Review of the Album: CRYPT SERMON – The Dark Rose

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Crypt Sermon is among the outstanding bands hailing from the Northeast that are gaining attention. With two complete albums already released, this group of six musicians truly shines with their latest album, The Stygian Rose.

Crypt Sermon comprises the guitarist Steve Jansson (Daeva, Unrest), vocalist Brooks Wilson (Unrest), drummer Enrique Sagarnaga (Daeva, The Silver), guitarist Frank Chin (Daeva), bassist Matt Knox (Horrendous, The Silver), and keyboardist Tanner Anderson (Obsequiae, Majesties). Together, they form a cohesive group that delivers a wide range and depth of sound that may remind you of legendary doom bands such as Candlemass, and Solitude Aeturnus, as well as modern bands like Spirit Adrift and Khemmis.

The album The Stygian Rose kicks off with an exceptional track, “Glimmers in the Underworld.” The combination of massive riffs and captivating guitar leads immediately draws you in. Brooks, who no longer plays the bass in the band, showcases his vocals prominently. It’s a fantastic opener that leaves you craving for more.

The next track, “Thunder (Perfect Mind),” impresses with its intricate keyboard work that adds depth and texture to the music. The layered vocals create an atmospheric and mysterious vibe. The keyboards make a return in the beginning of “Down in the Hollow” and “Scrying Orb,” reminiscent of the sounds from the late 80s. For some younger listeners, it might evoke memories of Stranger Things.

“Heavy is the Crown of Bone” is a standout track that packs a lot of energy without overwhelming the listener. The song narrates a story, with vocalist Brooks Wilson explaining, “This song follows our unnamed protagonist summon an entity from ‘The Ars Goetia’ as he seeks sacred consummation with the Divine Feminine.”

The bass work by Matt Knox stands out, along with the captivating vocals and overall musical phrasing. There’s an epic and grandiose quality that runs through the entire record. This song serves as an impressive first single that captivates and invites listeners to explore more of what Crypt Sermon has to offer.

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“The Stygian Rose” closes the album with an 11+ minute epic that beautifully ties everything together. The guitar solo towards the end of the track is particularly enchanting.

Crypt Sermon has been active for several years, and all their releases have been solid. However, this album stands out as their most impressive work to date. The sound is rich and complex, elevating the band’s work to a new level.

Drummer Enrique Sagarnaga sheds light on the band’s creative process this time around, stating, “This is the most prepared our band has been, especially going into the studio. It’s about respect for each other’s time. We were more patient with one another regarding how we expressed musical ideas. We committed to practicing on a regular schedule – that was crucial. And as we get older, we hopefully have become better musicians.” After numerous listens, it’s clear that Enrique’s assessment is spot-on. This album showcases their finest musical, sonic, and songwriting abilities.

Expertly produced, mixed, and mastered by Arthur Rizk and engineered by Aidan Elias in Philadelphia, PA, this album has the potential to attract a larger audience for Crypt Sermon. The Stygian Rose not only represents their best work but also stands as one of the standout albums of 2024 so far. It’s a must-have on its release day if you’re still undecided.

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