Opeth continue there seventies inspired progressive rock thing. The band holds on to their new style with a firm grip, but this album is … I don’t know how I feel about this album. It’s sounds kind of tired and uninspired. I could deal with the new direction on Pale Communion and Heritage because the music was inspired and there was a sense of honesty and joy to the music. This time around the music is still, at times, phenomenal and beautiful, but it’s sounds soulless. A lot of the songs seem to be progressive for the sake of being progressive, not to make a contribution to the song.
Opeth has continuously developed their sound, all the records show some sort of progress from the last one. Sorceress seems to me like Pale Communion: the lost tracks or something in that direction. The music seem like lesser tracks for some reason. I’m not a big fan of songs that use a full stop and then continue in a totally different direction, if you can’t make the two parts work together, then maybe they should be two separate songs?
Choosing artful, macabre and beautiful coverart has always been one of Opeths strengths. The Sorceress front cover is gorgeous and gruesome at same time; a peacock with a sinister look fading over a heap of rotting corpses. This might be the most metal thing about the record, perhaps the only thing that is metal at all actually.
The title track is exactly what to expect what I’ve come to expect from Opeth. A lot of guitar runs, in a partly chromatic scale, and nice, but complex structure and melody. The Wilde Flowers might have the most boring riff and rhythm figure Opeth has ever released. The lyrics are rather good on this one, but the main riff just ruins it for me. The melodic middle section is however quite excellent, at least until the vocals kicks in again.
Will o the Wisp is a boring song, which brings nothing new, nothing exciting. Why this song was pushed before the release of the album don’t understand. Sorceress 2 continues the trend of boring music, but this time Åkerfeld uses a falsetto vocal, that just doesn’t work. It sounds horrid.
The Seventh Sojourn is more of a classic Opeth composition. It builds and sways in nice melodic waves. Even though the awful falsetto returns at the end of this song as well, it all balances out. Strange Brew is yet another rater boring intro. It’s beautiful in a way, but it takes a while to get going. Yet another song that uses a single piano to set a rather melancholy mood, until the melodic guitar kicks in, after about two minutes. Magic ensues 30 seconds later, when a manic drum part starts up and takes the song in strange new directions. This is one of the songs that really bring the elements of Opeth together in a brilliant way.
Era I kind of like and dislike at the same time. The strong guitar licks are a plus. To me some of the progressive elements seem out of place and brings nothing to the song.
All in all this is not an album I will listen to a whole lot. It will probably please fans of the last to records and bring nothing but distance to purist of the pre-Heritage-era. I’m a medium fan of both eras, maybe leaning towards the Blackwater Park times more than Watershed, and Heritage rather than the this new one or Pale Communion. If you do like the newer material and direction than this will probably be right up you ally. When I go to find some doomy, seventies inspired, melodic rock, I think I will prefer HEX AD. new record to this one.
Recommended tracks: The Seventh Sojourn, Strange Brew