SORCERER — In The Shadow of the Inverted Cross (review)

SORCERER — In The Shadow of the Inverted Cross album cover Album · 2015 · Traditional Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Time Signature
Heathens from the north...

Genre: epic doom metal

Over the last fifteen years or so, doom metal seems to be dominated by either crass and sloppy down-tuned sludge doom acts or pseudo-psychedelic stoner bands, and that's fine, but the best doom metal to my ears always has been and always will be old school doom metal and epic doom metal. The Swedish band Sorcerer - formed in 1988 and reformed in 2010 - operate within both of these genres, and "In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross" is actually their debut full-length.

Crushingly heavy - the old school way - are tracks like 'Pagans Dance' and 'Sumerian Script''. And the opening track clearly shows that these Swedes have the same D(oom)NA as the guys in Count Raven and Candlemass. It is clear that Sorcerer belongs in the upper echelon of of Swedish doom metal. The magnificent 'Lake of Lost Souls' captures all that is good about doom metal with its oppressive, yet lush, heavy textures. The title track is a heavily pumping affair with a nice stomping rhythm and soaring vocals. Others like 'Through the Gates of Hell' and 'Exorcise the Demon' are uptempo hard rocking tracks, and both feature elements from both traditional metal and hard rock. And 'Prayers for a King', holy fucking shitfuck! Pardon my French, but this track is perhaps the best doom metal song I have ever heard in my life. With heavy beats, multiply layered guitar harmonies and clean, melodic vocals, this song is the epitome of epic doom metal.

Upon the very first listen, it should become apparent that these guys are veterans. Featuring band members with backgrounds in Tiamat, Speaking to Stones, Section A, Therion, Demonoid, and 220 Volt, the members of Sorcerer have years of experience with various subgenres of metal, including death metal, traditional metal, progressive metal, and Gothic metal, and this album is characterized by professionalism and focus in terms of both performance and songwriting. All compositions are very strong, and it is very obvious that these guys know exactly what they are doing. the guitar solos are kind of virtuousic without being mindlessly shreddy, which is a bit refreshing, and Anders Engberg's vocals have a nicely hard rock edge to them as well as a the soaring quality that suits epic doom metal so well. Engberg is perhaps a name that people associate with progressive metal, given that he sings in Section A and has contributed to Speaking To Stones, but he was actually an original member of Sorcerer, and his voice is just perfect for this kind of music.

Needless to say, this is recommended to all fans of epic doom metal. It's a near-masterpiece, and I am already looking forward to their next album!
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