review by Derek Norman
Dark Sermon, from Tampa, Florida, appeared in support of Thy Art Is Murder, along with Rings of Saturn and Fit For An Autopsy. The band can most simply be described as Death Metal, but their style incorporates atmospheric elements as well.
The first thing I noticed as they took the stage was front-man Johnny Crowder. With his curly red locks, vest, and tattooed midsection, you knew right away what he was there to do. Intensity just radiates from this guy, and he took command of the audience right away.
The first song began with some of the atmospheric music I referenced earlier, Crowder’s guttural vocals breaking through periodically as this introduction built a path toward the Metal to follow. Once it all kicked into high gear, there was no letting up. The main floor became a mosh pit almost immediately.
Crowder kept the crowd engaged throughout their entire set. He encouraged people to keep moving forward through the chaos and never wanted the pit to slow down, even when the music did. It was mentioned at one point that they played in Houston not very long ago, and the fact that this young band has been spending plenty of time on the road was evident in how tight their performance was.
I was actually disappointed in the brevity of their set (about 35 minutes), but this comes with being the early band in a touring group. The best compliment I can pay Dark Sermon is that they left me, and the rest of the audience, wanting more.