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Sorcerer - In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross

In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross
by Danny Sanderson at 31 March 2015, 5:22 PM

Over the last few years, two very significant things have begun to occur; Firstly, we've seen plenty of bands, from various genres, return to the scene with new material and live shows to support those records. And secondly, Doom Metal has likewise begun to enter the periphery of the mainstream Metal scene. As anyone who follows the Doom scene will know, Sweden is perhaps one of the few countries in the world that produces consistently great music in the genre. Sweden's SORCERER sit comfortably in the middle of this very Metal venn diagram. They reformed in 2010, having originally split in 1992. In the interim years leading up to their return, they began to garner a cult status within the underground Doom scene, and two separate compilations were released to cater to the needs of their fan base. Now, five years after their reformation, they have finally released a new album, "In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross", which is not only an example of their first new songs since their 1992 demo "The Inquisition", but is also their debut release with the juggernaut label Metal Blade Records. So I guess the question is this; has this record been worth the wait? The short answer is, thankfully, less.

The opening track, "The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer", kicks into a classic Doom track after an atmospheric intro, complete with thick guitar lines and epic sounding vocals, that doesn't sound a million miles away from the sort of Doom peddled by genre giants like CANDLEMASS. It is pretty cool, and is a great way to begin this album. "Sumerian Script" continues in this vein, with some powerful, chugging riffs that act as a great backdrop to the equally powerful vocal performance. The solo on this track is particularly impassioned and inspired, and is really hair-raising at points. The second half of the track sounds fairly dark and foreboding, with much eerier guitar hooks and a creepy atmosphere. The third song, "Lake of the Lost Souls" really starts to bring the drum performance to more prominence, and alongside the tracks other strengths, they help bring the track to life with a methodical, almost primal dirge. The much cleaner guitar tones that are utilised towards the end of this track also work very well. "Exorcise the Demon" has a much more upbeat sound to it (or at least, as upbeat as a Doom Metal track can be), and really picks up the speed as well. The way that the vocals are delivered on this track are just as filled with hooks and interesting parts as the guitar parts. That's what I like about this band. Whereas some bands would rely on the guitars solely to draw people in, this band uses the vocals and even, to some extent, the drums to capture people's attention. The first song on the second half of the album is the title track of this opus; It's a strong, mid-paced riffer that trudges forward solidly, all topped off with Anders' brilliant vocals. "Prayers of a King" is straight up, classic, doom-laden Heavy Metal that stands out as one of the albums highlights, which is no small complement, considering that this is a pretty good record. It has riffs, softer, melodious sections and sing along vocals, all shrouded in a cold, eerie atmosphere. And the guitar solo that comes with this track is a work of art, adding a really nice part to an already great tune. The penultimate track, "Gates of Hell", takes a much faster approach musically, and is a lot more catchy, and dare I say it, accessible than your average Doom track, sounding far closer to a Hard Rock anthem than a funeral dirge. "Pagans Dance", the final track on this great album, opens with an amazing acoustic section, backed by a whining guitar line and sweet vocals, and even what sounds like Violins, before the heavier end of the song kicks in. And what a song it is. I'm fairly sure that the likes of CATHEDRAL and CANDLEMASS would be happy to call this one their own. It's a fantastic and truly epic way to close this record.

This new album shows that the Doom Metal scene in Sweden is still going strong. This is a very solid release, and the band should be incredibly proud of it. With any luck, this album will sate the appetites of their diehard fans, as well as garnering them a reputation and gaining them a large number of new fans. If you love old school, epic Doom in the vein of CANDLEMASS and CATHEDRAL, this is a release that you really need to check out.

4 Star Rating

1. The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer
2. Sumerian Script
3. Lake of the Lost Souls
4. Exorcise the Demon
5. In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross
6. Prayers of a King
7. The Gates of Hell
8. Pagans Dance
Anders Engberg - Vocals
Johnny Hagel - Bass
Robert Iversen -  Drums
Kristian Niemann - Guitars
Peter Hallgren - Guitars
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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