The evolution of a band is something that most of us can comprehend through their musical output and live appearances and where most bands evolve quite publicly, there are some that build on their creations behind the scenes and the fruits of their labour are only heard when new music is released. Crypt Sermon are one such band, who came roaring out of the gate with Out of the Garden in 2015 and have been fairly quiet in the four and a half years since. Live shows are barely into double figures and the band have chosen to hone their craft in private, rather than play out their skills in front of an audience. For them, this mode of operation seems to have worked in their favour - for some bands being quiet for four years between albums and playing three or so shows a year is enough to have people to forget them, yet Crypt Sermon have kept enough mystery to entice and The Ruins of Fading Light is a record that’s been well worth the wait.
Beginning on “The Ninth Templar (Black Candle Flame),” the album sets out its manifesto early on - atmosphere is built through chiming bells, the sound of horses hooves and chanting that wouldn’t be out of place in medieval times. Crypt Sermon’s music is epic doom that mines history for inspiration, it takes from Bible stories (the religious elements found within The Ruins of Fading Light are myriad) and from the legends of the Knights Templar. The kind of doom this quintet produce fits perfectly with the lyrical themes and so The Ruins of Fading Light feels strong and cohesive throughout.
One of the highlights of The Ruins of Fading Light is definitely Brooks Wilson’s voice - it is fuller this time around, his lower registers are rich and the higher pitched vocals carry notes for what seems like days. “Key of Solomon,” then, allows Wilson to use his voice in many different ways and the song moves from low, doomier progressions to much higher power metal style vocals - the ease in which the transitions happen is sublime and it shows that the time Crypt Sermon has been away has been well spent. “Our Reverend’s Grave” brings another key moment into the record with a delicious grasp of melody feeding into the latter stages of the song and drum work that pushes the song forward with driving patterns and an understanding that sometimes, less is more.
The use of instrumental led intermissions lends a more cinematic feel to the record and gives the piece a greater overall narrative - “Enslave the Heathens,” especially - which serves to add dimension and pushes the band into ever more grandiose territory. Crypt Sermon have created an album with distinct texture and layers and have woven the fabric of history into a modern production that’s as slick as it is powerful. The Ruins of Fading Light may only be their second full-length but it’s a record that will see Crypt Sermon ascend their star into the heavens themselves.
8.5 / 10
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