Reign of the Reaper

One of the surprises being a metal reviewer (not journalist, mind you), is receiving the new promo for a band of whom I have been a fan for a while now. It’s even better when it’s out of nowhere. In this case I am of course referring to Sorcerer and their new, streamlined album Reign of the Reaper.

If you’re unfamiliar, Sorcerer plays a traditional style of doom. Points of reference for me include Candlemass and Dio-era Black Sabbath. It’s a style that’s easy to get wrong and much more difficult to get right. If you don’t enjoy the sub-genre, who even are you? How did you get into my room? Did Lucius let you in? I swear he’s getting gullible in his twilight years.

Oh, the album? Let’s highlight a few tracks, despite there being zero reason to exclude any. The title track, “Reign of the Reaper” is up first because my borderline OCD ass always goes in order. In Sorcerer’s music, what stands out are the epic riffs of Kristien Niemann and Peter Hallgren, as well as the old-school, doomy, glorious vocals of Anders Engberg. If there’s an heir to the throne of Candlemass’ Johan Lǟngquist, it’s Anders. It doesn’t hurt that all other performances are top-notch, but he is the star.

Slightly further into the album, “Eternal Sleep” is perhaps what one could call a ballad. Its main verses are quiet, but the pre-chorus, as well as the chorus, are rousing. Well, relatively speaking, they certainly do not go full speed. When the track gets doomy and heavy for a moment after the second chorus, it makes way for some solo trade-offs. Excellent, thanks, dudes. Maybe I should quit this whole music thing.

At this point, it must be said that there is a slight drop-off in quality from the first half of the album to the second. It is by no means abrupt and a reflection of the quality of the second-half tunes, it’s just that it’s slightly front-loaded. However, excellent tracks still abound, such as the final one “Break of Dawn.” Sorcerer is at their best when they pummel you with their brand of slower epic doom, mixed with Anders’ excellent vocals. You say; “Well, that’s what they do, right?” Yeah, exactly. They’re always at their best. Any more questions, dipshit? The final track is certainly in that “epic” arena, as the first half is quite heavy, and then there’s a moment of folk, followed by another solo trade-off. It’s a stellar, appropriate way to end.

I must admit this almost slipped by. I received the promo, listened a few times, and enjoyed what I heard, but it was at the risk of getting lost amongst all the other promos on which I was working. I then realized, based on the band’s track record, they deserved more listens. I’m glad I kept going back because Reign of the Reaper rewards patience. While catchy choruses and silky-smooth melodies do stand out on initial listens, it all comes together once the apt amount of time is given. I’m by no means the doom expert on staff, but I am one of the top ten. The fact that I don’t believe we have 10 writers shouldn’t dissuade you from giving these dudes your money.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
December 8th, 2023


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