From Stockholm, Sweden a new entity has seen its birth: the Swedish epic doom metallers, Sorcerer, might be a new band to some, but the truth is this band was conceived in 1988 and remained silent behind the sprawling shades of darkness. Formed by the founding members, bassist Johnny Hagel, vocalist Andreas Engberg, the band’s current discography contains three full-length albums including their newest offering named ‘Lamenting of the Innocent’. Given its epic and atmospheric proportions, I became acquainted with Sorcerer through their sophomore release ‘The Crowning of the Fire King‘. Despite their age, the Swedish quintet is considered as one of the modern doom metal bands beside Crypt Sermon.
In similar ways to the forefathers of epic doom metal such as Candlemass, Sorcerer has built a characteristic sound. Their epic journey continues as their third album ‘Lamenting of the Innocent’ is set to release via Metal Blade Records on May 29th. The superb lineup includes Andreas Engberg (vocals), Peter Hallgren (guitar), Richard Evensand (drums), Kristian Niemann (guitar), and Justin Biggs (bass). After a fleeting intro ‘Persecution‘, the second track ‘The Hammer of Witches‘ begins with heavy twin guitars and beautifully layered vocals. As the resonance of the galloping riffs and the firing solos echoes, the musical influences expand to heavy metal. Sorcerer brings the majesty of epic doom metal, led by their incredible soaring vocal abilities.
Another key element is the guitar department that provides a haunting rhythm and fascinating solos. The epic quality is manifested by nuances of heavy metal, stemming from strong vocal cords. While the album title track ‘Lamenting of the Innocent‘ began with a slow crushing guitar tempo, the track is pushed forward with the epic performance of the lead guitar. It almost felt like a ballad, but when the chorus rushed in, it soon captivated my senses. The natural expansion from heavy metal brings the memory of Ronnie James Dio. Sorcerer performs high quality lofty music. With the excellent guitar arrangements allowing the shift in tempos simultaneously, the band maintains the heaviness. ‘Institoris’ presents monumental riffs and pounding drums that build the tempo. The band incarnates the traditional style of heavy/doom metal at its best.
The source of inspiration from the early 90s is excessively presented on the following track ‘Where Spirits Die’. Once again I found myself caught up with another beautiful chorus. Sorcerer‘s musical influences are inherited from Candlemass. They can easily be distinguished by the powerful riffs and the gloomy atmosphere which they create. Showing versatility and dynamism, there is a fine range for the rhythm guitar to add an emotional feel, which has a gripping effect on most of the songs. Whilst the solos mainly capture the classic feel of heavy metal, Sorcerer on the new album has mastered the nuances of 80s ballads. This is what differentiates ‘Lamenting of the Innocent’ from ‘The Crowning of the Fire King’.
The ballad entry on the sixth track ‘Deliverance’ is layered with delicate strings and mournful vocals. On this track, the emphasis on melodies is fused with other instruments such as the violin. ‘Age of Damned’ is brought by crushing guitar chugs and pounding drums that maintain a heavy pace. In terms of guitar riffs, there are heavy riffs galore, including the traditional doom metal riffs. As for the choruses, they’re mainly catchy and atmospheric.
The parade of the crawling riffs ebbs and flows as ‘Condemned’ moves from down tempo to semi-ballad. The second half of the album sees the band implementing many clean guitar passages. The heavy, reverberating charge of the twin guitars on ‘Dance with the Devil’ is accompanied by a male choral which somehow adds a sense of majesty. ‘Lamenting of the Innocent’ is extended to one hour and four minutes, ornamented profusely with clean guitar passages.
The refined approach to heavy/doom metal on the album closer ‘Path to Perdition‘ shows a similar process of layering the song texture with solos. These definite sets of elements are applied to add more textures. As a result of this latest effort, ‘Lamenting of the Innocent’ has left me disappointed. Despite all the catchy choruses and the strong vocal performance of Andreas Engberg, it’s clear that the band has sought a varied tone. And this why the new album feels diluted and less heavy than the prior releases. On the contrary, the sophomore release was a successful album and it reached the heights of the epic doom metal quality, but in my humble opinion, this is a misstep from the band.
Release Date: May 29th, 2020
Label: Metal Blade Records
- The Hammer of Witches
- Lamenting of the Innocent
- Where Spirits Die
- Age of the Damned
- Dance with the Devil
- Path to Perdition
- Hellfire (Bonus track)