This here review raised a lot of questions in the steely House of Druhm. Sorcerer was a band I had firmly on my radar back in the 90s due to a few high quality demos featuring an interesting take on traditional metal buoyed by impressive vocals. Sadly, the best the band could manage before blinking out was a 1995 compilation of demo cuts, which despite their raw quality, was a compelling listen I still spin to this day. When I saw the name Sorcerer appear in our fetid promo bin, I assumed it would be some lo-fi black metal jiggery-pokery, but to my surprise it’s the band I knew back in the days of hair, cheap beer and free time! And to my eternal bewilderment and shame, I find I somehow completely missed their 2015 comeback album. It ain’t easy being the official Leave the Hall Monitor sometimes. Mistakes being made and owned up to, the fact the band is back and still featuring the mega pipes of Anders Engberg (ex-Lion’s Share, ex-Twilight), now supported by a who’s who of Swedish musicians from Therion and Tiamat is a truly grand surprise. Making it better still, they’ve become a top-shelf epic doom unit, fusing Candlemass with the regal neoclassical polish of Kamelot and heaping helpings of Tony Martin era Black Sabbath. Big riffs, bigger vocals, melodic sensibilities set to stun – it’s all here waiting on the I-ruhn Throne ov Swedish Doom Metal (currently occupied by the Sauron-ish Fire King).

Things start strong with “Sirens” which is a huge dose of epical doom walking the elegant line between Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus. The riff-work grabs you and the bigger than Bejesus and exceptionally classy vocals of Anders Engberg lash you to the mast with a huge chorus. The wicked neoclassical soloing by Kristian Nieman (Therion) and Peter Hallgren are the icing on the cake, topping it off with elegance and technical wizardry. The nearly 10-minute “Ship of Doom” is an intriguing voyage to be sure, touching heavily on the playbook created by Candlemass founder Leif Edling while shrewdly incorporating elements of Siege Perilous and The Fourth Legacy era Kamelot along with vintage Mercyful Fate. The wonder of the song is how catchy and accessible it is and just how fast the 10-minutes pass by.

“Abandoned by the Gods” adds a tasty Middle Eastern flavor and a big dose of both Dream Evil and Headless Cross era Sabbath for a smoking hot slice of epic metal that’s far more addictive and hooky than it should be. Anders blows the doors off this one with a positively enormous performance, the fluid and first-rate guitar noodling is out of sight and the chorus is a big winner. “The Devil’s Incubus” is as good if not better and just as intensely catchy, and the title track is a thing is beauty, carefully stitching classic doom with Euro-power in a way I didn’t think possible. It has the strengths of both genres and neither of their weaknesses, and you have to hear it to understand. Even the oddball closer “Unbearable Sorrow” is a win despite an unusual step toward both melancholic post-metal and Dokken-esque hair metal, if you can imagine that (and you likely can’t).

Downsides? Not really. The slave master sound clips during “Ship of Doom” are a bit cheesy and take away from the otherwise world-class music, and occassionally the lyrics get a bit too LARP-friendly.

The production is polished and allows the band’s technical know-how to shine through. A darker, more menacing guitar tone would have added extra pop, but there’s little else to complain about. At almost an hour in length and full of songs between 6 and 10 minutes, this thing goes by fast! The songs are so well crafted and catchy, they seem more like radio hits than classic doom constructs. This is big, big stuff but very easy to enjoy.

Anders Engberg never sounded better and he simply owns this album from start to finish. He’s like a wondrous hybrid of Roy Khan, Tony Martin and Niklas Isfedt (Dream Evil) and brings a power and accessibility to the well constructed material. He really impressed the hell out of me here and I was already a fan of his singing. The music behind him is every bit as good and the guitar-work by Nieman and Hallgren is out of this world. They get the doom leads right and use them as a base upon which to pile classic and power metal influences and showcase some stellar solo-work. This is one of those albums where every note feels right and each adds something crucial to the song it appears within.

When I think of how far Sorcerer has come from those early demos to this ginormous crowning achievement, it boggles my metal mind. It took them 27 years to get here, but it was definitely worth the wait. A strong Album o’ the Year contender that doom, power and traditional metal fans should check out post-haste. Long live Sorcerer and the Fire King!


Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 273 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade
Websites: sorcererdoom.bandcamp.comsorcererdoom.comfacebook.com/sorcererdoom
Releases Worldwide: October 20th, 2017

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  • Goldicot

    Where did they get that picture of me reading this blog

    On topic: Steel, do you like Sumerlands? Your answer determines how I judge your 4.5.

    • I love Sumerlands muchly. I reviewed their album glowingly.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Sumerlands is the best album Ozzy never made.

        • wayne the devil

          Off the subject, but sort of not, Narcotic Wasteland hs dropped the NIle album We have been waiting a long time to hear…

          • Ferrous Beuller

            It’s decent, but holy shit the lyrics are bad.

      • Eli Valcik

        Sumerlands is phenomenal.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Sounds like Sorcerer’s “oddball closer” is more successful than the one on the Sumerlands’ release. The latter would have been a near perfect album without that last track.

        • Way more successful. It’s a fine song, just a bit disconnected from what comes before style-wise.

    • Dead1

      Sumerlands is fucking boring as hell. They had one good idea then kept repeating it to ad nauseum. I start listening to it, get excited for a song and then boredom kicks in and I realise they aren’t even a turd encrusted arse hair compared to the 1980s greats. Same thing with related (via Nujon Powers) Eternal Champion and their Armour of Ire – one good idea repeated over and over again.
      Sorcery’s debut was also meh – too clean, too rooted in epic doom clichés.
      I’ll still give the new one a spin so I can bash the shit out of it.
      Now Below’s new one, there’s some great epic doom metal…
      (just to show I like some new things).

  • PapaRay

    Been really looking forward to this one and preordered it weeks ago based solely on the strength of the previous record. Quality epic doom has seemed to be in short supply the last few years, and we are lucky to have this band.

  • BaboonKing

    This presses all the right buttons for me. The embeded song and the review have me drooling like a dog before a treat.

    • Frost15

      Same feelings, the embedded track got me pumped

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    You listed all my favourite things ….except ice cream……so this one’s getting the big 10 4.

  • wayne the devil

    …..black metal jiggery-pokery….well put.

  • ssorg

    Ehhh…. So far this hasn’t grabbed me the way the best songs from the recent Below album did (despite an ostensibly similar sound)

  • metalcasket

    One does not simply mention Headless Cross without expecting me to pounce all over this.

    • Malcolm in the Middle X

      Such an underrated album. That’s being generous, as on the whole, Martin-era Sabbath is rarely acknowledged.

      I dig this.

    • sir_c

      Both Headless Cross and Tyr have some fucking magnificent songs on them!

  • Apple Tree

    what in the fuck is going on with the layout of the site right now? am i the only one seeing this?

    • Seeing what?

      • Apple Tree

        for some reason, the logo is in massive font and I can’t zoom out far enough to not have to scroll left and right

        • Not seeing that at all here.

          • Apple Tree

            i wish i knew anything about computers. its probably something on my end, thanks

          • Monsterth Goatom

            What browser are you using? It’s rendering fine for me on Firefox 53.03. Try a different browser, or, if on Firefox, disable all add-ons (as they’re often the culprits), and then enable add-ons one by one to see if any of them are the cause.

          • Apple Tree

            im on chrome. i tried it on safari and it worked, but the only website its happening for is amg, so im confused

          • h_f_m

            make sure zoom level is at 100%.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            I’ve experienced periodic episodes of the AMG site rendering weirdly in the past. It usually lasts a few days, and then things go back to normal. Hopefully that’s the case with you as well.

          • Apple Tree

            I got it to work. Somehow I had a setting on that made my zoom at 200% for angry metal guy alone

        • I certainly am not seeing that either. Apparently it’s so metal it won’t let you read the site. Overcome by metal.

  • Wilhelm

    God damn, this takes me back to the 90’s when bands like Tad Morose, Memento Mori, Candlemass, Morgana Lefay, and Solitude Aeturnus were in constant rotation. All this needs is NECROLORD cover art.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Tad Morose were so under appreciated imho.

  • Brjoro

    I stumbled upon this band’s last album (‘In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross’) somehow and was similarly blown away, it’s like someone put together the perfect doom band for me. Definitely Candlemass and the Tony Martin era Sabbath are great reference points. Very enthused to hear this now. Great review!

  • Sidewalk Psycho

    You mean, you missed “In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross” in 2015?
    If yes, you have some more great Sorcerer coming your way, it’s one of my favorites and I don’t even like power metallish stuff usually…

    • Totally missed it but have gone back to discover it. Good stuff!

  • Spread Wide & Panic

    Definitely have my interests piqued for this one! I get the sense it may appeal to fans of Crypt Sermon, amirite? I’ll wait until Friday for when Spotify will surely have the whole album…

    • Yep, if you like what Crypt Sermon is doing this is right in the same wheelhouse but more melodic at times.

      • Spread Wide & Panic

        Excelente, gracias

    • ssorg

      I like Crypt Sermon and Below, and this doesn’t do anything for me. YMMV

      • Spread Wide & Panic

        good to know, thanks. will be checking out regardless (I like both those bands as well)

  • Eli Valcik

    I didn’t like this, it felt over produced and way too cheesily epic. I like my doom a bit grittier, which is weird because I love Sorcerer’s old stuff, like their demos. That early stuff sounds a lot like what Crypt Sermon took influence from.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      “And the sailor said, ‘Brandy, your a fine girl. What a good wife you would be, but my life, my lover, my ladyyyyyy, is the SEAAAAAAAAAAAA.'”

    • Nukenado

      This is really more power than doom in my opinion.

      • Some songs are more doom-intensive, some skew more toward classy power.

        • Nukenado

          Ah, I see.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    By the light, this tickles my testes!

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    This ALMOST cleanses the Fozzy review from my palate. ….tread softly angry ones…..

  • Nick Maestas

    Headless Cross era Sabbath? Damn you’re the first person I’ve ever seen refer to a Sabbath album that doesn’t have Dio or Ozzy in it!

    • Sharp-Blunt Boy

      The recent review of Below (what? more awesome doom from Sweden!?) also mentioned Mr Martin, and rightly so. I used to love Tyr, so that vocal style floats my Norse boat.

      • Nick Maestas

        Right!? That’s a good album too the Tony Martin days are way underrated.

  • Aguy

    The namedrops in this review are insane.

  • Bas

    Good to read a positive review about this one. The previous album was very good. I still play it regularly. Going to check this out immediately!
    Saw them live last year. Their flight was delayed. They entered the club, did a super quick sound check immediately and blew us all away. Amazing. Gaz Jennings played before with Death Penalty and stayed around to watch them. Great concert !

    • Damn that was a great double bill!

      • Bas

        yeah.. and there was also Iron Void (you should check out their last album, great rocking doom!!!).

  • This doesn’t do anything for me. I also listened to Ship of Doom, which I thought was even worse. There’s nothing really terrible about it, I just find it dull. The term “Dad Metal” gets mentioned here a bit and that’s pretty much how I feel about this.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Boy the singer sure does look like Steel, hmm…

  • Nukenado

    “Candlemass” made me pause Beardfish, “Kamelot” had my undivided attention, and the mention of Black Sabbath was too much namedrop-bait.
    DR 7 was just the icing on the cake.

    • Dead1

      Mentioning crappy Kamelot after brilliant Candlemass is the musical equivalent of meeting a hot chick that’s really into you and then finding out she actually has a penis.

      • Wilhelm

        LOL

      • Nukenado

        ‘kay

      • Malcolm in the Middle X

        I think that’s the point Steel was making. You get two awesome things in one package.

        • Nukenado

          I was just about to reply to Dead1 that some people are into that shit, but you beat me to it.

  • Nola Trash Talk

    Waiting on this to leak like a son of a bitch! Got that new Europe to hold me over!

  • AgonMcDuck

    Oh lord. I loved In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross. The great doom is finally starting to rear its head (that said I really do need to give the Elder more chances).

  • Levly

    Holy cow this sounds amazing.

  • Kain Hellraiser
    • wrathzombie

      It’s his son James Bam Bigelow

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That cover looks like that cartoon trick where three kids stand atop of each other while wearing a long coat in order to appear as a grown up. Only done by a pile of skulls.

    • Tofu muncher

      am thinking kittens

  • RuySan

    There’s too much Candlemass namedropping around, and I still haven’t found any band capable of filling their shoes. This sounds more like Solitude Aeturnus, which is still pretty good though.

  • Tofu muncher

    very good embedded track, pretty lady is pretty.

  • Malhorne

    Holy shit this sounds good!

  • Jón Aldará

    Kristian Niemann is among my very favourite lead guitarists, yet seems strangely overlooked. He is a master of straddling the line between melody and technicality, and his work with both Therion and Demonoid speaks volumes. I skimmed through the comments really quick, but saw no mention of him. Come on, people! :)
    His solocraft here is amazing as ever, and I’m tempted to say that he produces some of his best work yet. Peter Hallgren certainly holds his own as well (where the hell did he come from?!), and their trade-off spot in “The Devil’s Incubus” is truly breathtaking!!

    • Kristian Niemann

      Thanks for the incredibly kind comments! :)
      /Kristian Niemann

  • PretentiousFuckwad

    October is looking like a pretty strong month.

  • Iwein Denayer

    This album is truly great. I agree on the LARP mention.
    But that’s a really, really minor quibble.

    The leads though… absolutely stunning. I love the style and the faux-nochalance incorporated in the solo’s. Great, great stuff.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    This is a stellar album.
    Great songwriting and arrangements.
    Had me pulling out my old post Dio Sabbath albums again.
    Thanks for introducing them to me!

  • Tofu muncher

    My last days of October are filled with this album, lovebites (took me by surprise, this one), Archspire, Threshold, and Evil Invaders (this one I will spin for idk how long), to name a few.

  • Aguy

    Listening to the embedded track, something about the production sounds flat to me, and the tempo’s a little more plodding than I would like (you can call it “doom”, but to me this is classic heavy metal). But it’s obvious that this is a bunch of guys who know how to make music.

  • Pedro Morini Mietto

    Goddamn, this is so good!

    Reminds me of Below.

    If both bands join forces, we’ll have a monstrous band called Sorcerer from Below….or Below the Sorcerer.

    • Pedro Morini Mietto

      New album coming soon: The Crowning of a Pale Horse.