Sorcerer – “In the Shadow Of The Inverted Cross” (Metal Blade Records)
Now here’s a blast from the past….formed initially back in 1988 by Johnny Hagel (Tiamat, Sundown, Lithium) and joined soon after by Anders Engberg (Lion’s Share, Therion, 220 Volt), Sorcerer went on to release 2 demos that sold out, attracting much acclaim that saw them play shows with Count Raven, Mezzrow and a fledgling Entombed. However, in 1992 Hagel left to join Tiamat which saw Sorcerer disband soon after. Despite Solitude Aeternus’s John Perez releasing both demo tapes on CD in the mid 90s through his label Brainticket Records, it would not be another 15 years before Hagel received the call to put the band back together, firstly for a one off show at Hammer Of Doom, but as interest rapidly grew and more gigs followed, on a full time basis. Now comes this long awaited debut which I have to say was a bit of a surprise. Despite being around when Candlemass were at their peak, the material on “In the Shadow Of The Inverted Cross” was written around 2010 and is a real mixture of heavy / epic and light doom metal – despite both the album’s title and moreover, the band’s name! That’s no bad thing however, as the musicianship is nothing excellent from Engberg’s clean soulful vocals that morph into Dio during ‘Sumerian Script’ in their more darker and epic moments to the twin guitars of Kristian Niemann and 220 Volt’s Peter Hallgren, who do indeed crank out creepy Candlemass like riffs on ‘Lake Of The Lost Souls’ as well as dish out beautiful melodies and spiraling solos par excellence. Hagel himself makes his presence felt through his deep, crunching bass lines on ‘Pagan’s Dance’ although the groovy 70s occult rock of ‘Exorcise The Demon’ and the abundant vocal harmonies on the melodic heavy metal of ‘The Gates Of Hell’ make the variety on this album go well beyond a doom album per se, but very metal it certainly is with most of the rich songs tipping the 7 minute mark, taking over two years to write, arrange and record. With Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth etc) providing the finishing touches in his mastering, the power of the Sorcerer can once again be heard to rise to paradise!