Lamenting Of The Innocent
(Metal Blade Records)
I'll be the first to admit that when I became 'indoctrinated' with the Doom Metal sub-genre, I initially found myself embracing the most obvious of brethren (most notably Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Trouble). While this certainly allowed me to embark on a novitiate exploration, it also prevented me from experiencing a real cross-section of what it had to offer. Accordingly, you can only imagine my excitement upon discovering Stockholm, Sweden-born titans Sorcerer. Originally formed in 1988, the group issued two well-received demos (Anno 1503, 1988 and The Inquisition, 1990) before imploding due to a purported lack of motivation and time. Re-emerging in 2015 with In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross and Black (EP), they quickly asserted themselves as a new and truly dominant force. Returning with Lamenting Of The Innocent, their latest--and quite possibly greatest--offering to date, the group at long last appears destined for the worldwide recognition they so rightfully deserve.
On the stellar Lamenting Of The Innocent (2020), an expertly assembled eleven song collection of Doom-laden Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with seething The Inquisition-fueled lamentation “The Hammer Of Witches”, and the relentlessly pummeling--albeit delightfully epic--“Lamenting Of The Innocent”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Wisely attempting to capitalize on the tidal wave of momentum initiated with the release of The Crowning Of The Fire King (2017) and their long-overdue comeback, the group drives home each key focal point via a thunderous array of soaring vocals, blistering, 'Euro'-flavored fretwork (à la King Diamond axeman Andy La Rocque) and imaginatively punishing rhythms. Deftly laying the foundations for the occasionally ethereal, metallic onslaught that follows, they flex their kreativ muskels early and often, leaving their listeners battered but entirely satisfied.
Continuing with the maddeningly infectious “Where Spirits Die” and the somber, emotionally-overwrought “Deliverance” (which features guest appearances from Candlemass frontman Johan Längquist and cellist Svante Henryson), the airtight--to say the very least--combination vocalist Anders Engberg (ex-220 Volt, Lion's Share, Therion), guitarists Kristian Niemann and Peter Hallgren, bassist Johnny Hagel (Lithium, Sundown, ex-Tiamat) and drummer Justin Biggs (Dying Daylight, Hyperion, Revolution Renaissance) steamrolls ahead with a well-rehearsed ease. Having already proven themselves more than capable of re-capturing the essence of their past--obscure or otherwise--without, relying too heavily on the significance their main influences, the group fires on all cylinders, effortlessly exceeding all but the most painfully optimistic of fanboy expectations. Forging ahead with a remarkable precision, they rumble through each composition with a 'glowing' feeling of accomplishment.
Mixed and Mastered by the acclaimed Ronnie Björnström (Chainsaw Carnage, Bone Gnawer, Solution .45), other standouts, including the lumbering--yet hook-laden--jewel “Age Of The Damned”, and the exhaustive, equally impressive closer “Path To Perdition” only reaffirm the group's rightful position within the hierarchy of the genre. Sonically succeeding where many of their would-be contemporaries have repeatedly failed, the end result(s) of the group's more-than-considerable efforts deliver the proverbial goods with the same blood-thirsty fervor that has personified their recent recent past. While one might effectively argue (and I, for the most part at least, would wholeheartedly agree) that it's far from groundbreaking and certainly not revolutionary, the 'bulk' of Lamenting Of The Innocent ultimately succeeds without overthinking the creative processes involved or, more importantly, the yielded final product, a much-welcomed factor seemingly guaranteed to appeal to their fanbase.
At the risk of once again repeating myself, the question remains: what, exactly, are you all waiting for? As an aficionado of all things Heavy Metal and/or Metal-related, you owe it to yourself to wholeheartedly partake. With the majority--if not all--of the decidedly all-consuming wares contained herein resonating throughout with an undeniably refreshingly sense of originality and uniqueness, the oft-mighty Lamenting Of The Innocent (and, as a result, the woefully-underrated quintet itself) is one of the finest new releases of the rapidly waning year. Love 'em or loathe 'em, this is quite possibly as good as modern day Doom Metal will ever get. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of an quasi-Old School alternative to the blasé, paint-by-numbers 'New Rock' that so often pollute the charts and airwaves with their auditory atrociousness, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane catholicons for whatever it is that ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Lamenting Of The Innocent (2020)
The Crowning Of The Fire King (2017)
Black (EP) (2015)
In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross (2015)
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