Interview: Crypt Sermon

We’re very glad to have the opportunity to present you an interview with Brooks Wilson, vocalist of epic doom metal band Crypt Sermon. If you don’t know this amazing quintet from Philadelphia yet, you definitely have to check them out.

Hi Brooks, how are you doing? How are you dealing with the current situation? Did the pandemic destroy a lot of your plans with Crypt Sermon?

Brooks Wilson: Personally, I am fine. I am back at work for about 6 months now, and things are going ok. During the shutdown in our area, Crypt Sermon got a new practice space, wrote some new tunes, and some of us focused on solo music. James released a project called Bone Spirit and I released a project called Dark Vestige. As for our plans, the pandemic absolutely derailed everything that was coming up for us in 2020. This included a short European tour and several other European festivals, as well as anything we would be doing stateside. Unfortunately, I don’t believe we will be able to make these up in 2021 because the recovery and distribution of a vaccine will be slow. Still, I think we as a band will use this time to write and maybe record more music. Hopefully we can make up the ambitions that we had for this year in 2022.

We hope so also! What was the last record you listened to before answering my questions?

City Burials by Katatonia.

Are you a fervent vinyl collector? And is there a precious gem in your collection?

Yes, though the expenses of adulthood have caught up with me, and I can no longer afford to buy records at the rate that I used to. I have a lot of special records in my collection, some rare, and others that just get a lot of spins. I guess a notable record is an original pressing of Hall of the Mountain King,  which isn’t the most valuable record, but I just got it for way cheaper than it’s worth, and it’s a great album. I also have a first press of Dreamtime by The Cult that is precious to me.

Are you already working on your next studio album with Crypt Sermon

Yes, with the restrictions on our travel, and not being able to play our newest album live, we really didn’t have any choice but to start working on the new album. Also, we never really stop writing, and this time around we will have more members contributing ideas.

Yes, with the restrictions on our travel, and not being able to play our newest album live, we really didn’t have any choice but to start working on the new album.

We’re really looking forward to it!

On our blog, we focus on epic metal and epic doom metal. How would you define the term »epic«?

I like to think that, in the context of music, epic means more than just »lengthy«, or »big«, but refers more to a massive breadth, not refined to one stale vantage point. In the case of Crypt Sermon, we don’t really seek to write songs that are long, or »epic« for its own sake, but because we have a larger musical palette with which we are sonically capable to paint.

What do you think about the German or European Metal fans in general? Are there any striking differences between European audiences and the fans in North America?

European fans are both more musically critical, and also more enthusiastic than their American counterparts.  Crypt Sermon has received our most pointed critiques from the German audience, and yet we are undoubtedly more popular in Europe than in the States, or at least that was the case with our first album. This may have a lot to do with the infrastructure of our music scenes. In America, a lot of the metal bands crossover with the punk scene, and you would be hard pressed to find any American band that doesn’t have its roots in some sort of D.I.Y. approach. European bands are, in general, more professional. Still, there’s more similarities than there are differences.

2020 is a catastrophe but fortunately there are a lot of stellar releases. Are there any records that you would strongly recommend, especially for epic or epic doom metal fans?

Frankly, I haven’t spent a ton of time with new releases this year and, generally speaking, I don’t focus on micro-genres of metal like epic or epic doom. I still listen to the classic albums that I have for years. I like a lot of death metal, so I’d have to say the new Glorious Depravity has got to be heard. Coming right at the end of the year, Abigor’s new album is going to blow a bunch of people’s minds. Within the metal or dark rock genre, I’ve really liked the new Katatonia and the new Paradise Lost albums. I’d be foolish, however, to leave Eternal Champion off any recommended listening list, and it’s certainly pretty epic.

What do you generally think about the North American metal scene? In my opinion, the creativity of young acts like your own band is mind-blowing. 

Most of the bands that are our contemporaries are bands that we have had the good fortune of sharing a stage with in recent times, from Visigoth, Sanhedrin, Magic Circle, and Khemmis, to Eternal Champion and Sumerlands. One thing that resonates about the US metal scene is that it is very insular, and lots of people easily become friends and collaborators.

What are your favourite (epic) doom metal records of all time? Is there a German album that you appreciate very much?

Epic doom isn’t exactly a huge genre of music with a ton of bands to pick, so the cream really rises to the top easily.  Nightfall may be my favorite of the genre for obvious reasons, but Beyond the Crimson Horizon is equally perfect. While not a great sounding album, Scald’s Will of the Gods is Great Power is a masterclass in massive songwriting with a vocalist who I just wish I could have heard more from. I actually loved White Horse Hill by Solstice, who is one of my favorite bands, but I guess that vocalist didn’t stick around long. I can’t say I know many other German doom bands other than Doomshine, and I really liked The Piper at the Gates of Doom.

I largely stay off of social media, except for Instagram occasionally. I have found it has a very negative effect on my mental health, and I believe that is likely true for most people, whether they recognize it or not.

There’s something about that…

What’s your opinion about social media platforms? I’ve talked with a lot of young musicians and most of them stated that they are very important for them nowadays in order to reach a larger audience.

I largely stay off of social media, except for Instagram occasionally. I have found it has a very negative effect on my mental health, and I believe that is likely true for most people, whether they recognize it or not. I wouldn’t dispute that it is absolutely crucial for bands to spread their message, and connect, but I don’t handle any of that for Crypt Sermon.

Last question, related to Black Sabbath (it’s a bit nasty…): Ozzy. Ronnie or Tony Martin?

As for my singing style, I think no one is shocked to find that I am primarily influenced by Dio, though listening to Tony Martin has taught me a lot of ways to expand my range. I wouldn’t ever pick a favorite singer or era for Sabbath though, each one contributed something special to the legacy.

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