CRYPT SERMON – The Stygian Rose

CRYPT SERMON – The Stygian Rose
Dark Descent Records
Released Year:
1. Glimmers in the Underworld2. Thunder (Perfect Mind)3. Down in the Hollow4. Heavy is the Crown of Bone5. Scrying Orb6. The Stygian Rose

“I wanted that addictive feeling you had when you listened to records as a teenager.”

This had been the essential goal that guitarist Steve Jansson set about CRYPT SERMON’s new album, “The Stygian Rose”.

Well, the band certainly managed to create that certain feeling with their debut, the astonishing “Out of the Garden” (2015) and for most of their fans, they repeated the deed with their sophomore album, “The Ruins of Fading Light” (2019).

Six whole years have passed since then and the band returns more determined than ever to prove their burgeoning musical and conceptual prowess. Taking into consideration the pandemic global turmoil, no time has been wasted, since they started working on new material in late 2022.

“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.” says Enrique Sagarnaga.

What kind of ideas, one may wonder.

“We feel unrestrained now!” singer Brooks Wilson says. “We thought, if the word ‘epic’ in doom metal means anything, it’s without constraint. What’s more vast than being unconstrained?”

So, doom metal but epic in an unconventional way – this sounds really interesting!

“There’s a lot of variety on the album, and I think that’s not just because we get bored easily -which we do, actually- but rather this is who we are.” Sagarnaga continues.

“We wanted ‘The Stygian Rose’ to scratch a lot of itches that aren’t being scratched.” adds Jansson. “That’s my goal when I make music. I want to make things that I don’t hear other people doing or at least don’t hear others doing all in one package.”

Obviously, there were some changes in the way the band desired to express themselves musically in this third album of theirs, but there weren’t many changes in the line-up; Brooks Wilson is still delivering his amazing vocals, Steve Jansson and Frank Chin once more create a marvelous guitar duo, Enrique Sagarnaga remains great behind the drum kit, while new members, Matt Knox (HORENDOUS, THE SILVER) on bass and Tanner Anderson (OBSEQUIAE, MAJESTIES) on keyboards, complete perfectly the Philadelphia-based sextet.

What we eventually hear in “The Stygian Rose” is a masterful transcending from traditional epic doom in the vein of CANDLEMASS and SOLITUDE AETURNUS, EVANGELIST, BLACK OATH and CAPILLA ARDIENTE, towards more sharp and powerful sound with hints of MORGANA LEFAY, SAVATAGE and later-era SORCERER. It kind of reminded me of STYGIAN CROWN’s stylistic evolution from their debut to the much more intriguing “Funeral for A King”.

“We knew we wanted an aggressive sound” singer Brooks Wilson says. “Like ‘Black album’ or ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ with loud smashing rock drums. The guitars had to be aggressive and loud. The bass had to be tuned in more than on our previous albums. The bass had to be clean and deep. We were generally after a more clean, distinct, and audible production. ‘The Stygian Rose’ has way more depth than anything we’ve done before.”

We had the opportunity to witness the first sample of the enthralling, dark concept of the album while watching the first video clip, made for “Heavy is the Crown of Bone”, a song of massive, imposing rhythm and crazy guitar solos, remarkably combined with melody and dramatic, gutty vocals.

“This song follows our unnamed protagonist summon an entity from the ‘The Ars Goetia’ as he seeks sacred consummation with the Divine Feminine” explains Wilson.

The agonizing journey of this mostly desperate character begins with “Glimmers in the Underworld”, an eight-minutes long opening track that sets the mood for the whole album; doom grandeur that causes pure awe is developed with the finest guitar duo – heart-piercing riffs and mellow bridges are all here, together with pounding yet soulful drumming and strikingly good bass work, blowing the listener away from the very start!

“Thunder (Perfect Mind)” showcases some evocative Near Eastern vibes that sneakily continue in “Down in the Hollow”, an eerie tour-de-force, mystical and at the same time overwhelming by its power.

Just before the curtain falls, the slower and less heavy “Scrying Orb” resembles the modern shock rock sound of GHOST, yet I found it being my least favorite song of the album. However, when it comes to the eleven-minutes title track that closes the “The Stygian Rose”, there’s only the absolute THRILL of the DARKEST and EPICEST DOOM to feel; this breath-taking opus provides the undeniable evidence that THIS third release of CRYPT SERMON, is their great level-up moment!

“The Stygian Rose” will be released on June 14th by Dark Descent, on all formats, CD, LP, CS and digital.

Check the discussion about the album in our forum pages.

You can pre order all formats here.

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