With nothing less than total domination on their minds, Florida based Dark Sermon are setting out with their latest offering, In Tongues, determined to stand apart from the “cookie cutter garbage and trend-following cretins who have overcrowded the scene”.
Conjuring a “fist raising melody of European death metal”, Dark Sermon aren’t the sort of band that do things by halves, refusing to care about what is seen as marketable or what sells and instead, standing by their desire to create heavy assed metal. With comparisons to the likes of Behemoth, Gojira, Job For A Cowboy and The Black Dahlia Murder already being drawn, Dark Sermon are “slicing and dicing their way through the most exciting elements of metal’s subgenres with relentless aggression”, laying waste to anyone who gets in their way.
As The Sheperd’s Staff launches In Tongues into being there’s one thought – god damn this is heavy! In your face and packed with distorted aggression, the opening moments here separate the men from the boys, crafting a sound that you’re either going to love, or are going to run away screaming from back to your mum. Managing to push the heaviness further and further throughout, tracks like Imperfect Contrition, Hounds and The Scales Of Justice pulsate out of the record, encouraging the listener to crank the volume ever higher whilst leaving them unsure as to whether the stereo is going to withstand the assault.
It’s when Cursed comes about that the full fury of Dark Sermon is realised though, with the Floridian unit revealing their true death metal colours as well as their affection for the aptly named NWOAHM. From guttural roars through to screaming vocals, down-tuned and distorted guitar lines through to rolling drums and pummelling bass – this track has it all. There’s simply no relief from the aural assault on hand, continuing to push the boundaries of raw power through The Tree Of New Life, another stand out track on the album. Packed with distorted power as well as a hauntingly beautiful softened guitar line, there doesn’t seem to be anything that Dark Sermon can’t turn their hand to (well….apart from say some One Direction manufactured shite!). As such, as title track In Tongues signals the conclusion of the album, it’s no surprise that my first thought was to hit rewind and go back through it all over again.
Death metal continues to divide audiences across the globe, with some swearing it’s the greatest of all of metals subgenres, and others claiming it’s simply too far – but Dark Sermon are different. Not accepting the confines laid down by some of their peers or the scene in general, Dark Sermon have managed to reignite the flame that once made death metal so exciting to hear, and with In Tongues, have managed to capture that essence, bottle it and offer it up for delectation, a taste that once you’ve tried, you’ll never forget.
Words: Dave Nicholls