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Opeth - Sorceress CD (album) cover

SORCERESS

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.69 | 497 ratings

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dougmcauliffe
3 stars After 2014s fantastic Pale Communion, it must've seemed like Opeth had really found their footing and identity in this new era of their career after an arguably rocky start with 2011s Heritage. As a massive fan of everything Opeth has ever done, I have to be honest and say that Sorceress is my least favorite Opeth record. While I say that, it's certainly not a stinker and there's plenty of great songs on it, but there are some issues, often times similar to some of my gripes with Heritage. For starters, I have to say that they really missed the mark with the production. After the sonic bliss of Pale Communion, we're given a very muddy, compressed and bass dominant sound here. In turn, it kind of gives off a sort of Acid Rock sound which is kinda neat, but even with that in mind it's a pretty poor mix. If it had the production value of its predecessor I really think this album would be vastly improved. I also think as a whole, the songwriting doesn't sound as focused and while I love their current drummer Axe, some of the grooves on this album sound kind of uncomfortable and stiff. The album starts pretty strong but really levels out towards the end. The opener Persephone is a nice softer acoustic mood setter that brings us straight into the title track which is awesome. It opens with a nasty Canterbury esque organ (that unfortunately is sort of battled by the all too dominant bass in the mix). We go into this heavy chugging riff bringing us into a head banging verse. The Wilde Flowers is another great driving track. The atmosphere and sheer beauty achieved during the later half of this song in the "tired of waiting" section is stunning, possibly my favorite moment on the album. Will O The Wisp is a great melodic folky tune reminiscent of something out of Jethro Tulls folk trilogy. Chrysalis is a real heavy rocker opening up with frantic playing and a sense of urgency in the vocals. Things mellow out into a really nice ending playout acting as a nice release from the tension the song built before. Sorceress 2 is a really soft and intimate tune which for me sort of acts as a bridge between the first and second half of the album. However, this is where the quality of the songs start to dip for me. The Seventh Sojourn is a pretty cool idea and it's generally pretty nice for a couple of minutes, but it just kinda builds and fizzles out with no real payoff. The next song Strange Brew doesn't really work too well for me either, the song structure feels very jagged and touch-and-go. Even with these flaws, I just don't think the actual music is very memorable on this one. I can say the same for a Fleeting Glance which is a little better, some nice harmonies towards the end, but once again it's just not some of Opeths best and most memorable work. Era is a bit better, theres a nice memorable hook but unfortunately by the time I get to this track I usually got one foot out the door already and I'm feeling kind of dissatisfied. Sorceress is a strange album, it has the worst production of the bands career and the material is quite mixed ultimately resulting in what I think is their worst album. However, the worst Opeth album still warrants itself a comfortable 3 stars. But perhaps a 3 star album doesn't look all that great sandwiched between two 5 star albums.
dougmcauliffe | 3/5 |

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