Crypt Sermon is one of the many great bands from the Northeast that people are taking notice of. With two full length LPs already under their belt, this sextet really comes into their own with their newest record, The Stygian Rose.

Crypt Sermon is guitarist Steve Jansson (Daeva, Unrest), vocalist Brooks Wilson (Unrest), drummer Enrique Sagarnaga (Daeva, The Silver), guitarist Frank Chin (Daeva), bassist Matt Knox (Horrendous, The Silver), and keyboardist Tanner Anderson (Obsequiae, Majesties). Together, they form a tight unit that provides a wide breadth and depth of sound that’s going to make you recall epic doom bands like Candlemass, and Solitude Aeturnus, as well as contemporaries like Spirit Adrift and Khemmis.

The Stygian Rose opens with a brilliant song, “Glimmers in the Underworld.” Everything just comes together here. Massive riffs under sweepingly lustful leads. You can’t help but be taken in by this sweet elixir of sound right from the first few notes. Brooks, who no longer handles bass duties in the band, has his vocal right up there in the mix, unabashedly. It’s a stellar opener and makes you want much more.

Thankfully you get more greatness, immediately in the following song, “Thunder (Perfect Mind).” It features some lovely work on the keys for some enhanced nuance and texture. Layered vocals bring atmosphere and mystique. The keyboards, by the way, come back again in the beginnings of “Down in the Hollow” and on “Scrying Orb.” They remind you just a bit of the sounds some of us grew up on in the late 80s. For some of you younger folks, it might remind you more of Stranger Things.

“Heavy is the Crown of Bone” is just a stellar cut that has so much sound packed into to, but not in an overwhelming way. The track tells a story. As vocalist Brooks Wilson shares, “This song follows our unnamed protagonist summon an entity from ‘The Ars Goetia’ as he seeks sacred consummation with the Divine Feminine.”

I love the bass work by Matt Knox. I love the way the vocals sound as well as the overall phrasing. There’s an epic, majestic quality here and it’s not just this song, but really through the entire record. A very proper first single here that entices and makes you want to delve deeper into what Crypt Sermon has to offer.

“The Stygian Rose” is the final cut on the record. An 11+ minute opus that just so perfectly bring everything together. I particularly love the soloing at the end of the track.

Crypt Sermon has actually been around for a good number of years and all of their releases have definitely been solid. This particular record, however, is their strongest work to date. It feels the most complete, most nuanced, and the most balanced. There is a depth in the sound that brings this band’s work to the next level.

Regarding the process the band took this time around, drummer Enrique Sagarnaga tells us, “This is the most prepared our band has been, especially going into the studio. It’s about respect for each other’s time. We were more patient with one another regarding how we expressed musical ideas. We committed to practicing on a regular schedule—that was important. And as we get older, we hopefully have become better musicians.” I’d say, after a hefty number of listens, Enrique is completely on point here. This is their best record musically, sonically and in terms of song writing.

Beautifully produced, mixed and mastered by Arthur Rizk and engineered by Aidan Elias in Philadelphia, PA, the record has the potential to get Crypt Sermon filling larger venues with many more fans. The Stygian Rose is not only this band’s strongest work, it’s one of the top records of 2024 so far. This is a no-brainer first day buy if you still happen to be on the fence.

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