OPETH – Sorceress [2CD Limited Edition] (2016)
Swedish quintet OPETH certainly have changed over the past several albums. Originally starting as a progressive metal group, they’ve dropped the metal aspect and have since turned into a more prog rock group, trading distortion for fuzz and adding a lot more keys. And this is clear more than ever on their new album “Sorceress” to be released soon, also featured in this Limited Edition 2-CD.
“Sorceress” marks a third and definitive Opeth attempt in the metamorphosis of the band’s sound initiated with ‘Heritage’ and further developed with ‘Pale Communion’. The new album comes full circle with their foray into a drastically different musical territory, where straight ahead 1970’s-influenced prog-rock marries analog synth driven soundscapes sprinkled with psychedelic guitars and medieval-folk melodies.
The music is nuanced and unpredictable taking you from classic guitar-tinged passages to dark and melancholy keyboard riffs, traveling through a cathartic range of 70s-prog vibes, folksy acoustic strings and catchy vocal melodies; heavy, twisting and complex prog-metal interludes of guitars and keyboards; Middle Eastern-themed and wonderfully colored instrumentals, and proverbially well-executed shredding adorning the scarce metallic parts.
The record has a conceived flow, where the soft and lovely songs work with the vibes of the ones around them, for a diverse kaleidoscope of moods and mysterious harmonies, oozing a rather mystical nature perfectly portrayed by the visually daring cover.
Among my favorites there’s the title track, which opens with a odd-time organ groove before hitting some old-school metal chunk. ‘Chrysalis’ is one of the heavier tracks displaying more rocking spirit than other more mellow tracks. ‘A Fleeting Glance’ is perhaps the album’s most diverse track, incorporating harpsichord in the verses and closing with a soaring powerful, melodic ending.
This Limited Edition includes 2 studio bonus tracks bein ‘Spring MCMLXXIV’ and excellent melodic proggy tune but commercial at the same time. It’s one of the best tracks here and should have been included into the regular version.
Additionally, there’s 3 live tracks well recorded & performed.
The new Opeth opus “Sorceress” is not one of those albums you fall in love with at the first spin, and it’s even less if you are familiar with the band’s former sound, however, some perseverance turns it into a poignant listening experience.
It’s not quite any other album I’ve listened to recently, it bears the imprint of a band broadening its influences rather than transcending them, while inviting the listener to follow them throughout a truly defiant and bold musical journey.
01 – Persephone
02 – Sorceress
03 – The Wilde Flowers
04 – Will O The Wisp
05 – Chrysalis
06 – Sorceress 2
07 – The Seventh Sojourn
08 – Strange Brew
09 – A Fleeting Glance
10 – Era
11 – Persephone (Slight Return)
01 – The Ward
02 – Spring MCMLXXIV
03 – Cusp Of Eternity (Live)
04 – The Drapery Falls (Live)
05 – Voice Of Treason (Live)
Mikael Åkerfeldt – guitars, vocals
Martín Méndez – bass guitar, upright bass
Martin “Axe” Axenrot – drums, percussion
Fredrik Åkesson – guitars, backing vocals
Joakim Svalberg – keyboards, synths, mellotron, backing vocals