Swedish doomsters Sorcerer has an interesting story. Formed in Stockholm in the late 80s, they’d already broken up by the time a compilation of their demos was released in 1995. And that was it. No more demos, no proper début albums. Cue twenty years of silence suddenly punctured by 2015’s In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross (Metal Blade); a massive record that was one of my favourite Doom records that year.
Seemingly on an incredible productivity streak by their own standards (they even managed to release an EP last year), the band are back a mere two years later with The Crowning of the Fire King (Metal Blade); a record that very much picks up where In the Shadow… left off both in terms of style and quality.
Much like its predecessor, The Crowning… is all about the epic: massive Iommi-like riffs, screaming air-guitar solos and belting out window-shattering high notes on the choruses. Songs all revolve around crosses, kings, and demons – Dio would be proud – all told at a steady but never-increasing pace. The likes of Candlemass, early Trouble, and Crypt Sermon come to mind, while frontman Anders Engberg is a dead ringer for Black Sabbath’s Tony Martin in his prime.
From the opening stomp of ‘Sirens’ and the dark melody of ‘Ship of Doom’ to the battle-cry of ‘Crimson Cross’ and the soaring title track, Sorcerer only deal in what they’re good at, solidly massive riffs played at the speed of slow. While the previous record had a couple of tracks in ‘Exorcise the Demon’ and ‘The Gates of Hell’ that upped the pace slightly (and even then, only to a mild trot), there’s no such break on offer here. Instead, the songs are longer, the solos more squealing, and pace even more leaden.
The only criticism you can throw at Sorcerer is the lack of progression. Pretty much every song on The Crowning… could have featured on In the Shadow…, and the only thing that really sets those two albums apart from the self-titled demo compilation is the production quality. However, they’ve perfected the style so well they could easily release a couple more records like this and still make a satisfying listen.
If you like true Heavy Metal in its most epic form, Sorcerer is the band for you. In The Crowning of the Fire King, they’ve delivered one of the most massively satisfying listens of the year.