Opeth Album Review ‘Sorceress’

 

Opeth are one of the very few bands that have managed an extreme development away from their original musical roots without creating a major controversy within their fan base. Partly this might be due to the fact that their fans have always been open-minded. Additionally all their albums are of an outstanding quality. Naturally that raises the bar and Opeth’s twelfth album ‘Sorceress’ has been awaited with high expectations.

‘Sorceress’ is certainly not the album that sees Opeth return to their earlier style, so there are no harsh vocals etc. However, anyone who knows the band wouldn’t have expected that anyway. In true Opeth-style ‘Sorceress’ marks yet again another development in the musical direction of the band. As hard as it is to classify an Opeth album these days I have to give it a go and say that ‘Sorceress’ is mainly a progressive rock album. That classification already comes with two qualifications. ‘Mainly’ indicates that there is much more to the album and ‘progressive’ is a term that has been used too often by critics trying to classify music that crosses borders. And that is what Opeth do on ‘Sorceress’.

The album is definitely more rock-orientated than its two predecessors. Tracks like the title song ‘Sorceress’ and ‘Chrysalis’ are among the heavier compositions that band has released since ‘Heritage’. The sound on these tracks – especially the keyboard sound – adds a slight retro aspect to it. However, the album has of course much more to offer. There is the Arabian folk experiment with the almost-instrumental ‘The Seventh Sojourn’ followed by a journey into jazz- and blues-rock with the longest track of the album ‘Strange Brew’. The connection with the previous album ‘Pale Communion’ comes in the form of the folk-influenced ‘Will O The Wisp’ and ‘A Fleeting Glance’.

Opeth present an eclectic mix of various styles and trends of the last 40 years of rock music. The influences range from Pink Floyd and the Beatles to 70s prog-rock to jazz and blues rock with a dose of folk. In a way all that is not new to the history of music. However, this blend is new to Opeth and that is what makes ‘Sorceress’ a typical Opeth album. The band has avoided standstill throughout their entire career. ‘Sorceress’ is just another evidence of the band’s insatiable thirst for progression and development. It is needless to say that ‘Sorceress’ is of course a technically impeccable album that convinces with elaborate song writing. In the end ‘Sorceress’ is an Opeth album and we wouldn’t expect anything less.

9 of 10