Sermons from the Devil - The Ruins of Utopia


I've given this album at least a few full listens now and I have to say that for an album that has such a severe-sounding title, the contents are much more surreptitious than one would expect. Released in early August, this album is an odd combination of apocalyptic imagery and slower tempo electronics. To me, it feels almost as if I'm listening to the Doom Eternal soundtrack on Xanax. Throughout the album's runtime, it displays all the eerie and demonic qualities you would expect but is constructed in a way that conveys more resigned desperation rather than a frenzied battle for the future.

You can hear this from the very first notes of the opening track, "Isolated Output" with its almost morose melody that persists throughout the track accompanied by a sparse rhythm. It brings to mind the feeling of standing from a vantage point and just looking down on the wasteland that once was something great. This is a feeling that is oft-repeated throughout. It seems to be conveying that there is no fighting what has happened and we the listeners are either observers or just survivors.

In this one and all of his albums, Sermons from the Devil makes use of primarily analogue equipment and it really shines through in the final tracks. There's all the warmth and unique timbre that can only be had through analogue circuitry plus the wonderful little "accidents" that happen in its use. Making use of distortion and feedback, many of the synth noises produced take on a guitar-esque quality to them that really drives the album forward. One of my favorite examples of this is in "Choke on the Fires of Hell," a track that speeds things up just a bit with a faster rhythm that backs up a more aggressive synth line that has all the distorted character of a synth-rock guitar melody.

The album ends with the track "This Perfect Day," which in both title and sound is an oddly upbeat conclusion. However, this track does give an interesting effect of playing out like the end credits to a sci-fi/horror game or movie. We the listeners have been taken on a dark ride through a wasteland that was once perfect and now we simply watch the credits roll. At least, it was a fun and interesting ride even though the world had to end.


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