Sorcerer - In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross - (9/10)
Published on April 15, 2015
Some bands manage to produce albums year after year, while others operate at an a little more leisurely pace. Sweden’s Sorcerer on the other hand are pure doom, not just in terms of speed of their music, but also when it comes to release rhythm, offering their proper debut album In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross a mere 20 years after their last release. In all fairness, though, after two demos in 1989 and 1992 the band split up when bassist Johnny Hagel decided to join Tiamat and 1995’s Sorcerer was a compilation of the two demos. Only in 2010 the band came back together and now finally is delivering its real debut album via Metal Blade Records.
Hagel and singer Anders Engberg are the only returning members of the first incarnation of the band, but if you manage to get a Kristian Niemann on board as second guitarist, you know that these guys are serious about it and the promise of Sorcerer’s epic doom metal is kept in full on In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross, since they have managed to resurrect the same spirit they have had back then. Engberg’s voice has not lost any of its power and is perfectly suited for Sorcerer’s sound, expressive, clear and with that extra melodic dimension that this particular sub-genre needs. When thinking of epic doom from Sweden, inevitably the name of Candlemass comes up, but the quintet never rips off the doom legends.
The clear production allows two of Sorcerer’s main elements to shine: Engberg’s vocals and the guitar work of Kristian Niemann and Peter Hallgren, who really bring out doom metal’s essence through the riffs and leads, creating some of the most memorable specimens you will hear this year. “Lake of the Lost Souls”, for example, has one of these epic doom riffs that will stick to one’s memory from the first go and epitomizes what made this genre so great and popular, but it has way more to offer than just that, with the sluggish tempo, the great guitar solo (something that doom metal rarely has on offer) and soaring vocal work that singlehandedly catapult both song and album into the upper echelons of doom metal of 2015.
But that is not to say that the Swedes put all of their creative firepower into this one track, “The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer” as opening hook reels in any fan of the genre hook, line and sinker, and the band doesn’t just deliver slow doom and gloom, like on closing “Pagans Dance”, but also displays a good hand for some harder rocking and a little faster tunes that, however, maintain the same melancholic atmosphere to ensure that In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross stays a thoroughly cohesive album, as on “Exorcise the Demon” or “The Gates of Hell”.
In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross fits very well into Sweden’s long standing history of outstanding epic doom metal and Sorcerer show that you do not have to blindly follow the dogma of a sub-genre to emulate the greats. Now here is to hoping that it will not take them another 20 years to come up with a follow up! A must for any fan of epic doom metal!