At the risk of sounding like a broken record, just when you think you have any given year figured out in the world of metal, that’s when Sweden spits out yet another classic slab of doom. Ever since Sorcerer rose from an ancient slumber back in 2010 and subsequently released the return album “In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross” in 2015, the band has been on a mission. With the release of “The Crowning of the Fire King,” Sorcerer summons all the power laid down before by the hammer of Leif Edling and strikes a deadly blow.
Where Sorcerer wins the day as one of Sweden’s most unique doom metal acts is the ability to add more traditional metal and hard rock influences rather than the usual trend of stoner/fuzz. Make no mistake about it – Sorcerer has all the doom elements that would make Mr. Edling blush (check out “Ship of Doom,” “Crimson Cross” and the title track). However, expands out that sound – most notably in the chorus of “Abandoned By the Gods,” which vocalist Anders Engberg puts a stunning touch on. Then you add the gorgeous tone and solos from Kristian Neimann and Peter Hallgren, and Sorcerer has quickly become the most identifiable band in what we lovingly call “Swedoom.”
The mix by Ronnie Björnström is perfect, setting the perfect atmosphere and tone that allows Sorcerer to walk the tight rope of traditional that never strays too far from the dungeon. There is just nothing more exhilarating than a perfect style of metal with a perfect sound. How doom can be so uplifting is a mystery to me, but perhaps the two negatives of doom’s hopelessness and actual reality produces a positive effect.
The songs on the album that your author gravitates to on nearly every pass through this masterpiece are the mighty “Crimson Cross” (a traditional and majestic doom song that perfectly represents the subgenre), it’s companion “Ship of Doom” and the soaring “The Devil’s Incubus.” Sometimes, the album is a bit overwhelming in its grandeur that taking it in small doses serves to protect the rest of the music business.
Sorcerer continues to ascend the throne of doom, a path laid by Black Sabbath, refined by Candlemass and joins foreboding offspring Grand Magus and Below. “The Crowning of the Fire King” is doom perfection, but can please fans of traditional and hard rock fans with Engbergs pitch perfect vocals and soulful twin guitar attack of Neimann and Hallgren. There is no doubt that a king was crowned here.