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SORCERESS

Opeth

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Opeth Sorceress album cover
3.82 | 312 ratings | 18 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Persephone (1:53)
2. Sorceress (5:49)
3. The Wilde Flowers (6:49)
4. Will O The Wisp (5:08)
5. Chrysalis (7:17)
6. Sorceress 2 (3:49)
7. The Seventh Sojourn (5:29)
8. Strange Brew (8:45)
9. A Fleeting Glance (5:07)
10. Era (5:42)
11. Persephone (Slight Return) (0:54)

Total time 56:42

Bonus tracks from 2016 double- LP release:
12. The Ward (3:14)
13. Spring MCMLXXIV (6:11)

Bonus CD from 2016 digipak SE:
1. The Ward (3:14)
2. Spring MCMLXXIV (6:11)
3. Cusp Of Eternity (Live *) (5:45)
4. The Drapery Falls (Live *) (10:23)
5. Voice Of Treason (Live *) (8:11)

* Recorded on September 19th, 2015 at The Ancient Roman Amphitheater, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Total time 33:44

Lyrics

Search OPETH Sorceress lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search OPETH Sorceress tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Mikael Åkerfeldt / lead & backing vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, producer
- Fredrik Åkesson / acoustic & electric guitars
- Joakim Svalberg / grand piano, Fender Rhodes 88, harpsichord, Moog, Mellotron, Hammond C3, percussion, backing vocals
- Martín Méndez / bass
- Martin Axenrot / drums, percussion

With:
- Pascale Marie Vickery / spoken word (11)
- Will Malone / string arrangements
- Orchestra Of State Opera Plovdiv (live tracks)
- Rodna Pesen Choir (live tracks)
- George Miltiyadoff / symphony arrangements (live tracks)
- Levon Manukyan / symphony arrangements & conducting (live tracks)

Releases information

Artwork: Lindsay Cochrane with Travis Smith (design) & Nina Johansson (calligraphy)

2xLP Nuclear Blast Entertainment ‎- NE 3822 (2016, US) With 2 bonus tracks

CD Nuclear Blast Entertainment ‎- NE 3822-2 (2016, US)
2xCD Nuclear Blast Entertainment ‎- 3822-0 (2016, US) With bonus CD including 5 tracks

Thanks to peccatum for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Limited Edition
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Sorceress (2Cd Deluxe Edition) (Korea Edition)Sorceress (2Cd Deluxe Edition) (Korea Edition)
EVOLUTION MUSIC
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OPETH - SORCERESS : DELUXE EDITION (2CD)OPETH - SORCERESS : DELUXE EDITION (2CD)
unknown
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SorceressSorceress
Import · Limited Edition
Imports 2016
Audio CD$40.45
$46.54 (used)

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OPETH Sorceress ratings distribution


3.82
(312 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (26%)
26%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

OPETH Sorceress reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by horza
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I must confess from the outset that Opeth are one of my favourite bands. In this age of streaming and downloading music they are one of the few bands that I actually purchase the CD's - in this instance I went for the Deluxe Edition. As I get older I recognise influences and try to place where I may have heard certain melodies before. As my wife observed today whilst we were listening to 'Sorceress', it must be pretty hard for bands to be totally unique. We have both been fans from the days of 'Ghost Reveries' and have been to see the band a few times since then. The album opens with 'Persephone' and my wife immediately drew comparisons with Metallica's Black album and its acoustic/classical musings. The next track is the title track and the sound seemed a bit 'muddy' to me. I have listened to it on 3 different players and the organ/bass opening section was, in my opinion, a tad turgid. Look, I'm not a musician - I love this band, maybe I just expected a bit more clarity and prowess. What the hell do I know - then again I bought the damn thing so I can express an opinion. 'The Wilde Flowers' sounded ( I kid you not Rudy) like 'Gangsters' by The Specials. Listen to both songs and tell me I'm wrong - I dare you. It's there I tell you. Anyway, next up is 'Will O The Wisp' by Opeth Tull. Now I like Tull, I always have. I had my first Indian meal back in the days of yore just prior to seeing Tull play in Edinburgh. This song could have been written by Ian Anderson - I like it a lot. Did I mention that Opeth are one of my favourite bands? So far, on this album, they are a couple of my favourite bands. All this may change in days to come - as the album carves out it's own space in my head. 'Chrysalis' is an enjoyable rocker, the first standard rock song so far. I'm not saying who it sounds like - you might think I am exaggerating if I go down that path. 'The Seventh Sojourn' is my favourite track - North African/ Eastern influences on this one - Myrath/Orphaned Land - no problem there. 'Strange Brew' doesn't sound like Cream - what were the odds of that? A quarter of the way in the track comes to life and finds it's Opethosity. 'A Fleeting Glance' has dainty harpsichord at the beginning and borders on a revisitation to Tull. I wasn't inspired. 'Era' also has a low key intro before coming to life. This album will no doubt become another favourite of mine, given time. I consider this to be their most commercial album to date. I have to say that I really miss the musical virtuosity of their previous keyboard player. In my opinion Per Wiberg was far more influential to the Opeth sound than Joakim Svalberg is. His keyboard sound was better and I bet Per's set-up is different. Again, just my opinion. No doubt Joakim is a great player too, in his own right. He is in Opeth after all. By the way I'm not blaming the keyboard player any shortcomings this album may or may not have. I'll get my coat - see ya.
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If there was still any doubt that Opeth have moved on from their death metal roots for good then Sorceress should finally make things clear once and for all. I'd heard rumours that they were getting heavier again, even returning to metal. Well...

...Well, yes, there are times when Sorceress is heavier than Heritage and Pale Communion, even the odd glimpse of metal. The title track was the first song to be given a public airing in advance of the album's release and after its Mike Ratledge (Soft Machine) style keyboard dominated intro it slips into a tantalizingly heavy groove but still packed full of melody. However, overall anyone still yearning for the Opeth of old is going to be once again disappointed. Those of us who are happy to go along for the ride, myself included, with Mikael Akerfelt's vision of beautifully crafted prog with way more than a nod to the genres golden seventies heyday are in for another treat.

Diversity is the key word here. There are moments of acoustic beauty like Persephone, Sorceress 2 and Will O The Wisp - a greater tribute to Jethro Tull I never heard. The Wilde Flowers - this was the original name of legendary Canterbury band Caravan which I suspect supplied the inspiration, though it doesn't sound much like them being considerably heavier than that band ever got. The prog references keep coming in the song titles - Chrysalis (the famous record label). The song is one of the heaviest here, not dissimilar to The Baying of The Hounds in parts, which itself had a strong seventies heavy rock groove. Like many Opeth songs though it has plenty of dynamics with quieter sections. The Seventh Sojourn was a Moody Blues album title (an eastern flavoured instrumental here apart from some late entry ethereal vocals) and Strange Brew was a Cream Song, you get the picture.

Despite the diversity of material here Sorceress flows well and still unmistakably sounds like an Opeth album. The production is similar to Pale Communion - organic with plenty of bottom end. Some have complained PC was a bit muddy and will no doubt have similar feeling about this but it sounds great to me on my vinyl copy and very sympathetic to the seventies vibe the band are going for. The musicianship is of course excellent and once again the keyboards play a key role though there's still plenty of space for the guitars with some heavier riffing and some very tastefully played solos. No growl vocals of course and Akerfeldt's voice is now so good he can rely on his clean singing entirely and perfectly suited to the material on Sorceress.

Opeth have released another brilliant album of beautifully crafted songs and I expected nothing less. I'd say it's the best of the last three. No it's not a prog metal album per se but has moments where it's heavier than anything they've released since Watershed which may go some way to appeasing older fans not too happy about their direction of late. Where they go now is anyone's guess and nothing would surprise me, even a U-turn back to full on metal of some description though I suspect the death growl vocals are long gone for good.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars Opeth have moved away from their gloomy growling and have lost a few fans, who have willfully fallen off the bus but so is art! I read some bitter comments from some fans who regret the departure of growling death-metal leanings and who despise this softer side. Yes, the grunting is all gone but outside of a few acoustic gems, the tracks here are pretty weighty and energetic. The previous album "Pale Communion" was both a critical and artistic success and certainly consolidated Opeth's new found prog energy. Mikael Åkerfeldt has taken the decision to follow his muse and push the envelope of his craft, to become even more musical than ever before and screw the naysayers! Good on ya!

This new Opeth album is the owner of perhaps the most gorgeous cover art in recent memory (Anubis-A Tower of Silence has finally met its match!), a proud turquoise peacock in full peachy regalia, a perfect depiction of the stunning music found inside. I don't believe much in sorcery or coincidences for that matter but one never knows for sure. The songs here almost all have references in their title to some direct or indirect prog music. "Persephone" is a classic Wishbone Ash tune, among others. "The Wilde Flowers" were a pre-Soft Machine Canterbury group featuring Kevin Ayers and members of Caravan. "Chrysalis" a major record label (Jethro Tull among others). "The Seventh Sojourn" is a Moodie Blues album title. "Strange Brew" is creamy Clapton song. "Era" is a synthesizer band. "Will O' the Wisp" is a Leon Russell album or Ignis Fatuus (its Latin name), the title of the debut White Willow album. "Sorceress" is a Return to Forever song. "A Fleeting Glance" was a song by Gowen/Miller/Sinclair/Tomkins on their "Before a Word is Said" album. I know, it's the wind or weather balloons . Okay, for my next trick?

"Persephone" sounds almost like a modern version of Concerto for Aranjuez, just as romantically inclined and cinematographic, images of crimson-burnt Andalusian sunsets, hushed voices and imaginary castanets. This bleeds right into the impetuous "Sorceress", a feverish tune with rampant keyboards and metallic guitar rasps shoved along by an impatient bass and chaotic drumming. Nothing too complex, just hard-edged heavy prog that thunders along, unobstructed and violent. Bassist Martin Mendez shuffles the low end with aplomb, the other Martin (drummer Axenrot) wallops assuredly, this is no cotton-candy prog! Keyboardist Joakim Svalberg screeches acrobatically and finally Fredrik Åkesson crushes his axe when needed and then caresses it seductively.

"The Wilde Flowers" starts out as a phosphorescent blow torch, 'a funeral pyre' of gravity and despair, tormented by contrasting emotions and textures, a sense of hopeless doom one minute and fluttering expectation next. Pooling e-piano adds to the sonic torture, leisurely introducing the volcanic and slightly demented finale which reeks of Red-era KC.

One can detect the overt respect for Ian Anderson on "Will O' the Wisp", mandolin-like sounds and a vocal that has that unmistakable nasal twang that made the gallery minstrel so respected, I mean how can you not like this , even if it's a tribute ? Thousands of Floyd, Yes and even KC inspired bands but not too many prog artists out there who could clone Jethro Tull. Well, Mikael does it and does it reverently well. The elongated and fluid guitar solo is not anywhere near Martin Barre, so no danger of impending lawsuits. Ironic then that the next track is titled "Chrysalis" and sounds really nothing like Aqualung, though it's a chugging affair that has some orbital synthesizer asteroids, a brittle guitar that 'seeks out the moonlight' and a turbo-charged rhythm section thrusting the thing along. Halfway through the scorching tendency evolves into a moodier enclave of glistening guitar, twinkling e-piano and wistful, melancholic singing.

"Sorceress 2" starts out as an acoustic guitar reverie, with airy vocal pleadings, miles (or kilometers, if you prefer) away from doom-metal, actually nearer to Roger Waters more than anything, a lovely pastoral ditty. A perfect set- up for the Middle-Eastern leanings of The Seventh Sojourn", with percussion straight out of the Casbah, a caravanserai of acoustic pleasures, sand-swept orchestrations with a myriad of thumping support, swooning and swerving as the palm trees sway in the wind, all that is missing is a few well-placed "Ay-wah"s to make this a Saharan delight. The hushed choir blows in like a sirocco of pleasure and contentment.

A severe sense of dislocation emanates from the opening bars of "Strange Brew", before a seductive guitar riff rings the bell of reality, only to open the door into a jungle of beastly rhythms, paranoid synth gurgles and cannonading guitar salvos. Axenrot pounds mightily and with purpose. Ooh, Mikael is pissed off as he suddenly screams his anger, overwrought guitar in tow, all wrapped in Hendrixian ennui, a very clever wink to the Purple Hazer while still keeping it an Opeth song. This is the longest track here and exudes both impatient contrasts and depressive propensities that keep the listener on edge. Grueling and sweaty, the rivulets of rage pool at your feet, unbeknownst to any deliverance. The final fragility is unbearable.

At the outset of "A Fleeting Glance", there is a Beatles-like harpsichord pattern that is straight out of the Magical Mystery Tour, a "meek shall inherit the earth" theme that goes berserk with stop-start machine gun riffs, acoustic medievalisms set to only confuse and ultimately enthuse. The lead guitar virtuosity is quite outward as the notes come avalanching out of the speakers, suddenly folding right into the next fantastic song "Era", an ornate and elegant piano leading the way, Svalberg getting to show off his classical chops, but then shoves a surging organ into leading a claustrophobic charge of furious guitars, a mellotron howling madly and a rabid rhythmic assault. Definitely more prog than prog-metal, this is still bruising and pant-inducing stuff, regardless of what the negative pundits may say. Ya want heavy? There are tons of leaden stuff out there (in fact way more choices than prog). A slight return to Persephone kills this peacock off, a fine goodbye indeed.

I enjoyed this album as much (if not more in the future) as "Damnation" and "Pale Communion", my other two Opeth albums, so I guess I am showing my true colours. In all fairness to appease some of the hardcore fans, , Opeth needs to be relabeled (a thing I hate personally) to Heavy Prog, instead of the current Tech/Metal tag. Just a thought.

4.5 witches

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
2 stars Huh, wow, just wow. But don't get my 'wow' wrong, it's a bad wow...

I always respected Opeth because they paved an original road for them (and many other bands) with their mix of sounds. There were all sorts of crazy talk since they decided to move on with Heritage and I never really cared, I liked the way Opeth was going. I thought Heritage was an amazing record and Pale Communion a solid 4 stars effort.

When Sorceress was announced I didn't jump or sunk in expectations but I wanted to hear the album for sure. So, I finally did through Deezer and... well, Mikael lost it on this one. No doubt about it.

More than half of the album is based on Progressive Folk with moments like 'Sorceress 2' being really bad with cringing falsetto vocals (and once again the falsettos on 'Era). And what the hell is the Indian-kinda-of-thing on 'The Seventh Sojourn'?... I am actually really flabbergasted with how this album ended up. In its vas majority the album is Folk, 75% of it being no Rock at all.

The good moments are on the Hard Prog moments like 'Sorceress', 'The Wilde Flowers' and especially 'Chrysalis'. 'Strange Brew' also has its heavy moments but it actually becomes boring with all the jazzy and atmospheric moments.

Mikael keeps saying that the band moves on, and I like that concept and thought that the band was doing that so far, but Sorceress is not moving on, Sorceress is about copying the past (others and Opeth's own past) and going into a direction that is not even that interesting, let alone a 'forward moving' kind of direction. And I am not alone with this thought, only this time I will have to agree with most of the negative reviews. Just can't understand with the high rating on PA, but then again, PA has long lost its touch...

I am not sure, but I believe Opeth burned all the 'fan credits' they still had with this album... bad move.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. OPETH's latest was recorded in 12 days at Rockfield Studios in Wales, by far the quickest they've been in and out of the studio. I would say this is the most diverse album this band has done, a bold move. I like ProgShine's final words in his review because I was thinking the same thing "I am not sure, but I believe Opeth burned all the "fan credits" they still had with this album... bad move." As much as I applaud a band for trying to progresss or change things up, I feel a lot of stuff on here doesn't work. Yes there's some amazing music on here but like the album cover it seems to be an album of one extreme to the another. The song titles seem to pay homage to bands, album and song titles and a record label. Just knowing what a huge Prog fan Akerfeldt is I'm not surprised.

"Persephone" is mostly nylon string guitar with some female spoken words late. Hmmm. "Sorceress" caught my attention right away with those nasty keyboards as the drums pound away. Soon the guitar is helping out and we get heavy riffs after a minute as the vocals kick in. Catchy stuff. A calm around 3 minutes with outbursts of drums then the vocals return as it kicks back in like before. Another calm before 5 minutes with intricate guitar only then some filthy organ joins in. Nice. Then drums as it builds. "The Wilde Flowers" was the first song written for the album. The lyrics are pretty dark but the music is catchy. Like the previous song we get the contrasts between mellow and heavy. A rampage of sounds ends this one.

"Will O The Wisp" opens with strummed guitar and vocals. There's a real JETHRO TULL vibe with this one. I like the guitar before 3 1/2 minutes. "Chrysalis" is heavy with passionate vocals. Yes they are kicking ass and taking names right here. Some excellent organ runs after 4 minutes. It then settles down before 5 minutes with laid back vocals eventually joining in and it stays this way to the end. "Sorceress 2" is a track that Akerfeldt says reminds him of LED ZEPPELIN's "Black Mountain". Picked guitar and some atmosphere as high pitched vocals join in just before a minute. I really like the mood of this one.

"The Seventh Sojourn" was inspired by the band FAMILY and their song "Summer '67". The strings here and throughout the album are done by Will Malone who surprisingly produced the first IRON MAIDEN record. Strummed guitar and percussion before strings and a fuller sound arrive before 1 1/2 minutes. A change after 4 minutes as we get intricate guitar, piano and distant sounding vocals. "Strange Brew" is inspired by that CREAM tune. Akerfeldt was listening to "Disraeli Gears" a lot during the recording sessions to this one. He even tried to get the same guitar tone. The middle section of this song was inspired by MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. We get reserved vocals and a mellow sound to start as the piano is played slowly. Suddenly it kicks in hard as all hell breaks loose after 2 minutes. It settles as Akerfeldt cries out the vocals after 3 minutes. It kicks back in instrumentally before 4 minutes. This is heavy with some killer guitar. The vocals join in then we get a calm before 5 1/2 minutes. Again it kicks in hard. Powerful stuff before a calm ends it.

"A Fleeting Glance" like the song "Wilde Flowers" has dark lyrics but a lighter sound including harpsichord and lighter vocals. I'm not really into this until we get some depth to the sound after a minute although these sections will be contrasted. There's a surprisingly uplifting passage before 4 minutes that makes me smile. "Era" according to Mikael is a 80's heavy metal tune that's hard to play. Piano to start then it kicks in heavily after a minute. Vocals around 2 minutes. A hard rocking tune but I'm not a big fan of it except for the guitar before 5 minutes. "Persephone(Slight Return)" is a minute of piano and spoken female words. It's like the ending of "Era" really and there's a nod to Hendrix with the song title.

This new OPETH era of growl free music hit it's high for me with "Pale Communion", I'm not saying they won't reach those heights again but for me "Sorceress" is a step back even though it is a good album. There's just certain things about this record that bug me for some reason. Things that I wouldn't expect from an OPETH album. I would think traditional Prog fans will really dig this one though.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Sorceress" is the 12th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive metal act Opeth. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in September 2016. It's the successor to "Pale Communion" from 2014 and it features the same lineup as the predecessor. Mikael 'kerfeldt (guitars, vocals), Mart'n M'ndez (bass), Martin Axenrot (drums), Fredrik 'kesson (guitars), and Joakim Svalberg (keyboards).

Stylistically "Sorceress" continues the progressive rock/folk direction from the last couple of releases, and just to get it out of the way, there is nothing on this album which is related to their progressive doom/death metal past. This is purely 70s influenced progressive rock with strong folk leanings, and the occasional nod towards 70s hard rock and jazz rock/fusion.

The material on the 11 track, 56:35 minutes long album is generally well written and relatively memorable. There's great dynamic on the album with both hard rocking louder parts, mellow melancolic folky parts, and epic moments. "Sorceress" is predominantly to the soft side though. Tracks like the title track, "The Wilde Flowers", and "Strange Brew" feature some hard rocking moments, but there are several very mellow emotive tracks featured on the album too. The predominantly instrumental "The Seventh Sojourn" is a standout track, as a result of the middle eastern influenced melody themes. The limited edition of "Sorceress" features the two studio bonus studio tracks "The Ward" and "Spring MCMLXXIV" (and a couple of live tracks) and both tracks are good quality compositions, which could easily have made it unto the standard edition of the album.

"Sorceress" is a well produced album, featuring an organic sounding production. It's a sound which suits the material well. So upon conclusion "Sorceress" is a another quality release by Opeth. To my ears it doesn't reach the heights of "Pale Communion (2014)", because the melody lines just aren't as interesting or as memorable as much of the material on that album. It doesn't sound like "Heritage (2011)" either, because it's more structured and less progressive in nature, so on the positive side Opeth have again managed to release an album with an individual identity. On the negative side there aren't that many tracks on the album which stand out as highlights. The quality is as mentioned good and there's a professional touch to both compositions, production, and musicianship, but I'm missing some musical magic here. In the end "Sorceress" sounds a bit too safe and derivative of the band's influences. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by Necrotica
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Sometimes it's hard to determine if a review is really going to sway people anymore. With a number of bands, especially ones with established fanbases, it often seems like people's minds are set pretty quickly on a new album or project. But the real fun happens when a group has a polarizing impact on its audience; there's an odd pleasure in watching a bunch of critics fight each other on a band's quality or musical direction, preferably with some popcorn on standby. And since 2011, Opeth has been one of the most interesting bands to witness for this very reason. Their 2003 record Damnation might have been an interesting deviation from the typical progressive/death metal formula we know them for, but hey, at least Ghost Reveries and Watershed brought those elements back! Surely they wouldn't switch to a different style for good, right?

Right?

Ok, so most of us know what went down after Watershed. But, for the people who aren't aware, I'll give the rundown. Essentially, Heritage was a major switch for a band who were mostly rooted in extreme metal at this point. Sure, the progressive rock stuff was always there from the beginning, but from Heritage onward, the band decided to abandon metal altogether to create something more rooted in the golden age of progressive rock. The title of the album was pretty apt, as it seemed like a deliberate tribute to the band's 70s roots. What fans didn't expect, however, was that the band stayed on this path up until the present day. Pale Communion ended up being more of a prog throwback than its predecessor, and the band started sounding more and more like a stylistic pastiche who forgot their original musical identity. So when these elements started popping up again on the new record Sorceress, many people's minds were already set and the fanbase battlegrounds were established as usual. So what's the point of reviewing something if that's the case? Well, hear me out on this one.

Right from the get-go, Sorceress plays out like a long buffet of musical stylings. It's really fun hearing Opeth go from genre to genre on this album, as the record sees them tackle folk, progressive rock, progressive metal, jazz, 70s classic rock, classical, blues, and more. This does lead to some disjointedness from time to time, but the adventurousness of Opeth's songwriting is what anchors them here. You almost have no idea what to expect when the introductory folk number 'Persephone' sets the tone, but the following title track is much more effective at giving an overview of the experience. Technical drumming marries bizarre keyboard motifs, until a doom metal riff drives the distorted guitar playing. It's like a funeral march, but with a heightened sense of fury in Mikael Akerfeldt's mean vocal performance. Say what you will about the musical content, but I simply can't deny how strong Akerfeldt's singing is on this album. From the mid-range Ian Anderson-esque performance he gives on the light folk rock ballad 'Will O' the Wisp,' to the raspy high notes he provides on the title track and 'Chrysalis,' the man's dynamics and range have improved over time.

But these aren't the only strong points of Sorceress. Go a little deeper, and you'll find the aforementioned 'Will O' the Wisp,' a simple acoustic guitar piece that evolves into a beautifully melodic and emotive electric guitar solo. The blues tone melds perfectly with the acoustic framework, and the rhythm work is suitably subtle underneath the great melodies. 'Sorceress 2,' despite the lazy title, is also a highlight here. It's entirely driven by vocals and acoustic guitar work, and the blend of major and minor keys creates a fascinatingly unsettling piece of music. And if there's anything that this album has shown me, it's to never underestimate the versatility of Opeth's band members. Just listen to the incredible buildup and climax of 'Strange Brew' (nice Cream reference, by the way), in which Joakim Svalberg's eerie keyboards create a suspenseful vibe before anything else kicks in. The piano work keeps building and building' and the guitar work comes in briefly' and then the band just goes ***ing nuts. The playing is controlled and precise, but the discordant keyboards and Martin Axenrot's nimble drumming create sort of an organized chaos. Eventually, the track erupts into a gloriously bluesy metal section with amazing guitar solos topping it all off. The entire song is a masterpiece of atmosphere and dynamics, and the musicianship is top-notch the entire way through. This is easily the album's centerpiece.

But as one might imagine, not all is perfect here. First off, the lyrics have taken quite a huge nosedive from previous Opeth efforts. Remember those amazing stanzas the band would write in the old songs? Here's a sample from 1999's 'Godhead's Lament':

Marauder Staining the soil, midst of stillness Beloved fraternity to an end Red eyes probe the scene; All the same Stilted for the beholder Depravity from the core Handcarved death in stoneladen aisles

And now look at an excerpt from 'Will O' the Wisp':

When you're tired of waiting And time is not on your side When you're tired of hating me You no longer want to hide; Stuck to the failures of your life Marred with the sorrows of your strife

Not that simple lyrics are necessarily bad, of course, but there's a lot of cheese to sift through on Sorceress. The lyrics tend to be both cliched (especially on the title track) and corny, which is a far cry from Akerfeldt's previous work with the band. Also, as I stated, things do get disjointed once in a while. There probably could have been a better way for the band to transition from the beautiful folk of 'Will O' the Wisp,' to the abrupt metal intro of 'Chrysalis,' or from 'Persephone' to the weird groove of the title track. The album's structure seems a bit confused and unpredictable, which proves to be both a good and bad thing in the end. While it keeps the listener guessing, it also means the record struggles to find a real concrete direction to take.

Still, part of the fun with Sorceress is the variety. It's a true musical adventure, and while the derivative moments of Pale Communion rear their heads here and there, the diversity on this record is crucial to replaying it over and over again. This may not necessarily be the best Opeth album I've heard, but it's the most fun I've had with an Opeth album in a long time. Many of you may have your minds made up already, but for those on the negative side of the fence, I recommend giving the record another listen. You might just find a few gems and a few surprises lurking within this glorious mess of an album.

Latest members reviews

4 stars It is always a pleasant surprise to hear a new album by Opeth, the Swedish band of Metal Extreme Progressive that since the 90's has proven to be a different group and very creative with respect to their peers. Sorceress, his new production is no exception. Following a trend more inclined towar ... (read more)

Report this review (#1666756) | Posted by eddie_1976 | Sunday, December 11, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Starting this piece I should mention that I never cared much for Opeth. Their older albums are simply annoying to my ears. But when their leader Mikael Akkerfeldt started hanging around with Steven Wilson, something started to change. There has been a huge turn in their music, starting with the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1636489) | Posted by The Jester | Thursday, October 27, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Opeth at its best! After heritage and pale communion is sorceress the fusion of the new style. I can`t stress a song, because you need some more passings. The cover describes the music: silent folk parts and heavy parts with the mark of Opeth in the garment of the seventies. There is only one ... (read more)

Report this review (#1634946) | Posted by rattamahatta | Sunday, October 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Instead of being Opeth's latest product, Sorceress is easily a release that could have been the transition between Watershed and Heritage, as it's one that slides between their metal and prog eras. With far more touches of heaviness than either of their last two outputs, it still isn't the retur ... (read more)

Report this review (#1632175) | Posted by Insin | Friday, October 14, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I would call Sorceress an instant classic album with amazing musicianship. Previous albums featured the magical and powerful contrast between extreme metal and softer moments, but Sorceress goes retro-prog with a 70s feel that will make many people feel at home. Sorceress sounds more like an exten ... (read more)

Report this review (#1630548) | Posted by javajeff | Monday, October 10, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Sweden's OPETH is one of the most innovative groups on the contemporary progressive rock scene. The band's new album, "Sorceress", shows that Mikael Akerfeldt & Co still follow the tradition they started back in 2011 on "Heritage" (the rejection of growling vocals and extreme trends in general, b ... (read more)

Report this review (#1619303) | Posted by Progresearcher | Thursday, October 6, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'll cut to the chase. This is another fine addition to the Opeth cannon and, given some time, will grow on you. Even if you are one of those Opeth fans that doesn't like anything post-Heritage, I suggest you give it a whirl. There are three aspects of this album that I think make it the grea ... (read more)

Report this review (#1618327) | Posted by iluvprogjk | Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I ordered this album and received it on the day it was released (September 30, 2016) and have gave it a few good listens and I am very convinced this could very well be the best album they've done since Mikael Åkerfeldt dropped the death metal growls (starting with Heritage). My copy is the Ameri ... (read more)

Report this review (#1617424) | Posted by Progfan97402 | Friday, September 30, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Sorceress is a very versatile album, as most Opeth albums are. In Sorceress, Opeth explores new areas the band has never been to and experiments with different styles. The first single and title track sounds like progressive grunge as the chorus has a very "grungey" sound and it reveals an upbea ... (read more)

Report this review (#1616987) | Posted by piccolomini | Thursday, September 29, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can't say enough good things about the most recent release from Opeth. I suppose one should come to expect flawless musicianship, compositions and production from Sweden's prog-metal masters and Sorceress is no exception. Continuing in the growl free, "full on prog" vein that the band embarked o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1614072) | Posted by Umph1348 | Friday, September 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a rather disappointing album for the old school Opeth fans. There are only traces of their former heaviness in these songs. But unlike the enchanting and bleak softness of Damnation, Sorceress displays a more commercial type of softness, sacrificing their cutting edge inventiveness for somet ... (read more)

Report this review (#1613508) | Posted by EMLonergan | Wednesday, September 21, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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