Crypt Sermon started out as a four-piece Philadelphia-based Doom Metal group that has been gaining plenty of headway within the underground. The initial line-up consisted of Unrest colleagues Brooks Wilson (Trenchrot) on bass and Steve Jansson (Infiltrator( on guitar, as well as guitarist James Lipczynski (strong>Labyrinthine) and a man known as Reek or, in this case, EES (Ashenvult, ex-Coffin Dust) on drums. In 2013, the band issued Demo MMXIII digitally through their Bandcamp account, which was picked up for a cassette pressing by Dark Descent Records in early 2014, the same year that saw Brooks step down as bassist to helm vocals, thus introducing Will Mellor (Hivelords) to the mix. Officially signed to Dark Descent as a five-piece, we are given their debut full-length effort, Out of the Garden, for an early 2015 release. But is it one really worth checking out, or is it not even worth a second glance?

Out of the Garden winds up a rich, yet surprisingly intimate sounding release. The crisp production and mastering values are simply top notch, accentuating every instrument with the proper levels necessary to not drown one another out. This also helps to make sure you can tell the guitars apart given how subtle the difference can sometimes be outside the mid-range tone of the bass guitar. While this sounds like a rather digital release as far as clarity and power of distortions and tuning goes, all of which vary between mildly sharpened to deep rumbling when given the chance, there's no denying a warm, slightly hazy presence in the mix, often reaching grand levels, all while coupled with the secluded darkness common to the Occult Rock genre of today. All of this works to show off shades of Candlemass, My Dying Bride, even Solitude Aeturnus influence throughout the recording that still manages to remain unique enough to stand out.

"Temple Doors" establishes that epic tone quite well in the resonating guitars and slower, echoing drums. The environment sounds a bit chilly despite some of the desert-themed lyrics, but the powerful vocal range of slightly nasal singing to rougher emphasis matches the dimly lit terrain perfectly. This is especially powerful heading into the more melodic riffs and stronger bass kick presence, the latter thanks to a an increase in speed before and after the solo approaching the five minute mark. The strength of this composition is really only comparable to "Into the Holy of Holies", which starts off epic enough through lonely acoustic notes and background ritualistic vocal harmonies that set up a little extra melody to Middle Eastern laced Doom Metal guitarwork. However, the deeper in you get, the more nods to Dio you will happen on, an influence that comes through from time to time throughout the album. On this track in particular, it all starts about four minutes in, as well as a subtle hint of Folk influence just prior that may last only moments, but is a super compliment to what it leads into.

While Out of the Garden has some catchy material hat traverses the likes of Metal and Rock, it also has its share of incredibly gloomy cuts. "Byzantium" trudges along, introducing a truly depressing atmosphere, as if walking along the ledge of some kind of sea-based port, mourning a lost love as the waves, represented by the cymbals, crash against the walls below you, enticing you to jump in and be swept away. This is easily one of the most miserable, not to mention memorable performances of the release, though "Heavy Riders" does share some similarities. While the pace remains slow, the performance itself starts off commanding, yet, in a way, largely dismal to the point where hopelessness sets in as the music creeps to a funeral crawl complete with a ringing church bell around three minutes in. It's just after this passage the song takes on more of a basic Crossover Thrash Metal approach, utilizing a simple two-step to the drums against a noticeable increase in speed to make banging your head along impossible before crashing back to the slow tempo once more.

All in all, Out of the Garden is a nicely varied Doom Metal offering. Crypt Sermon manages to create audio landscapes ranging between beautifully epic and soul crushingly bleak with absolute ease, leaving you with seven naturally flowing performances that channel gods of the style, all the while effortlessly leaving a signature mark behind that will have you coming back for more. If you're new to this style, or even consider yourself an aficionado on all things Doom related, Out of the Garden is a memorable opus that can fit just about any moment in time you may want to happen to go on a vivid musical adventure.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.