Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Album Review: Sorcerer - The Crowning Of The Fire King

Here's the thing about doom metal; unless it's in the hands of experts, it's far too easy for the music to get bogged down in slow tempos that don't allow for any kind of musical development. I've heard more bad doom that is just one slow riff after another, with a singer copying Ozzy's lazy, 'repeat the riff with the vocals' style for a lifetime. So when something comes along that does doom the way it's supposed to, I have to thank the metal gods. There was a time when Candlemass did that, but their fake retirement has led to anger upon my part, and bad music on theirs.

That's where Sorcerer comes in. They have picked up the slack, and are showing the rest of the world that doom can be dark and heavy, sure, but also beautiful and melodic. If you want to use the description 'epic doom', it wouldn't be wrong. This music is big, burly, and gorgeous as well. Trying to pull that off is not an easy feat, and Sorcerer has done it with aplomb on this album.

I never heard any of Sorcerer's previous material, but I can't imagine being able to do doom any better than this. Everything about "The Crowning Of The Fire King" is nearly flawless, from the deeply emotional vocals, to guitar solos that serve as additional melodies, to riffs that find the perfect balance between heaviness, groove, and melody. There are lengthy tracks, but everything in the songs is essential, so they never feel their length. Much of doom metal can drag along on one or two repeated riffs, but these are real compositions that ebb and flow, build and deconstruct, until they reach a conclusion that makes sense.

The comparison that comes to mind is While Heaven Wept's "Vast Oceans Lachrymose". That's the only other doom album I can ever recall hearing that had as much attention paid to the details as the crux. That album stunned me at the time with the depth of the layered music setting a beautiful stage for the songs. The problem was the album only had three songs that lived up to atmosphere. Sorcerer is able to achieve a similar feeling, but carry it through with a full album of great songs.

I don't need to break this down track by track, because this is an album that is a cohesive whole, where every song is as good as the one before and after it. "The Crowning Of The Fire King" could just as easily be the crowning of the doom kings, because after this effort, I can't think of a finer doom band working today.

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