Overall Score: 8/10 Intensity: 8/10 Unpredictability: 9/10 Revisitability: 7/10 Pros: Consuming, varied and accessible Cons: A few too many instrumentals
Opeth’s ‘Sorceress’ is an enchanting siren, beckoning innocent passers-by toward their fate.
27 years and twelve albums later, Opeth are a phoenix rising from the ashes of metal in recent years that seems to have forgotten its direction. Thanks to the dawn of bands like Ghost, however, there’s an awareness of Opeth’s quality that bursts through ‘Sorceress’ as if the Swedish mainstays are finally understood for their full potential.
Beyond its meandering opening, the grandiose ‘Sorceress’ projects a chugging tempo to accompany Mikael Akerfeldt’s swirling vocals and a haunting guitar interlude – Opeth have a formula that works perfectly. Similarly, the consuming ‘The Wilde Flowers’ whisks you away with its unpredictable nature, delivered with such authority that it switches effortlessly from towering wisdom to seductive delicacy.
Alongside the beautifully crafted ‘Will O the Wisp’ with its enchanting melodic charm, ‘Chrysalis’ picks up the pace with a complex backing, positively gripping despite its 7-minute length. Solemn, serene and sensual, the acoustics throughout ‘Sorceress 2’ epitomise the appeal and ultimate longevity of a band enjoying the hold they have over their listeners. Just as a few rather lacklustre instrumentals lead you to believe the album has passed its high point, ‘Strange Brew’ appears through the thick fog. Taking its sweet time to kick in, two glacial minutes elapse before chaos ensue and a hidden searing majesty pours forth.
‘A Fleeting Glance’ holds its Hispanic acoustic twang close to its heart, offset by punishing depths to make it one of the most contagious tracks on display. Before long, however, ‘Era’ unleashes a sensory onslaught that’s fully worth the wait through atmospheric scene-setters, building its determined rhythm and heavenly guitars that close an astonishingly crafted opus.
Beyond the instrumental interludes that, despite their incredible talents, slightly outstay their welcome, ‘Sorceress’ is a definitive step in the right direction for a band that are nowhere near their swansong.
‘Sorceress’ is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.