Of Golden Verse

When listening to the latest full-length from Sermon, I am reminded of a few bands. Namely Tool, Enslaved, and Soen. I used to be a huge Tool fan, but now just feel like they believe their shit doesn’t stink. I am still an Enslaved fan, but Soen doesn’t do it for me. Sermon does.

This review is going to be published long after the album has already been released, but I wanted to take my time with it, as everyone should. Simply put, I love Birth of the Marvellous, but for a while Of Golden Verse wasn’t connecting with me. When this happens, one can decide to write a hasty review or keep listening before jumping to conclusions. I didn’t have my mat with me, so that was impossible.

To begin, I was slightly intimidated, but not overly, considering the album is 10 songs and 49 minutes, which is about my limit. However, a song like “Royal,” quashed my apprehensions quickly. It has a rumble quite like earlier Tool before they overused it on every song since. It doesn’t hurt that the vocals are slightly reminiscent of Maynard. However, unlike current Tool, the build in this track is worth it and goes somewhere. Sorry, Tool. Maybe don’t wait 100 years to release a new album that’s a boring retread of everything else you’ve ever done.

I swear I’ll stop talking about that band and focus on Sermon because they deserve your attention. On the entire album, the production stands out as warm and clear, but it also has an analog feel. This is not easy to achieve, but every instrument has its place in the mix and can be heard.

This shines on “The Distance,” which is a slower track. The drumming stands out because of the excellent performance, but the soaring vocals are also the cream of the crop, or as the Wheel of Fortune iMac game in my 8th-grade science class said; “cream of the crap.” This is not to say the track has a slow crawl because there’s certainly a driving riff in there, but the highlight is the ending of this 6-minute monster, where it’s smooth, not quite isolated vocals as it fades out.

It’s so difficult to pick a standout track, as there are several, making for an enjoyable listening experience. The band, and by “band,” I mean duo, has done an excellent job crafting an album full of tracks with different flows and crescendos, ensuring it’s never boring. However, I will say perhaps my favorite is “Golden.” It has an eerie synth beginning, which isn’t distracting, nor does it last long. The vocal hook of “they weigh them down” is in the verses, but the chorus is a slight variation. It’s quite brilliant. If ever you thought the band didn’t riff, this track will prove you wrong as well. It’s quite brilliant.

As I mentioned previously, this album may take a while for it to get its hooks in you, much like the bands in the introduction. If you spend enough time with it, all of its brilliance will be revealed as one hell of a progressive metal album. In my correct opinion, there’s not a moment wasted, not a second of being let down. Not only does each track stand on its own, but together they make an excellent second offering, which I believe surpasses the first. Don’t sleep on this surefire AOTY contender.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
April 10th, 2023


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