Review | Sorcerer – Reign Of The Reaper
Metal Blade Records
I concluded my review of ‘Lamenting Of The Innocent’ (2020), the third album of Sorcerer, with the question of how far these Swedish doom metal masters could go with their music as yet again they had managed not only to deliver a masterpiece but also managed to develop their style, their musicianship and songs to a level that you would only expect from Black Sabbath in the Dio and Tony Martin era. They delivered already a snippet of their class with the digital EP ‘Reverence’, making songs of Rainbow, Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and Saxon their own. But the real answer to the question is now upon us with the release of their fourth album ‘Reign Of The Reaper’.
During the years the band has gathered a steady team around them, helping with production, mixing, mastering, art work, video clips and photography. Being surrounded by familiar people who understand the quality of the musicians it has given the band a certain stability that enables singer Anders Engberg, bass player Justin Biggs, drummer Richard Evensand (who surprisingly left the group after the recordings were done and has been replaced by Stefan Norgren) and the guitarists Kristian Niemann and Peter Hallgren to keep growing. And by growing as musicians and composers automatically they have raised their own bar and that of the genre.
I cannot find enough words to praise this record. It has elements of doom, classic metal, heavy metal and above all has become a mix of suspenseful music that is filled with melody and brilliant songs. Songs that in good Sorcerer tradition clock between six and seven minutes with the exception of, ,,Thy Kingdom Will Come’’ (which is pretty up-tempo) and ,,The Underworld’’. Both tracks are slightly shorter but fit in so well with the rest. The statement that ‘Reign Of The Reaper’ is an album with more darkness and suspense is an obvious one. Take for instance the mighty title-track with its dark and scary growls (provided by Justin Biggs). Just another element added to the weaponry this band has in its arsenal.
SORCERER – THE CONCLUSION
This album has only one level and it is an extremely high one. Whether you are talking about the inventive riffs and (sometimes mad men) solos of the deadly duo Niemann/Hallgren or the enormous power that is provided by the rhythm section, the band and the album just do not let up. And what about our singer Anders Engberg? Again, he proves he is the complete package, the man that steers the songs into high heaven with his voice that just does not seem to have any sort of limitation.
Engberg is the current top of doom metal singers. He sets the pace and the rules of how this genre should be executed (and re-defined to his standards). Add to that eight sublime songs, a monster sound, all expeditiously executed by the five musicians and you have an album that is a must for fans of doom, classic and heavy metal. The cover might remind you perhaps of several Molly Hatchet records, but it fits perfectly with the album. To be released on October 27, so pre-order it, buy it, borrow it or if necessary, steal it. Make sure you do not miss out on the album of the year in its genre!
Release date: 27 October 2023
Sorcerer was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1988 by bassist Johnny Hagel, drummer Tommy Karlsson and guitarist Peter Furulid, soon joined by vocalist Anders Engberg and second guitarist Mats Liedholm. They were inspired by Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Metal Church, Judas Priest and Pink Floyd and combined their various influences to create their own heavy, doomy and (over the course of 30 years more) melodic sound. Current members: Anders Engberg (V), Kristian Niemann (G), Peter Hallgren (G), Justin Biggs (B), Richard Evensand (D).
Photo credit: Jon Alexandersson