SORCERER - Lamenting Of The Innocent
June 5, 2020, a month ago
Time for the world to recognize these Swedes for their own merits and not just, "Candlemass' Little Brother." Given their nationality and musical choice, such labels are bound to persist, which is dismissively selling them short. Can you find sludgy, belabored tempos within the nine proper tracks ("Persecution" is merely a 57 second, mood setting intro to the album)? Sure, it's in their DNA, but is that all they do? No! There's some modern twists on the classic doom genre, without alienating fans of the same.
While there's a decidedly Robert Lowe-era C-mass pacing to "The Hammer Of Witches" opener, not to mention a snippet of the "Cry From The Crypt" guitar line, the gang vocals (more like a sports stadium chant) of "Burn! Witch!" are well timed, to coincide with skyward fist thrusts, come the live arena. The title cut follows, begun with audible winds and a veiled gathering (coven?). Gradually moving towards mid-tempo crescendo, it's initially an unexpectedly smooth (courtesy of symphonic strings underpinning) ballad, periodically interrupted by gruff intonation and sporadic bass rumbling. Thematically, this is a connected concept record, dealing with aspects of the Inquisition.
The drummer given a rest, during most of the preceding number, "Institoris" starts with a bash, before settling into a more natural, rollicking mid-pace beat, complete with plenty of cymbal embellishment. A trudging "Where Spirits Die" would be the first classic rendition (expected? stereotypical?), but even here, the chorus adopts a more melodic tone. Electrified acoustic & cello greet "Deliverance", rarely moving above true ballad tempo. Anders Engberg's clean vocals are laid bare, and in duet, with original/current C-mass frontman Johan Langquist. Tolling bell and chanting monks begin an otherwise restrained (pun intended) "Condemned", detailing the thoughts of an accused witch, watching her pyre being built (on the town square) from her dungeon window. Despite the title, the voiceover augmented "Dance With the Devil" is not a lively romp, although it does (briefly) house the disc's most spirited guitarwork. Closing "Path To Perdition" contains all the hallmark elements (plus synthesized orchestral accompaniment). Nice atmospheric touch, finishing off with a big liturgical organ fade out. Truly an album (rather than a collection of tunes), as there's not a single breakout song, but rather an overriding, unified totality.