In some sense Sweden's Opeth can remind you of Forrest Gump. Led by the mercurial chameleon Mikael Akerfeldt, Opeth and their music are "like box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get." But in another sense, not so much, at least in the albums of recent years. Yet their latest and twelfth album, Sorceress, still allows for some mystery.
With several spins swimming in my mind, my first instinct, before adding my words to what is probably a large cacophony of many reviews, is to refer you what Akerfeldt himself has said about Sorceress. The description of the album on the band website biography page is quite complete and instructive. It literally gives you inside information into Akerfeldt's writing process and the album development. Several things jumped out for me. One was Akerfeldt referencing the influence jazz in his composition, including inspiration from John Coltrane. Yet jazz influences are nothing new to Opeth, not in the least. Another was Akerfeldt writing songs that were different, not necessarily musically connected. On these two points, among many, Akerfeldt has succeeded.
For one, you can hear that jazz rock fusion at the start of the title track, before it turns to heavier bent, with large riffs and a punchy bass. Then it's second part, Sorceress 2, is largely acoustic guitar, ethereal keyboards, and voice. Yeah, two songs with similar names with no obvious musical connection. The same can be said with Will O The Wisp and the following Chrysalis. The former spins like something folk, even something towards early Seventies English prog, perhaps a cross between Yes and Jethro Tull, with some early Genesis thrown in. The latter is a brisk rocker with laudable explosive drumming and some fire breathing guitar licks. Others, like The Seventh Sojourn and A Fleeting Glance offer a marriage of acoustic and electric guitar with larger symphonic tones, with the latter song returning to propose some more subtle fusion aspects. The guitar solo near the end is breathtaking.
There are some highlights of Sorceress, and perhaps a few too many words. Suffice to say, with Sorceress, Akerfeldt and Opeth continue be creative and engaging, offering challenging, yet accessible and entertaining, progressive music. Easily recommended.
Suffice to say, with Sorceress, Mikael Akerfeldt and Opeth continue be creative and engaging, offering challenging, yet accessible and entertaining, progressive music. Easily recommended.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]