HIM (SERMON): “The New Album Is Designed To Be Played Live”

Sermon band photo

U.K. Progressive Metal outfit Sermon are set to release their second studio album entitled Of Golden Verse on March 31st. Sermon’s frontman Him took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the upcoming album, hoping to play live in South America, working through the pandemic, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Sermon’s upcoming sophomore album entitled Of Golden Verse is set to be released on March 31st – what can you tell fans about the upcoming release? 

Him: It’s quite an extreme, aggressive record compared to the last one. Big rhythmic percussion, soaring vocals and wall-of-sound riffs.

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this been Sermon’s second album?

Him: I found it to be pretty agonizing. Writing the album is quite fun though, a limitless creative space where I get build a world of rules and structures. But getting performances right is one thing and that takes a long time, but the real pain is just having this completed thing sat there for years because of the pandemic back log. It’s hard to move on musically until it’s officially out in the world. With all that said, I’m incredibly proud of it.

MER: How would you compare Of Golden Verse to the band’s debut album entitled Birth of the Marvellous?

Him: Birth of the Marvellous is a more morose album, it’s got some heavy bits, but it’s really a slab of melancholy. Of Golden Verse, while still has a large sense of musical space, is quite a blunt force album. The ideas are more extreme and it doesn’t follow a single narrative. It does flow still as one whole piece though, because I prefer to listen to music that way.

MER: You’ve released three singles from Of Golden Verse, what kind of feedback have you received so far?

Him: I’ve only seen good things so far, although at this point it hasn’t grown the audience much bigger than it was, I think that will likely come from reviews (if it doesn’t get slated ha!). Our ability to spread the good word is also limited somewhat by it being difficult to arrange live performances.

MER: What do you see as plans for the band in 2023?

Him: I’d like to get it in front of a live audience again. The pandemic did cancel a good live festival opportunity for us and I think Sermon would be further along now had we done that show. I want to find the seed of inspiration for album 3 too. It hasn’t come to me yet because this release is the sole focus. Although I’m considering doing a one-off single/maybe an EP as I have some demons to exorcise that may not work as a whole album.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with and why?

Him: Tough one actually. Blue sky thinking, I’d like to say someone like Ghost or Opeth maybe. But they’re far beyond our reach at the moment haha (unless you’re reading guys and want to give a break)

MER: How would you describe the Metal scene in the U.K.?

Him: My only connection to UK metal really is releasing Sermon records. I’m out of touch metal-wise, I don’t have any friends (aside from James Stewart) who really like it. I tend to satiate myself on the past, Late 80s to mid 90s metal bands, if I get a hankering. The classics though Judas Priest, Sabbath etc. I will always adore. I’m far more in touch with indie/post-punk bands. I have a fond love of newer bands in the UK like Fontaines D.C, Idles and Desperate Journalist. Maybe it’s a fatigue thing, but I find down-tuned guitars quite hard to listen to. I’m speaking from a real surface level here, but everything I peripherally hear seems to be that with soaring delay textures over the top. I’ve just sort of stopped seeking it out. Not very supportive I know, but metal strangely isn’t a big part of my life anymore and I try to find my inspiration for it in other places.

MER: Is there anywhere that you’re looking forward to playing live that you haven’t and why?

Him: Pretty much anywhere. But I would love to play South America, the fans I’ve interacted there are intensely passionate and I could just see myself feeding off that like the ego junkie I am.

MER: How would you describe Sermon’s sound to anyone that’s unfamiliar with the band?

Him: I would hope that it’s actually kind of listenable to the non-metal fan. There’s some extreme flavors in there; fast double kick, blasting, distorted riffing etc but theres an emphasis on a clean vocal, that doesn’t try to be overtly Americanised, so that it cuts through the noise of the instruments. It’s still visceral, but there’s always melody in there somewhere.

MER: What are your hopes for Sermon’s future?

Him: Honestly, I’d like it to be more of a functioning, performing band. The new album is designed to be played live, with no more in the mix than can be performed with a handful of players. It’s hard though due to people being able to commit and actual realistic offers from people to play. So we’ll see. I hope it goes that way though.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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