Swedish epic doom metal band Sorcerer released their debut album earlier this year after nearly thirty years of existence. They put out a few demos and compilations over the years, but this is the big one. So how does In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross fare?
Sorcerer sticks to epic doom and traditional metal pretty closely. Founder and vocalist Anders Engberg has the proper voice, evoking both Ronnie James Dio and Robert Lowe of Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass. The riffs are what you typically hear in doom. They have some nice variety, mixing heavy riffage with slower, calmer moments.
“The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer” begins the album and sets the mood with the formula I discussed above. Dark, medieval fantasy lyrics are layered in to further solidify it in the genre. “Sumerian Script” and “Lake of the Lost Souls” follow, but feel a bit déjà vu. “Exorcise the Demon” packs a lot of energy and might be my favorite song. Engberg shows his range, screaming out both falsettos and growls. This one has some power metal elements to it and shows diversity in their songwriting.
The title track begins the last half of the LP and continues the vigor “Exorcise the Demon” contained. Its main riff is quite a headbanger. “Prayers for a King” has some woeful vocals and harrowed songwriting. “The Gates of Hell” is the most traditional metal of the collection and is pretty standard. The record ends with “Pagans Dance,” which has a cool main riff, but doesn’t do much for me beyond that.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the record, but it feels too safe. The riffs and melodies work, but are very much by the numbers. Most of it seems so familiar. If you’re all about Candlemass and epic doom metal, you will likely fancy this release. If you want to hear something pushing the boundaries, look elsewhere.
1. The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer
2. Sumerian Script
3. Lake of the Lost Souls
4. Exorcise the Demon
5. In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross
6. Prayers for the King
7. The Gates of Hell
8. Pagans Dance
Anders Engberg – Vocals
Kristian Niemann – Guitar
Peter Hallgren – Guitar
Johnny Hagel – Bass
Robert Iversen – Drums