, Sabbath is one of the all time greats and you'll find me spinning their 70s material just as much as any self respecting metal fan, but bands that try to evoke that occult atmosphere based in heavy, bluesy metal riffs just rarely reach the intended effect, whereas the bands like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus reach for something far greater.  Crypt Sermon follows more in their footsteps than the whole occult psychedoomic "let's just try to be Coven" sound that's gotten so popular lately, and as a result they spend less time grounded in reality and more time amongst the clouds, looking down as the peasants till the fields and the nobles diddle kids.  There's a very ancient, regal sound to Out of the Garden that just commands respect from every corner.

Crypt Sermon's approach to metal here is very classy and respectable, and it carries itself like a revered crusader.  You grew up listening to legends of Crypt Sermon, and then when you finally see them, you just stand in starstruck awe.  The old adage of "tune low, play slow" doesn't hold much water here, though they do indeed do both of those things.  There's a lot of thought and care that went into crafting these songs, as nearly every riff feels like something that was sculpted out of hours and hours in a sweaty, hazy practice space.  Nothing feels like a jam that they just wound up noodling with and recording, nor does anything sound like it was written down on paper and then copied and practiced meticulously.  No, instead this all sounds very organic, like a mixture between the two.  Somebody thought of a riff and the band all worked together to tweak it to their pleasure.  As a result, every track is lovingly crafted with a healthy dose of twists and turns, with a beefy spine of weighty riffs.

The vocals are also fantastic as well, as it really needs to be with bands like this that are far more about substance than style.  There isn't any showboating to be found here (though I would argue that the main riff that comes about a minute and a half into "Into the Holy of Holies" is really flashy, based entirely on the fact that holy shit it's like the best riff I've heard all decade), and despite the skill of the clean, powerful vocals and the majestic riff writing and evocative guitar soloing, nobody tries to take center stage.  This works like the Boston Bruins when they're at their best.  There's no clear star on that team, everybody uses their talents as one cohesive team and creates something unstoppable.

I can't gush enough about how much I love "Into the Holy of Holies", which is basically a modern reimagining of the Solitude Aeturnus classic, "Seeds of the Desolate", but no other songs fall short of "great".  I find myself sort of mentally checking out during the stretch of songs preceding the obvious epic, but tracks like "Temple Doors", "Heavy Riders", and the title track all stand out as masterclasses in songwriting.  The riff writing is deceptively complex and the hauntingly huge vocals work together seamlessly.  I can't really go on forever about this because it can be pretty accurately summed up by saying "classic epic doom with a strong roots in the dirt", which admittedly is probably a dumb metaphor that only makes sense to me.  What I mean is that it takes the slow to mid paced lumbering-Ent riffs of Trouble and the soaring, majestic fretwork of Candlemass to create a very strong, wholly riff based experience, with the bonus intangibles of a mystical atmosphere layered over the top.  I can throw vague superlatives on this all day, but just know that this is meaty, beefy doom with a fantastic atmosphere on top, and that's all you need.  Plus, it's a Dark Descent release!  So maybe they should just stick to doom, since I'd take one Crypt Sermon over fifty Thantifaxaths.

RATING - 89%

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