Crypt Sermon – The Stygian Rose

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Having made a name for themselves in the past years, the Philadelphia doom metal act Crypt Sermon took the epic elements of bands such as Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass and molded them into an exceptional sound. Heavy, well-paced and crushing, there is something strongly reminiscent of classic doom metal bands here. The latest full-length album 'Stygian Rose' is out via Dark Descent Records since 14th June 2024. Crypt Sermon is all about the quality and the musical talents of drummer Enrique Sagarnaga, guitarists Steve Jannson and Frank Chin, bassist Matt Knox and keyboardist Tanner Anderson are all at their peak.

The third album is truly majestic: be it the thundering riffs, the tempo variation or the crooning vocals of Brooks Wilson. The scarcity of doom metal bands today heralds a significant step to the sextet in maintaining a regal splendor. Their plodding doom pace with the crucial soloing and lead guitars strike like a lightning bolt. The commanding riffs allow the reverb effect to change dynamically. The opening song ‘Glimmers in the Underworld’ combines pounding chugs that display the grit of top-notch style.

Brooks Wilson’s vocals carve out an epic flair and somehow the music moves at an soaring style. The songs are mostly textured with melodies, but they also have plenty of crushing paces. The drums, however, are plodding and they are perfectly emphasized on ‘Thunder (Perfect Mind)’. The riffs seem to waltz off the cryptic walls, echoing the double bass and the keyboards which are fittingly integrated to create an ominous gloomy mood. Sometimes the slow momentum of the song captures every subtle variation of the melodic guitar lines.

It’s an epic album that blends the pathos of classic doom metal with the grandeur of U.S. and Swedish operandi. It’s impossible not to be awed by the soaring majesty of the vocals and the heavy striking riffs or the elegant touch of the keyboards.

The songs are well-crafted and the guitar work is excellent, the songs are played mostly at up-tempo. On this album, Crypt Sermon renders a performance filled with rhythmic reverie. The lead guitars of Steve Jannson would immediately cast a spell on the listener amidst all the moments of grandeur and the slow momentum makes every minute sublime. The inspirational motif of the sextet remains dark and genuine due to the superb rhythm guitar arrangements of Frank Chin. For example, the tenebrous keyboard intro on ‘Down in Hollow’ is atmospheric and ghastly.

The melodic embellishment of the leads unfurl the cohesive dynamics: those slow doomy hooks create a whole atmosphere and befit the band’s trademark. The song length is epic and the riffs are immense and powerful in their gloriousness. Crypt Sermon deeply imbibes from the roots of 80s and 90s doom metal as they convey a true spirit. The slow guitar chords and the layered vocals in the chorus are fragments of such sublimity. Then come the pounding heavy chugs backed by the beating drums.

The wickedness of the swelling riffs on ‘Heavy is the Crown of Bone’ sways somber rhythms. The singing approach does add heaviness to this five-minute cut, the beating cymbals and the drums stand out. There is also a dark gothic fantasy that seems to be embedded in the song, from the haunting synth to the massive guitar tone. The air of bewitchment conjures mystery and darkness from the biblical themes. Therefore, the synth is perfectly balanced with powerful and crushingly heavy riffs.

The riffs are carefully crafted on ‘Scyring Orb’ which imbues an aura of dark medieval ages that combines two styles of 80s gothic and doom metal. With the synth conveying a sense of dread, the music gives you a perception of some desolate nightmarish realm. The wafting bass guitar of Matt Knox shimmers through trudging doomy riffs. The flawlessness of the composition creates a brooding atmosphere as the guitar unfolds some incredible soloing work. The riffs exude an ancient aura as a result of the interplay of the guitars and the keyboards in the background. The songwriting is influenced by power metal acts like Fates Warning and traditional doom bands like Black Sabbath’s Tony Martin era, Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus.

The keyboards have a pivotal role in shaping the songs, Tanner Anderson brings a unique flavor to these songs. However in the closing track ‘The Stygian Rose’ the guitars crush: the heavy tone and the pounding percussion of Enrique Sagarnaga deliver an epic and ominous shade of gloom and doom. This eleven-minute cut sums everything together in a thrilling, captivating and foreboding quality that can be easily regarded as a masterwork from the sextet. The loud eruption of the thundering riffs provides a perfectly rhythmic and percussive backing. Despite all its splendor, I still somehow prefer the sophomore ‘The Ruins of Fading Light’ but this doesn’t mean that the new album lacks any quality.


  • Music / Songwriting 10/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 10/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 8/10

‘Stygian Rose’ is an atmospheric, dark, and brooding album, finely crafted to a world-class standard that will impress many fans of traditional doom metal. This is an essential release from the U.S. sextet.


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