On March 31st, melodic-melancholic-doom outfit Sermon will release their sophomore album, Of Golden Verse, via Prosthetic Records.
Sermon‘s Him comments: “‘Departure’ is the curtain call of the album. The final climax. It’s a tense topic that describes the horrifying moment between a victim and attacker, within a war crime.
“To match the subject, musically this is the most intense song on the album, and it could only live at the end. I had always had it in my head that I wanted to create a song where I could potentially make a blast beat listenable to an average listener. I had the melody for the vocal and guitar lead infecting my head for months. Always a good basis for a song, and I think if you take the blast away, it could almost be a pop song (in minor, of course). I’m sure this intent alone would make some metal fans recoil in horror, and that’s fine by me.
“James Stewart claims this might be his longest (and favourite) blast beat, which is quite something considering he was in Vader for 3 years. It was honestly magical to watch the take, for something that sounds like a hyper-speed flailing of limbs, the amount of control and precision that’s actually there is astounding and makes it all the more musical.
“So far, this song seems to be getting the most questions from people. For a band that gets frequently compared to Tool or Katatonia, I think this breaks us away from it and into a different musical space.” The previously released singles (“Golden” and “The Distance”) can be streamed here: https://lnk.to/Sermon – where Of Golden Verse can also be pre-ordered in various formats.
A beacon of iridescent musical light amid the torpid fog of modern life, Sermon blazed brightly but briefly when they released their debut album back in 2019. Led by the shadowy figurehead known only as Him, they blurred boundaries with the aptly titled Birth Of The Marvellous – which earned widespread acclaim and the effusive support of listeners around the world. But then, after a single live show at Prog In Park in Poland, there was only silence.
In the years between then and now, the world has become a darker, nastier place. Summoned from their slumbers for a second time, Him and his collaborators are back with an album that accurately encapsulates the mood of the moment. Recorded at Grindstone Studios under the legendary supervision of producer Scott Atkins, Of Golden Verse was entirely written by Him, but the new songs reached their final, immaculate state through a team effort. Him comments: “James is the other side of this. I’ll give him the demo of a whole album and the drums will be written, and he likes me to do that, but when we get in the studio, he makes his suggestions and it often becomes this whole other thing. It wouldn’t sound remotely the same with another drummer. Meanwhile, Scott is the George Martin of the piece. So really Sermon is a trio. I give them something that’s fairly well formed, it’s almost there, and they add into it because they’re far more skilled than I am.”
The resulting 10 tracks that make up Of Golden Verse are musically intense, dynamic – and often a startlingly heavy trawl down corridors of corruption and stairways of compromise. First single “Golden” is a stunning entry point to Sermon‘s reconfigured world; dense with melody and melancholy, it showcases the band’s expanded sonic vision, with lyrics that detail a slow, steady chipping away at the human spirit. There’s no question: Sermon has returned in 2023 with an imperious flourish.
Of Golden Verse track-listing:
1. The Great Marsh
3. Light the Witch
4. In Black
5. The Distance
7. Wake The Silent
Photo credit: Jack Snell