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Opeth “Sorceress” Album Review

Released by: Opeth
Release Date: September 30, 2016
Genre: Metal

Tracklist:
1. Persephone
2. Sorceress
3. The Wilde Flowers
4. Will O The Wisp
5. Chrysalis
6. Sorceress 2
7. The Seventh Sojourn
8. Strange Brew
9. A Fleeting Glance
10. Era
11. Persephone (Slight Return)

Lineup:
Mikael Åkerfeldt – guitars, lead vocals
Martín Méndez – bass guitar, upright bass
Martin “Axe” Axenrot – drums, percussion
Fredrik Åkesson – guitars, backing vocals
Joakim Svalberg – keyboards, synthesizer, piano, mellotron, backing vocals, percussion

Opeth, hailing from Sweden, is set to debut their 12th studio album on September 30th titled ‘Sorceress’. This is the band’s first release since signing to Nuclear Blast Records via the bands imprint label Moderbolaget Records. Opeth formed in 1990, while some of their early work was more dark, and Åkerfeldt used more of Death Metal vocal style, there was a sense at times that there was something more bubbling under the surface, and subsequently throughout the years the band went through a inevitable musical metamorphosis taking the band from Death Metal territory, into a more Progressive style. While enduring several personnel changes over the years, Lead singer Mikael Åkerfeldt has been the bands only constant and continues to be the the bands driving force.

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The band recorded the album at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales which is actually on a farm. This seems to be the perfect environment for an album such as this to be recorded. While listening to this album many songs conjure images of rolling hill sides, along with vast forested woodlands dotting the landscape.

The album starts off with a beautiful instrumental acoustic song ‘Persephone’. The next song ‘Sorceress’ has a great psychedelic keyboard intro which transforms into a powerful, guitar heavy track, making it the heaviest song on the album. The great keyboard playing from keyboardist Joakim Svalberg, continues into third track ‘The Wilde Flowers’, which is a musically complex song blending many different sounds.

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‘Will O The Wisp’ has a great acoustic guitar intro. This song highlight’s Mikael Åkerfeldt’s amazing voice, reminiscent of Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, and blends some great intricate guitar work with amazing vocals. The next song ‘ChrysaIis’ starts out heavy then turns into a Prog lovers dream.
‘Sorceress 2’ has a medieval feel to it. This song has a very haunting yet beautiful sound. The instrumental ‘The Seventh Sojourn’ steps away from the Medieval sound and invokes images of smoke filled hashish dens with it’s use of Moroccan style drums and strings. It’s a very hypnotic song you want to hear over and over again.

‘Strange Brew’, this is a epic Prog Rock song from start to finish. ‘A Fleeting Glance’ is a difficult song to pin down musically. We hear once again some medieval strings, but with a mix of arena rock guitar riffs, and a vocal styling that is almost Beatles-Esque.
The song ‘Era’ starts off with classical piano piece that is followed by driving guitar and pounding drums. Frequently changing time signatures, this song seamlessly flows into ‘Persephone (slight Return)’ to end the album.

There is no doubt this is a great album. The anticipation is well deserved and we believe most fans will love ‘Sorceress’. The album is filled with intricate guitar work and great musicianship. Opeth is about to embark and on a North American tour supporting ‘Sorceress’. Be sure to check them out.

 

Written by : Pam and Mark Schaff

Ratings: 9/10

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