Now You Know: Crypt SermonThursday, 20th March 2014
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Style: Epic doom metal of the non-filtered, and non-sludge variety
Personnel: Steve Jansson (guitar); James Lipczynski (guitar); Will Mellor (bass); Brooks Wilson (vocals); EES (drums).
Latest release: Demo MMXIII (Dark Descent)
Noble gentlemen they are, fighting upstream against the deluge of sludge-minded doom bands, Philadelphia’s Crypt Sermon are the clear-cut, unabashed definition of what an epic doom metal band should be. Easily digestible, melodic, emotive, and with the early 90s wares that will never grow old, the band’s three-song Demo MMXIII has quickly made the rounds in underground circles, grabbing the attention of quality indie Dark Descent, who released the demo as a cassette in late 2013. An excellent start for what is still a fledging act. But, let’s talk about how sludge metal rankles the true doom feathers so easily first…
“Well, metal is constantly evolving, as you very well know,” begins guitarist Steve Jansson. “If you were to tell someone ‘I like death metal’ back in 1991, then it was very clear as to what bands you were listening to as the genre was very new. If you said that now, it could mean anything from Asphyx to Dying Fetus or Spawn of Possession. All are technically death metal, but all extremely different. The pallet is so huge now and the same thing applies to doom metal; it’s been around for a long time and has evolved into many different sub-genres. Unfortunately, you can’t like everything and said sludge-related bands are definitely something that we are all sick to death of. It is annoying that these are the bands that come to mind when you mention doom, but hey, what can you do? Instead of bitching we figured we would try to offer something.”
Coincidentally, the impetus for the band’s formation stems from “being put to sleep by some shitty, riffless sludge band,” where upon Jansson and fellow guitarist James Lipcynzski decided to form a band that suited their taste in classic doom. After rounding out the rest of the lineup, the band got to work on some originals, and crafting a sound that isn’t reflective of the current doom landscape in America.
“We noticed that ‘doom’ has sort of exploded in the last few years, but that there weren’t any bands were trying to carry on the torch of incredible bands like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, or at least build upon and try to expand what they did,” says Jansson. “We couldn’t figure out why, so we decided to do something about it. That being said, we strive to make songs that are atmospheric, exciting, dynamic, loaded with varied and killer riffs, good lead playing and most importantly, great singing. These are things that make an epic doom band and while we are only a demo in, I would like to think we are off to a pretty good start in achieving these goals.”
Central to Crypt Sermon’s sound is the vocals of Wilson, who possess not only an expansive range, but the throaty conviction to unearth those bellows-from-the-soul needed to convey doom of the epic variety. Indeed he’s a bit of odd duck in the current American doom landscape…all the more reason for the band to express their enthusiasm – and relative surprise over having a vocalist of Wilson’s skills in the ranks.
“Man, we never in a million years thought that we would actually find someone who could pull it off,” enthuses Jansson. “We are all so happy with how he did on the demo and how he has been developing as a singer. He is doing an absolutely killer job. Of course, we were all stoked as well as relieved as hell since we would sound pretty fucking silly if there were death growls instead!”
The band’s recent deal with Dark Descent stemmed from Jansson’s and Mellor’s involvement with up-and-coming death metallers TrenchRot, who recently released their Necronomic Warfare debut on the label’s Unspeakable Axe imprint. As stated prior, the first release of this union is a cassette (yes, cassette) version of Demo MMXIII.
“I grew up on CDs and maybe had like five or six tapes in my youth, so no, no real nostalgia for me,” lends the guitarist. “Dark Descent offered to release it as a cassette which we were totally fine with seeing as they would move more of them through their promotion and distro then we would selling it ourselves.”
Jansson said he’s quite privy to the recent surge in cassette sales, as confounding as it may be. “Yes, and I can’t figure out why CDs have become such a dirty word as of late,” he wraps. “Tapes were a slightly less shitty 8-track which was created to make music portable since LPs are not. They were then replaced by CDs, which had all of the advantages of a tape, but sound better and don’t wear out after 20 listens. I don’t know, people fucking love them some tapes, man, and if they are willing to buy our music then I guess I can’t complain.”