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Sorcerer - In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross


by Matt Hensch

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"In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross" was guaranteed to be awesome. First off, we are treated by the presence of several musicians once involved in some accomplished bands, including Johnny Hagel, who served as bass player during the golden age of Tiamat. Most important, Sorcerer functioned as an epic doom metal band honoring Candlemass, and if you listen to the demos they released from 1989 to 1992, you will quickly find they meant business. "In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross" is really the first major release from this cult squad, and while the times have changed, the timelessness of this style has not. Here is a record where magic comes alive in the form of grand Candlemass-esque doom that is dripping molten lead, hotter than an overcooked microwave dinner.

While it's simple to dismiss the band as another bunch of old farts in need of their daily medications and cups of applesauce giving the metal thing another chance, it is important to point out that Sorcerer does what it does much better than I had anticipated. This thing is up to its eyeballs in imposing Candlemass-esque hooks and riffs, giving proper justice to the monumental foundation of doom. While mostly burning and slow, there are some up-tempo bits, namely "Exorcise The Demon," utilizing a heavy metal gallop akin to a Maiden-meets-Sabbath sandwich, and "The Gates of Hell," a fist-raising anthem of steel. This style is what Sorcerer brazenly masters from opening riff to closing note, setting the stage with balls-annihilating grandeur and keeping it accordingly.

"In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross" is musically phenomenal. I must say, however, it wouldn't be the same without the presence of Anders Engberg, whose vocals are excellent. Clearly on the level of doom legends like Messiah and Tony Martin, he nails every line with gusto and might, practically kicking the room temperature of the doom up to the boiling point. His excellent performance walks hand-in-hand with the choruses, which are superb, let me tell you. Totally catchy and just downright awesome, it's impossible to shake the memorable parts of "The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer" or "Sumerian Script" hours after the record stopped playing. Sorcerer isn't caught up in the appeal of sounding retrogressive; this sounds like the stuff the dudes of Sorcerer had longed to play for years.

Cycling back to Engberg, what he does to "In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross" is add a metric ton of personality to an album already spraying around lethal amounts of hooking red-hot guitar parts as if discharged from a geyser of stellar riffs. Engberg and the general style evoke a vestige of Tony Martin's stint in Black Sabbath, a particular era of that group I'm fond of, because it rules, along with the Candlemass similarities. What Sorcerer does here is fantastic, one of the better slabs of honest, robust doom metal that I've experienced of late, and surely nothing to skip over for aficionados of the aforementioned sound.

Sorcerer - In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross
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