Welcome to instalment number twenty-seven of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. No big intros from me today, except the usual reminder to anyone new to this series, to check out the links at the bottom of the post to find out who made the cut, from 30 down to 5, as well as my lists from previous years too.
Lamenting Of The Innocent
Metal Blade Records
Score Of Much Metal: 97%
2020 might have been a rubbish year in so many ways – and continues to be so – but one of the biggest highlights for me was seeing Sorcerer live on stage in their native Sweden, supporting Evergrey. Malmo might not be the prettiest city, but for one night at the beginning of the year, there was nowhere else in the world that I wanted to be, as it played host to a killer gig.
Fast forward a couple of months and I was able to get my ears around their new album, ‘Lamenting Of The Innocent’. At the time, I was impressed, lauding it as the perfect successor to ‘Crowning Of The Fire King’. I was able to interview guitarist Kristian Niemann over the worst internet connection ever at the same time, but nevertheless, the Sorcerer magic was inside me and since then, it has only got stronger. Melodic doom metal has never sounded so good.
All those longer, slow-burn tracks have finally hit home with real power, meaning that they compliment the most instant classics, such as the title track, and ‘The Hammer Of The Witches’, the songs that you hear once, love, and then sing along to with all the power and passion you can muster. It means that ‘Lamenting Of The Innocent’ is not ideal background music while you work, because I find myself getting so invested in the music that work suddenly finds itself usurped and temporarily on the back burner.
Crushing riffs, delicate solos, passionate vocals, a bruising rhythm section, and majestically-crafted compositions across the board; it is all here. It is all here, and a lot more besides. It all means that there was rarely any real doubt that this record would find itself nestled high up in my end-of-year list. Absolutely brilliant and a worthy member of the Top 5 Club!
What I wrote at the time:
“…despite the line-up tinkering, the soul of Sorcerer is totally and unequivocally unchanged. As such, don’t expect any left-field turns or big surprises in the output of ‘Lamenting Of The Innocent’. If you were a fan of the last record, prepare to bow down to this new one, for it is very much cut from the same cloth. By that, I mean that Sorcerer deliver another ten tracks of molten, epic doom metal laden with gigantic riffs, rousing melodies, stunning lead guitar flamboyance and mesmerising vocals. On top of that, the songs are laced with great atmospherics and the kind of storytelling that only comes from this genre of music. In short, it’s bloody marvellous.
The atmosphere built via the intro then explodes into ‘The Hammer Of The Witches’, a glorious composition that encapsulates everything that makes Sorcerer a genre leader. There’s a definite 70’s doom vibe to the central riff that quickly emerges, ably assisted by some great drumming and bass work from Evensand and Biggs respectively. The riff is infectious and gallops with real intent and purpose, throwing a nod towards the hard rock genre also. Engberg soon joins the party and layers the music with his distinctive and impressively smooth delivery. The chorus is an instant hook-laden hit, the kind you’ll be singing all year. It is then followed by ‘Burn, witch, Burn’, lyrics that are chanted and in my mind’s eye, I envisage a sea of festival-goers throwing their fists into the sky in unison, baying for the blood of the witch. Sorcerer are not done yet, for there is a momentary spoken-word section, quickly replaced by the first lead guitar extravagances.
Topped off with a superbly rich sound, courtesy of the band themselves and a mix/mastering job from Ronnie Björnström, Sorcerer have proved to me that ‘The Crowning Of The Fire King’ was no mere flash in the pan; ‘Lamenting Of The Innocent’ proves beyond any doubt that Sorcerer are the real deal, a special band that can create that perfect blend of doom heaviness and epic, anthemic melody. I implore you to hunt this album down because you’ll not hear the like of it again this year, or perhaps even longer. If ever.
Read the full review here.
The list this year so far…
If you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here: