Sorcerer / An Exciting Journey Through Metal’s Dark Realm

Bringing their own brand of muscular, traditional Heavy Metal with a retainer firmly deposited in the Doom bar, Swedes Sorcerer have never made excuses about their style, their roots, or their influences. 

Sorcerer – Reign Of The Reaper (Metal Blade Records)

Release Date: 27 October 2023

Words: Paul Hutchings

2020’s Lamenting Of The Innocent, followed by their debut UK performance at Bloodstock in 2022, put them firmly in the sights of many who may have been unaware of their y or previous releases. The history of the band is charted in my recent conversation with singer Anders Engberg (Part One and Part Two)

Sorcerer, Bloodstock 2022
Sorcerer, Bloodstock 2022. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

Reign Of The Reaper Sees the band continue to flex their creativity, moving slightly away from the crushing Doom Metal that they’ve played and into a wider, more expansive approach. That’s not to say that they’ve ignored the thick riffs and slower time signatures, for there is still plenty of their distinctive style here. Unveiling Blasphemy certainly retains all the power of their heritage. 

Morning Star is the ideal opening song. Up-tempo, anthemic, and powerfully performed, it’s based on the fall of Lucifer. Engberg gets involved early, his strong, clean vocals distinctive and emotive. Around him, the band hold the rhythm whilst the guitar work is sharp, incisive, but melodic as well. It’s a scorching opening track, swirling on the journey through the kingdom of Pandemonium and Hell itself. The changes and twists are many, whilst the main riff keeps the whole track centred. 

As we’ve come to expect from Sorcerer, their songs tend to be extensive and meandering, with epic tales woven into them. There’s nothing here to suggest that the band have changed that approach, with their intense sound, heavy riffs, and big choruses once more exciting their fans. The title track is possibly the best example of a modern Sorcerer song, with only the dreadful fade killing the vibe. 

Hella Rock Festival

You could never accuse Sorcerer of writing simple songs, but on Reign Of The Reaper, they have excelled with more intricate yet openly accessible tracks that balance melody with aggression. Lyrically, Engberg brings some of his best words into play, crafting imagery and transporting the listener to a different time and place. 

As Engberg said in his interview, the influence of Ronnie James Dio and Rainbow is important to the band. This comes to the fore in the epic Eternal Sleep. A majestic storytelling piece, Engberg’s soaring voice works in tandem with the instrumental parts. It’s a song that you can almost hear Ronnie joining in on. 

The third single, Curse Of Medusa, is tinged with a Mediterranean and Eastern vibe that gives it a different feel to the other songs. A well-known but classic tale, it sees Sorcerer move away from their more typical themes yet retain the impressive tales that they craft and weave so well. 

They do dark so well. The Underworld is a mighty, tumultuous track, which features some scintillating guitar work thanks to Messrs Niemann and Hallgren, whose work is incredible throughout the record. The shortest song on the release, The Underworld, is instant, grabbing the attention and not letting go.

Combined with the epic sounds, Sorcerer have included artwork worthy of their music, thanks to Swedish artist Joakim Ericsson, whose album cover fits in perfectly with the music. A crisp production also helps to give the band’s sound the heft it needs to make that first impression. 

An album that works well on first listen and then continues to give on every subsequent play, Reign Of The Reaper is another fine part of the Swede’s impressive discography. 

Sleeve Notes

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