Monday, April 8, 2013

Dark Sermon - In Tongues

I doubt Johnny Crowder would really remember my face, but I’ve seen him a handful of times at my part time job and I geeked out a little knowing he was in a metal band around my area. At the time his band was still called In Reference To A Sinking Ship, and they had had a pretty good presence in the Florida metal scene as far as being a solid opener for shows goes. Then they changed their name to Dark Sermon, which is admittedly less of a mouthful and still a great name (Honestly I’m not sure how that name wasn’t already taken, but it’s good for these guys), and then announced a debut full length. Shortly thereafter they got signed to eOne/Good Fight Records (and Nuclear Blast for Europe) and now here we are with the release of In Tongues. It’s been a hell of a year for these guys so far.

Dark Sermon’s influences are abundant; the easiest comparison being to that of The Black Dahlia Murder, with more of a deathcore focus. But you can hear hints of inspiration from the likes of Behemoth, Job For A Cowboy and All shall Perish. These guys have an excellent blend of melodic death metal, blackened death metal and deathcore heaviness.

The opening track, ‘The Shepard’s Staff’ sounds like something that you could find on a Black Dahlia Murder album from the drum patterns to the guitars riffing style, and especially when Crowder’s higher screams come in, the layering vocals sound incredibly similar to Trevor Strnads, which is a great thing in my book, although I’m happy that Crowder sticks to his lower growls more than anything because his voice is tremendous. The relentless blasting of noise doesn’t let up at all on this album. The drums really shine of this album though. Bryson St. Angelo does an absolutely killer job on this record, mixing more typical deathcore stylings, and technical death metal blasting to provide a strong background to the album.

Some might find that they took a little too heavily from their influences, in that what Dark Sermon is doing isn’t groundbreaking for the genre, but honestly if you can write an album in the confines of an already established genre, or an amalgamation of a few related genres, and make it this enjoyable you’re perfectly fine in my book. These guys take what they want from multiple genres and combine it into a well-crafted album with killer writing all throughout. For a debut album these guys have carved a really good place for themselves. They’ve got enough core influences to get the Whitechapel/Thy Art Is Murder crowd, and enough melodic death metal influences to grab the fans of Black Dahlia Murder and Job For A Cowboy.

In Tongues is not an album to be missed. It’s already been a strong year in metal and Dark Sermon is only making it better.

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