Opeth – Sorceress (Nuclear Blast, 2016)
Heavy metal band Opeth has been gradually drifting towards progressive rock in recent albums. The band’s 2014 album Pale Communion had discarded a lot of the heavy metal riffs and death metal screaming. On Sorceress, Opeth’s new album, we find a mix of heavy metal, Deep Purple-influenced hard rock and progressive rock.
The metal tracks are straight-ahead metal so they should please heavy metal fans. If you’re into the group’s progressive rock material, you’re better off skipping those tracks.
The highlights of the album are the “progressive” tracks, beginning with the opening piece, a short instrumental titled “Persephone,” featuring acoustic guitar.
Another effective track is “Will O the Wisp” where Opeth uses strong vocal harmonies, mellotron, Jethro Tull-style folk-prog ambience and a great guitar solo.
“Sorceress 2” is a short gem, with acoustic guitars, enchanting mellotron and soft vocals.
One of the high points is “The Seventh Sojourn,” a composition that introduces exotic world music elements.
On “A Fleeting Glance” Opeth offers a good balance between folk rock and progressive rock, with some of the harmony vocals on the album and a memorable epic prog guitar conclusion.
Although the heavy metal community seems to think that Opeth has become a progressive rock band, more than half of Sorceress is heavy metal or hard rock. I look forward to future recordings where the band sheds off the metal or maybe comes up with two versions of the album: a metal mix and a progressive rock mix.