Sometimes we have to sit back and not grade something based on past albums...not judge something on how we think it should sound, but rather what it actually is. Whenever I hear that a new album is disappointing or too far away from a band's "sound", it grabs my interest. I need to see for myself what has irritated fans. And because of this, it makes me want to really delve into the new material and immerse myself in it's sonic deliverance.
OPETH haven't really been metal for a while. If you're looking for progressive death metal on "Sorceress", you won't find it here. There are splashes of 70's rock, stoner rock and a little 60's psychedelia thrown in for good measure. And there are clean vocals...nothing but clean vocals.
Opening track 'Persephone' introduces the album with Spanish guitars before leading into second track 'Sorceress', with its 60's-style Hammond organ evolving into a Black Sabbath-inspired doomy rock-out. 'The Wilde Flowers' could easily be Queens of the Stone Age if born in the 70's and not the late 90's. 'Will o the Wisp' is a quiet, soothing track to end Side 1 of the vinyl version. 'Chrysalis' opens Side 2 with fuzzy guitars and organ with a heavy 70's style of rock blending with psychedelia near the end. 'Sorceress 2' brings to mind vocals similar to Pink Floyd's Rick Wright, layered with an acoustic background. 'The Seventh Sojourn' is an epic, sweeping instrumental with fret-infested guitars until the end where faint, high-pitched vocals shimmer until the needle lifts. Side 3 begins with 'Strange Brew', a quiet intro which breaks into an organ and guitar-fused outbreak which sounds a little like classic Kansas. Layne Staley-style vocals permeate the air thereafter. The last three tracks on Side 3, 'A Fleeting Glance', 'Era' and 'Persephone (Slight Return) include a little Sgt Pepper-style vocals, piano, 70's boogie and an interstellar rock journey. Side 4 begins with 'The Ward', a slinky, progressive Yes-like track which blurs into a 60's-style ensemble. 'Spring MCMLXXIV' closes out the album with a straight-on rocker including a guitar and organ jam.
Mikael Ackerfeldt and company don't owe us anything. This is their music the way they want it. You want to hear OPETH's classic progressive death metal sound? Go listen to their earlier albums. Let the band progress, damn it. "Sorceress" is yet another accomplished musical journey in the band's long, epic career. Hail Opeth. Thank you for providing us with a new, fresh aural adventure.