Photo credit: Jack Snell
On March 31st, melodic-melancholic-doom outfit Sermon will release their sophomore album, Of Golden Verse, via Prosthetic Records. For a preview of this record, the new single, “The Distance,” can be heard here:
Sermon’s Him comments: “‘The Distance’ is about the hairline moment that makes the difference between life and death in suicide ideation.
“I was worried about writing this to explain the song. Will it be seen as exploiting the issue? Do I have the authority to even talk about it? I thought of lying. But it’s quite difficult to write anything with sincerity if it’s not, y’know, sincere. Publishing these thoughts are somewhat risky and maybe it’s not my place to open another forum on it. But I think the more we all do, the more we look at the issue 360 degrees, the closer we might get to understanding, and hopefully prevention.
“If I was a betting man I’d say many of us have had ‘the thought’ in the time of emotional crisis. This song isn’t about romanticising it or glorifying it or even taking pity, but to recognise the moment between idea and action. To acknowledge that these strands of thought happen throughout life and that pain is, almost certainly, an inevitable but transient feeling. I can’t remember who the quote is from (forgive me) but that it’s important to remember that we all suffer more in our minds than in our reality.
“Why can’t we talk about it without fear? I can’t count the amount of times that once the discussion is opened, that guilt is all too often the strategy that people wield against the idea of suicide. But I say this isn’t about your loved ones and them feeling sad of the loss of you, this is about you. About you depriving your own future self of having the remarkable effect you can have on the world. This made me think of that distance. And I think, if you can see clearly, don’t go the distance. See it through.
“This feels a little bit like an open letter rather than a paragraph about a song. Is it an irresponsible thing to write? I hope not. I’m not a clinically trained psychiatrist but I will never not stand by the idea that we owe it to ourselves and our fellow human to talk this through more. No matter how wrapped in fear and shame it might be.”
The previously released single, “Golden,” can be streamed now here: https://lnk.to/Sermon– where Of Golden Verse can also be pre-ordered in various formats.
Of Golden Verse track-listing:
1. The Great Marsh
3. Light the Witch
4. In Black
5. The Distance
7. Wake The Silent
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 with the aptly titled Birth Of The Marvellous – which earned 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. Recorded at Grindstone Studios under the legendary supervision of producer Scott Atkins, Of Golden Verse was entirely written by Him, but the new songs reached their final, immaculate state through a team effort. Him comments: “James is the other side of this. I’ll give him the demo of a whole album and the drums will be written, and he likes me to do that, but when we get in the studio, he makes his suggestions and it often becomes this whole other thing. It wouldn’t sound remotely the same with another drummer. Meanwhile, Scott is the George Martin of the piece. So really Sermon is a trio. I give them something that’s fairly well formed, it’s almost there, and they add into it because they’re far more skilled than I am.”
The resulting 10 tracks that make up Of Golden Verse are musically intense, dynamic – and often a startlingly heavy trawl down corridors of corruption and stairways of compromise. First single “Golden” is a stunning entry point to Sermon’s reconfigured world; dense with melody and melancholy, it showcases the band’s expanded sonic vision, with lyrics that detail a slow, steady chipping away at the human spirit. There’s no question: Sermon has returned in 2023 with an imperious flourish.