Hailing from Tampa, Florida, Dark Sermon released their debut full-length, In Tongues, in March. This album really showcases the group’s strengths, as it introduces them into the death metal scene. Two key songs on this record are the title-track and “The Tree Of New Life.” These cuts provide the listeners with an array of playing styles, including the quick strumming of notes, melodic sustains, heavy riffs, and the picking of clean chords. “The Scales Of Justice” includes a solo that displays the technical ability of the band. This exceptional guitar work is also heard on “Forfeit I: The Crooked Quill,” a four-minute track composed of various sections and speeds of playing. Speed seems to be a focal point on this album while numbers like “Shepherd’s Staff” and “Carcass” are more in-your-face and played rapidly. Others like “Forfeit II: Worn Thin” and “Imperfect Contrition” contain slow/melodic sections.
Along with “Forfeit II: Worn Thin,” another one of my favorite songs on this LP is “Hounds.” The fretwork on this song is very strong, ranging from sustains to fast riffs and rhythmic chords. “The Scales Of Justice” and “Testament” also feature this variation between rhythm and lead guitar approaches. Riffs played on these two tracks induce breakdowns that slow things down while maintaining that “heavy” feeling. This feeling is created by the various approaches embodied into their writing. Heavy breakdowns, slow interludes, exceptional fretwork and a variation of speeds and styles contribute to the unique sound. The inclusion of melodic and technical elements into their fast-paced melodies adds to the ability for fans of most genres to acknowledge and appreciate the music on this album.