A beacon of iridescent musical light amid the torpid fog of modern life, Sermon blazed brightly but briefly when they released their debut album back in 2019. Led by the shadowy figurehead known only as Him, they blurred boundaries between forward-thinking progressive metal and something deeper, darker and more emotionally demanding. Aptly titled Birth Of The Marvellous, Sermon’s first foray garnered widespread acclaim and the effusive support of listeners around the world. But then, after a single live show at Prog In Park in Poland, there was only silence.
In the years between then and now, the world has become a darker, nastier place. Summoned from their slumbers for a second time, Him and his collaborators are back with an album that accurately encapsulates the mood of the moment. An intense, dynamic and often startlingly heavy trawl down corridors of corruption and stairways of compromise, Of Golden Verse is an even more devastating artistic statement than its predecessor.
If the first Sermon album was weighed down by grief and introspection, Of Golden Verse looks outward and recoils back in horror at mankind’s twisted morality. Even within the lush textures and hypnotic bombast of epics like ‘Royal’, ‘Senescence’ and ‘Departure’, a tangible sense of furious dismay pervades.
Sermon is composed of chief-songwriter Him and James Stewart (Decapitated / Vader) on drums, with album production handled by Scott Atkins.
Ahead of the album release through Prosthetic Records, we asked frontman Him to put together 3 releases that have influenced him a lot during his musical career.
Wovenhand – Refactory Obdurate
I think every Wovenhand album in someway informs Sermon albums. It’s David Eugene Edwards’ voice and its conviction (something I’ll try, and fall short, on replicating). In the later era of Wovenhand they’ve gone from pure folk to something a bit more rock and a bit more noise. Tumbling percussion and awash with airy guitars. That’s the Wovenhand way and that’s the Sermon way.
Soilwork – Verkligheten
In my old age I’ve found myself craving pure hooks. I don’t care about ‘challenging’ anymore, I just want my simple little brain to be satiated with anthems. Verkligheten provides.
I’ve known about Soilwork for many years and not actively listened to them especially, but this album did something to me. I’ve shown this album to people who don’t get ‘extreme’ music and they got this. I believe it’s because it pushes the needle on extremity and listenability, you’re always rewarded with a big chorus, while each song thoughtfully works into the next.
Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith
As mentioned above, I’m a hook junkie. Sweet syrupy riffs and lyrics, injected straight into my unworthy ears. Unlike the last Sermon record, which was a cry of grief, Of Golden Verse is much more bluntforce and I think because of my obsession with Defenders of the Faith and its ability to get you singing along, it rubbed off into some of the song writing. If only I could belt like Halford, I’d be a very happy man indeed.