Album Mini-review: Opeth — Sorceress


File next to: Porcupine Tree, Metallica

On their 12th studio album, Swedish group Opeth continues its move away from its death metal origins. Fans who cherish Mikael Åkerfeldt‘s Cookie-Monster-from-Hell vocal growling will be disappointed, but their loss is everyone else’s gain. In fact Opeth has been on this path for years now; their current sound maintains the uber-heavy riffage of old, but contextualizes it amid melodic minor-key excursions. Tracks like “The Wilde Flowers” – the song title is a nod to the late ’60s Canterbury scene – have it both ways, with organ runs that channels early ’70s Deep Purple, and a central melody worth of Metallica at its best. Spanish guitars, Mellotron and vocal harmonies abound on Sorceress, offering up bone-crushing power and nuance in equal doses. It might not please aficionados of black metal, but with Sorceress, Opeth has crafted a work that rivals their very best.