The duo craft a multi-faceted beast of many faces.
Words by Luis (@heaviestofart):
Beneath the mysterious enigma that is Sermon frontman Him is a mystifying musical palette, one that expands on moment's notice from one track to the next. This is the case for the band's sophomore album, Of Golden Verse. It arrived this past Friday, March 31st via Prosthetic Records and cements itself firmly among the best releases of the year so far.
Like the cover artwork it sports, it's bold and accessible yet riddled with intricate detail for those curious enough to bask in it. A notable highlight upon entering the album with the ceremonial The Great Marsh is that of the band's intentional use of melody and atmosphere, an enrapturing quality. Its transition into the galloping battle cry that is Royal is triumphant and downright spine-tingling as Him showcases the wide vocal range in the band's arsenal.
Hints of Katatonia and A Perfect Circle shine through as the band tread the line between instrumental aggression and vulnerable melancholy. Him's voice soars and pulls back when needed, like on Light the Witch, where sinister vocal lines are paired with a slow-burning passage that soon erupts into a Gojira-esque riff that speaks highly of the band's diverse structure.
One could loosely categorize Sermon as a progressive metal entity, and even then it only scratches the surface of what exists within its shape-shifting musical persona. Where Senescence excels in its elegant use of keys and Lawrence Jenner bass lines, Wake the Silent erupts into a thrill ride catapulted by crashes and double bass fury by way of James Stewart. Groove-laden riffs spiral as Him's screams propel track into an easy Of Golden Virtue standout alongside lead single Golden. An instrumental interlude, Centre, braces audiences for the black metal blasts that introduce Departure — a momentous closer that culminates this grand album in heavy fashion.
With a roster as eclectic as the one that Prosthetic Records sports, Sermon couldn't be more at home with Of Golden Verse standing tall amidst its progressive, forward-thinking contemporaries. 2019's Birth of the Marvellous put the band on many radars and Of Golden Verse continues an upwards trajectory just waiting to spiral into the passing of a threshold. This is one to revisit, time and time again, for it presents itself with a new face on every subsequent listen. Sermon have hit a compositional high to be celebrated, and that it will.
Of Golden Verse arrives March 31st via Prosthetic Records (Order).