Review Summary: Overall, Crypt Sermon's debut has an excellent eye for detail and the solid songs keep their heads above the tides of the contemporary doom scene.
Doom metal still isn't likely to become a commercial juggernaut anytime soon but it has certainly become more prominent in recent years. The emphasis on slower tempos and riff-driven songwriting seem to appeal to music lovers both in and out of the metal community, but there are plenty of people who tire of the numerous Sleep and Electric Wizard clones shambling about. Philadelphia's own Crypt Sermon has its share of throwback elements but opts for a path less traveled on their full-length debut.
It is obvious from the get go that Crypt Sermon owes a huge debt to Candlemass but it is rather surreal to see how far they go to capture the elements of their idol's classic era. The vocals have more in common with Robert Lowe than Messiah Marcolin but the production similarly muffles the guitars and drums, slow riffs and sprawling choruses dominate throughout, speedy segments pop up on "Heavy Riders" and "Into The Holy of Holies," and even the cover painting looks like it could've been in the same series as the works that appeared on Nightfall through Tales of Creation.
The style is pulled off well but there are a few points that could be expanded with future efforts. Candlemass only had a handful of good production jobs over the course of their career and the muffled production doesn't do this band too many favors either. The vocals have a tendency of getting obscured and it's hard to tell if they need to be more operatic or just need to be brought out with a stronger mix.
Fortunately, the songwriting more than overcomes these minor flaws and clearly states why the Pennsylvania group deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as their Swedish predecessors. The opening "Temple Doors" sets the stage well with its foreboding atmosphere and the loose feel on "The Will of the Ancient Call" make it about as memorable. From there, the lyrics on "The Master's Bouquet" are a bit silly but the catchy vocal lines during the verses make it another worthy highlight.
Overall, Crypt Sermon's debut has an excellent eye for detail and the solid songs keep their heads above the tides of the contemporary doom scene. While some may be turned off by the production and reliance on that beloved Candlemass influence, their classy execution puts them well above most of their peers. One can hope that their future efforts will be presented in an even stronger fashion.
"The Will of the Ancient Call"
'Into the Holy of Holies"
"The Master's Bouquet"