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lunes, 10 de octubre de 2016

Opeth - Sorceress (2016)


Un disco exuberante en el que seguramente es uno de los lanzamientos progresivos más esperados de este 2016 demoledor. Ya lejos del metal extremo que los viera nacer y cerca de un progresivo duro y setentero aquí los traemos, en los nuevos límites en su universo musical descubriendo nuevas sensibilidades en los suecos, porque el pozo de ideas de Opeth parece no tener fin, ahora con un disco colorido en su oscuridad y muy variado. Aquí les traemos, señores señoras cabezonas, nuestros comentarios de lo último de Opeth, sin duda una de las grandes glorias del prog moderno.

Artista: Opeth
Álbum: Sorceress
Año: 2016
Género: Heavy progresivo
Duración: 56:42 + 33:45
Nacionalidad: Suecia


Lista de Temas:
CD 1
01. Persephone
02. Sorceress
03. The Wilde Flowers
04. Will O The Wisp
05. Chrysalis
06. Sorceress 2
07. The Seventh Sojourn
08. Strange Brew
09. A Fleeting Glance
10. Era
11. Persephone (Slight Return)
CD 2
01. The Ward
02. Spring MCMLXXIV
03. Cusp Of Eternity (live)
04. The Drapery Falls (live)
05. Voice Of Treason (live)

Alineación:
- Mikael Åkerfeldt / vocals, guitars, producer & mixing
- Fredrik Åkesson / guitars, backing vocals
- Joakim Svalberg / piano, keyboards, backing vocals
- Martín Méndez / basses
- Martin Axenrot / drums, percussion




Difícil reseñar este disco, primero porque ya conocemos la musicalidad de la banda que ha vuelto locos tanto a metaleros como a progresivos por igual, otra por las incontables aristas por las que podríamos encarar cada una de sus producciones, otra por la expectativa puesta por sus seguidores, expectativas muchas veces contrapuestas entre lo que desean sus mismos fans. Nosotros hemos escuchado una edición de luxe con un Bonus CD con temas extra y en vivo, y es con la que reseñamos el disco. Obviamente este disco no se puede compartir, y siguiendo con nuestra política no compartimos discos en el blog, así que por favor no comprometa al personal y anden pidiendo links de descarga.
Pero sì pueden escuchar algunos de los videos que hemos encontrado...



Y que sirva este último e inclasificable disco de los suecos para traer aquí toda su discografía, me decidí y no solamente voy a traer todos los discos de la banda que nos faltaban, me refiero a todos los de su época metal extremo, sino trataré traer un disco de metal progresivo extremo por semana, con el eclecticismo que nos caracteriza, trayendo buena música sin importar su estilo ni su procedencia, y yo les puedo asegurar que hay alucinantes trabajos en todos lados del mundo, así que seguiremos abriendo cabezas y presentaremos algunos discazos de metal extremo que sorprenderan por su belleza mezclada con bestialidad a más de un desprevenido.
Sobre el disco, no sé por dónde encarar un análisis: desde el lado metalero, del progresivo, de su nostalgia y melancolía, de su oscuridad, de sus melodías. De metal extremo ya no tiene nada y de metal casi que tampoco, aunque conserva la misma oscuridad y los mismos ambientes opresivos que los viera nacer. Es otra de las resurrecciones de Opeth, cambiando las formas pero manteniendo su espíritu. Para quienes lo externo lo es todo, van a pensar que la banda cambió demasiado desde que nació hasta ahora, pero en verdad si miramos màs allà de lo evidente veremos que la banda siempre conservó el mismo norte, y su espíritu siempre estuvo allí, màs allà de que canten con voces guturales como si no.
En todo caso, son los cambios inevitables que podemos ver en cualquier buena banda que no para de evolucionar, y a veces nos gustan los cambios y otras no, pero no por ello debemos descartar los cambios como parte indispensable del camino que se debe recorrer para encontrarnos a nosotros mismos o que el artista necesite recorrer como parte de su desarrollo, más allá de nuestro agrado o desagrado.
A mí, perticularmente, el disco me encanta, me gusta mucho, pero quizás no me resulte perfecto porque en algunos puntos, arreglos y melodías se vuelven a repetir con lo ya hecho en discos anteriores... pero salvo este punto, la banda vuelve a buscar otra vuelta de tuerca y hasta logra encontrar algún trazo de luz entre tanta oscuridad demoníaca, y como siempre, signos de delicadeza en medio de la bestialidad que todavìa subsiste a pesar de ya no cantar con voces guturales.
En definitiva, un disco excelente que les recomiendo que escuchen con atención. Maravilloso y en una evoluciòn que no terminará aquí, y veremos adonde nos lleva todo el derrotero deliciosamente duro que van armando los Opeth a lo largo de su historia.
Y por suerte hay muchos comentarios que hablan del disco y lo hacen mejor que yo, me remito ahora a ellos:

Opeth regresan con su duodécimo álbum y tercer trabajo post-growls, y amigos diablorockers, aquí huele a victoria. En su estreno en Nuclear Blast vuelven a jugar con nuevos límites en su universo musical, poniendo el foco en las melodías, ritmos y arreglos; siendo la música lo primero, no los músicos, gracias a su virtuosismo controlado. Una de las mayores cualidades de los escandinavos es que no sabemos cuál y cómo será su siguiente paso, han impuesto una norma de ello y por eso crean tanta expectación. La evolución de Opeth es coherente en su propuesta, eximiendo al oasis de “Damnation” y llegando hasta el gloriosamente equilibrado “Watershed”, donde rompen la baraja. En “Heritage” quizás los vimos un tanto dubitativos y encorsetados, se palpaba el temor a los rencores por intentar soltar el lastre de “no más death metal y growls”. Sin embargo “Pale Communion” fluye de manera más natural revirtiendo en un mejor disco. Pero es en este esperado “Sorceress” donde se muestran aún más liberados y nos entregan un disco tan colorido y variopinto, que merece toda nuestra atención para descubrir a cada escucha matices y detalles nuevos.
Una de las mayores novedades de “Sorceress” es que miran aún más atrás del consabido prog-rock setentero, incorporando elementos del pop barroco, orquestal y psicodélico de los 60s. La embaucadora “Sorceress 2”, que abre una Cara B (el verdadero reto del disco) más de estilo que de temas como la A, podría estar perfectamente en el “Odissey And Oracle” de los Zombies o “Begin” de The Millenium, descubriendo nuevas sensibilidades en los suecos. No os extrañéis si encontráis ecos de los Kinks, Scott Walker, Nick Drake o los Who de “A Quick One..” o “Tommy”. Todas ellas referencias que convierten en delicatessen también pasajes de la sunshine progpop medieval (¿por qué no?, otra ventana que abren) “A Fleeting Glance”. Al pozo de ideas de Akerfeldt seguimos sin verle fondo, y con estos refrescantes ases en la manga vuelve a desafiar al oyente.
Aparte de para los ávidos de sangre fresca, también hay buenas noticias para los nostálgicos de los Opeth más duros. El single “Sorceress” contiene un riff dual de guitarra de lo más pesado y un estribillo a lo AIC. También “Chrysalis” y “Era” funcionarán en directo, con el ritmo trepidante y desbocado de la primera, y el pulso tan pegadizo (si, Opeth pegadizos!) de la segunda. En ambas degustamos una síntesis de prog clásico y moderno, a través de las manos maestras de Joakim Svalberg en los teclados, órganos y synths, y en brillante comunión con las guitarras. Un piano escalofriante y misterioso nos introduce en, a día de hoy, mi pieza favorita del álbum, “Strange Brew”, con esa montajazz rusa y progresión marca de la casa, hasta que la propia melodía del piano se apodera del tema. Ni con la mejor carta de hechizo del Magic.
Para “Sorceress” la banda regresó a los estudios Rockfield en Gales (donde han grabado también Queen, Rush o Judas Priest) para registrar todo en 12 agridulces días como dicen. El ambiente bucólico ayudó seguro a que “Will O The Wisp”, tema a lo “Damnation” que en cada disco ofrecen, suene tan inspirado. Al igual que la instrumental “The Seventh Sojourn”, con esos aires arabescos que recuerdan al “Friends” de Led Zep. En la mayestática “The Wilde Flowers” también asoman rasgos orientales después de escuchar cantar en un tono afectado a Akerfeldt. Aunque con tanta melancolía y oscuridad Mikael no esconde que este es el mejor lineup que ha tenido y con el que más cómodo y feliz se encuentra. ¿Qué va a decir Bigote Arrofeldt? Innegable que la banda al completo exhibe un nivel prodigioso.
La hechicera, el arquitecto y el pavo real. Ella nos conjura, él sigue creando un mundo basado en su reconcepción musical, y el pavo real nos muestra su exuberancia sin piedad. Porque “Sorceress” es eso, un disco exuberante.
Kashmir


El nuevo disco de Opeth se llama Sorceress y ya van doce en la trayectoria de la banda liderada por Mikael Åkerfeldt. Su anterior trabajo, Pale Communion (2014), nos dejó maravillados a pesar de que se consolidó el giro musical del grupo, alejándose todavía más del metal extremo y acercándose más al rock progresivo. Este Sorceress sigue esos mismos pasos.
El inicio con guitarra española de “Persephone” supone una bonita introducción acústica en la que escuchamos una voz femenina recitar “A beloved name inside my heart, a fleeting glance became the start. A missing word, I am still awaiting, a wretched deception I am creating”. Justo después da comienzo “Sorceress”, que con ese piano eléctrico nos traslada inmediatamente a la psicodelia de los años 60 y 70. Luego viene la parte de la estrofa, en la que escuchamos unas guitarras muy rudas y bien protagonistas, con un ritmo stoner machacón y un Mikael cantando (en limpio) con mucho estilo y animándose a romper la voz en las notas más agudas. Una parte muy cañera que se contrapone a la instrumental que viene justo después, en la que se intercalan partes con guitarra eléctrica en limpio casi jazzeras con golpazos a destiempo. Y para acabar una outro casi onírica que sirve de punto de partida para un final alocado y muy progresivo. Todo ello en menos de seis minutos.
“The Wilde Flowers” tiene un aire más rockero, casi heavy, con un ritmo más juguetón sobre el que Mikael se luce con una interpretación vocal chulesca y teatral. El primer tramo sigue este patrón rockero, con mucho cambio (y con una batería excelente), y a partir de aquí va iterando con partes más calmadas, con un solo de guitarra magistral y un nuevo set de melodías vocales que rozan lo creepy. Es exquisita la parte instrumental calmada, con una base de órgano y una guitarra eléctrica en limpio maravillosa que acaba sirviendo para unas cuantas estrofas más (en las que Mikael canta muy, muy bien) y, posteriormente, dan paso a un final con doble pedal ultra cañero.
“Will O The Wisp” es una canción folk con un aire muy juglaresco que se mantiene acústica hasta más o menos la mitad. Tiene un aire optimista y unos coros vocales bastante bien trabajados. Cuando entra la batería sigue el mismo patrón, con la diferencia de que poco a poco va entrando una cálida guitarra eléctrica en limpio que jugutea entre verso y verso. Una gozada para los oídos.
Agárrate antes de “Chrysalis” porque es una de las más cañeras. Arranca con potencia con un ritmo contundente y heavy y con un Mikael cantando agudo y conciso y enseguida acaba tornando en algo más progresivo con tintes de Deep Purple. Musicalmente parte de una estructura sencilla, pero la interpretación de todos los integrantes es buenísima. Ya verás cuando llegues al final, no parece la misma canción. Juegan muy bien con el cambio de intensidad y el contraste le viene genial.
“Sorceress 2” tiene un cuerpo acústico con algunos arreglos de viento y la voz de Mikael suena muy fina y angelical. Es una balada con una riqueza armónica grande y también una de las más cortas del álbum. Por cierto, sí, puedes poner “Sorceress” y “Sorceress 2” una detrás de otra y tienen cohesión musical, como si fuera una misma obra partida en dos.
Con “The Seventh Sojourn” nos encontramos a unos Opeth arabescos, con percusiones acompañando las melodías exóticas y una producción muy cuidada para una casi instrumental completísima y en la que la banda demuestra que no sólo el rock/metal se les da bien. Decía lo de casi instrumental porque al final irrumpe Mikael con unos versos etéreos sobre una cama de piano que rematan un corte extraño, pero satisfactorio.
La mejor composición del CD es, sin duda, “Strange Brew” y no sólo porque en los casi nueve minutos que dura la formación tenga tiempo suficiente para explorar estilos y modular a placer, sino porque el resultado final es de los más redondos de este Sorceress. Arranca lento y suave, con melodías preciosas, y luego entra todo el grupo con todo, con una batería impresionante y una alta intensidad que queda en impasse cuando vuelve a entrar cantando Mikael, con mucha garra y con una ambientación muy rockera. El trabajo de la guitarra solista es, simplemente, maravilloso. Mucho gusto, limpieza en la ejecución y composición por el todo, no por destacar individualmente. El pesado final es un remate más que digno para una de esas canciones largas que hay que degustar tranquilamente y con unas cuantas repeticiones.
Vuelve el aire juglaresco, esta vez en “A Fleeting Glance”, que opta después por un camino más retro con ese órgano agolpando el ritmo y la voz. Es una canción con mucho cambio, en la que los contrastes son la tónica general, aunque también es cierto que es una de las más enrevesadas y marcianas, la que menos hecha para todos los públicos está. Tiene un desarrollo muy completo, pero es lo suficientemente lenta como para que muchos oyentes se pierdan por el camino. Mi consejo: si ves que te pierdes con esta canción, intenta llegar al final, que tiene una conclusión bastante buena, con una guitarra eléctrica genial.
Muy bonito el piano inicial de “Era”, que nos sosiega antes de la verdadera tormenta. Unas estrofas rápidas y jugando con los cambios de tempo sirven para construir una canción cañera en la que Mikael canta con casi el mismo registro que ha empleado en todo el disco (sí, malas noticias si no te gusta). La repetición de las estrofas se rompe con un estribillo final muy brillante y pegadizo, algo insólito en Opeth pero que les queda muy bien. Una de las fundamentales del álbum.
Y cerramos con “Persephone (Slight Return)”, que retoma el patrón de piano inicial de “Era” y lo sirve a modo de outro reflexiva.
Conclusión: Definitivamente, Opeth es una de las mejores formaciones del rock duro actual y lo demuestran con este Sorceress. Son únicos a la hora de crear composiciones mezclando estilos, con el “progresivo” ya como bandera propia.
Dicho lo anterior, creo que no llega a la altura de Pale Communion, que fue brillante de principio a fin, sobre todo porque han optado por una vía sonora que parece demasiado repetitiva o esperable en determinados puntos. Aquí tiene mucho que ver la tarea de Mikael en la voz, que aunque la maneja muy bien, usa un registro y timbre muy parecido en todos los temas, algo que choca con la gran riqueza instrumental. También ese toque “retro” se convierte en personalidad propia, pero creo que podrían haber experimentado más con otros sonidos actuales, no tan chapados a la antigua, y el contraste habría sido mayor y más ameno de escuchar. En cualquier caso, todo esto es por ponerle alguna pega, porque en su conjunto es un genial disco y que recomendaría a cualquier seguidor del rock progresivo.
César Muela


Una hechicera seductora
La legendaria banda de Metal Progresivo procedente de Estocolmo (Suecia), Opeth, vuelve a la carga con Sorceress, un nuevo trabajo que nada tiene que ver con la banda que conocíamos desde sus comienzos y que verá la luz el 30 de Septiembre.
Esta "hechicera" nos muestra quién es con Persephone, una breve intro que nos lleva hasta su canción homónima, Sorceress, que la banda ya mostró como adelanto con un video lyric y que cuenta con un inicio muy peculiar. Sinceramente, este corte no me llamó la atención hasta que no lo escuché varias veces.
Con una estética bastante progresiva, guitarras llamativas y un teclado muy destacado, suena The Wilde Flowers. Hay que hacer hincapié en el solo de guitarra porque considero que es bastante bueno y le da personalidad a una pista que, por cierto, la banda también sacó como otro nuevo adelanto, hace tan solo unos días.
Will O The Wisp, fue otra de las canciones de avance de Sorceress. Mikael Akerfeldt le da mucha emotividad con su voz, que acompaña perfectamente al atractivo sonido en acústico de esta canción. De forma más enérgica llega Chrysalis, que me ha transmitido muy buenas sensaciones, la voz que llega a tonos más altos que en las canciones anteriores.
El tema Sorceress continúa con Sorceress 2, mucho más lento y apagado que la parte anterior. The Seventh Sojourn, es un corte que destaca por la atmósfera árabe que desprende durante su duración. Continuamos con Strange Brew con un inicio un tanto apagado, para luego romper en un sonido más “recio”, siendo ésta una de las pistas más fuertes de todo el disco.; la verdad es que se sale. Pero pronto volvemos a un estado más calmado con A Fleeting Glance, donde el protagonista por encima del resto es Joakim Svalberg a los teclados.
De forma suave y agradable, con sonido de piano, comienza Era, pero rápidamente se llena de dinamismo y suena la vibrante voz de Mikael. Es, junto a Strange Brew o Chrysalis, de las canciones más potentes del nuevo trabajo de los suecos.
Con la continuación de Persephone, Persephone (Slight Return), una breve canción de piano, Opeth cierra su nuevo trabajo mostrando a sus seguidores otra de sus variadas facetas, esta vez diferente, más progresiva , desplegando todas sus virtudes dentro de este estilo.
ElyAngelOfDeath

¿Aún no entàn convencidos? ¿Quieren algún comentario de él? Les traigo otros reviews en inglés, y si quieren más esperen un poquito porque dentro de muy poco tiempo habrá muchos comentarios de este disco, al fin y al cabo recién acaba de salir a la venta.

With 2011’s Heritage and 2014’s Pale Communion, Swedish prog darling Opeth made the drastic—and incredibly divisive—decision to abandon its beloved death metal roots in favor of a more retro and colorful ‘70s rock/jazz/folk aesthetic. Sure, creative mastermind Mikael Åkerfeldt and company had toyed with such styles before (most consistently on 2005’s Ghost Reveries), but this newfound commitment evoked shades of pioneers like Goblin, Jethro Tull, and Camel like never before. As a result, these last two LPs were almost equally embraced and rejected by devotees (to his credit, though, Åkerfeldt never seems to let fan reactions alter his artistic vision), and unsurprisingly, the group’s 12th studio offering, Sorceress, will likely illicit the same polarized feedback. Although it ventures into darker territory overall (primarily by conjuring the sinister shades of legends like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple), Sorceress is very much the third entry in Opeth’s newest phase. In fact, it ranks in-between its closest predecessors, as it’s a much more interesting and dynamic journey than Heritage, yet it doesn’t quite equal the magnum opus that is Pale Communion. Even so, Sorceress is another outstanding outing that further solidifies Opeth’s nearly unrivaled legacy.
In the full-length’s official press release, Åkerfeldt explains that he delved further into classic jazz icons like Coltrane, Brubeck, and Davis as he was developing Sorceress, which helped him “write… songs that didn’t musically connect”. He continues, “I made sure [that] if I had a song that was new sounding for this record, I’d make the next song completely different.” As for its lyrical content, he notes that some of its dreariest sentiments come from his own life, adding that they’re “misanthropic. It’s not a concept record, so there’s no theme running through [it]. Most of [it] deals with… the negative aspects of love. So, it’s a love record… love can be like a disease or a spell.”
“Persephone” opens the sequence with some Spanish-style acoustic guitar instrumentation that’s mournful yet romantic, which makes sense given its namesake. (In a track-by-track breakdown for teamrock.com, guitarist Fredrik Åkesson says that it has “a definite Ennio Morricone vibe”.) Eventually female narration plays in the background, and the entwining arpeggios are complemented by wavering synths near the end. It’s relatively humble and brief, yet it provides a fitting mood for the rest of the album; in particular, it serves as a strong contrast to the title track, whose hellish riffs and odd rhythms burst in next and immediately channel the aforementioned ‘70s icons. Honestly, it’s a bit too bassy and muddy at times, but there’s no denying its menacing allure once its initial familiarity gives way to endearing specialities with subsequent listens. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s an enjoyable, if somewhat simplistic, trip.
While “The Wilde Flowers” walks a similar path, it’s ultimately more varied and engaging than “Sorceress”, with a much catchier chorus and a better usage of Joakim Svalberg’s keyboard eccentricities. Åkerfeldt also adds more vocal elegance by reaching into his falsetto range, as well as channeling the angelic harmonies of Deliverance’s “Master’s Apprentices”. In typical Opeth fashion, a mellow section near the end effectively builds tension for the final moments of thick anarchy. Next comes “Will O the Wisp”, an acoustic ballad in the vein of “Still Day Beneath the Sun” or “River” (although it’s not quite as strong as either of those) that was directly inspired by Jethro Tull’s “Dun Ringill”. Its melodies, words, and chord progressions are modest yet undeniably touching and gripping, and it cleverly adds more layers—such as harmonies, percussion, and woodwinds—as it develops. Really, it’s as close as Opeth has ever come to releasing a radio-friendly single, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and its final melodic deviation, coupled with the ensuing guitar solo, is one of the band’s most sublime sections of all time.
“Chrysalis” packs quite a punch as it piles on swirling keyboard patterns, thunderous syncopation, and antagonistic riffs and vocals. It’s quite intricate rhythmically, and it recalls Ghost Reveries’s near perfect balance of heavy and light vintage prog rock elements (honestly, its closing segment, during which Åkerfeldt sings, “Leave it all behind you” over a sorrowful and tranquil foundation, is Sorceress’ standout passage). Despite its name, “Sorceress 2”—another acoustic guitar showpiece—doesn’t connect to the title track in any overtly discernable way; still, it’s pristine tenderness helps it shine, with more organ croons accompanying Åkerfeldt as he sings higher than ever before. There are also some extremely subtle but impactful sound effects in the background that give the selection a gently ominous nature.
Likely the most atypical composition here is the instrumental “The Seventh Sojourn”. Its organic percussion, slithering patterns, and warm, symphonic instrumentation all harken back to the Middle Eastern edge of Led Zeppelin’s revered “Kashmir” (albeit in a more calming way). Like a fair amount of Sorceress, it’s also a multi-section endeavor, with its ultimate segment abandoning the previous arrangement in favor of ghostly utterances of “hallelujah” and other phrases over soft piano and guitar notes. More than any other piece here, “The Seventh Sojourn” demonstrates how strongly Opeth continues to experiment while also maintaining what makes it special (well, aside from the death metal brutality).
“Strange Brew” burrows even further into Sorceress’ overarching occult vibe, as its initial blend of delicate piano and bass notes, paired with unassuming singing, soon transition (via a trademark Opeth guitar passage) into a purely devilish excursion. It’s easily the most intricate song on the record, rivaling both “Eternal Rains Will Come” and “The Devil’s Orchard” in terms of tricky transitions and shifting temperaments. In addition, its recurring central motif is especially enthralling and evil (it would fit perfectly as the soundtrack for a pagan sacrifice in the woods). In contrast, “A Fleeting Glance” is brighter and more inviting, with a jazzier edge and delightfully dense and regal choruses and verses that find Åkerfeldt providing some of his best singing to date. In fact, its predominantly luscious vibe makes it a beautiful showpiece from beginning to end.
The proper final track is “Era”. Following a delicate, tragedy-filled piano ode, Opeth returns to the in-your-face aggression that started the record, bringing the journey full circle in a way. It’s a fast and relentless ride whose melodies are appealing enough but don’t really stand out. To be fair, its best aspect is the falsetto support Åkerfeldt gives his dominant lead performance, as well as the general way its leading heaviness juxtaposes the serenity of its opening, which is brought back at the end—with a loud drum crash—as “Persephone (Slight Return)”, whose title is an obvious nod to Hendrix. Appropriately, the female narrator from “Persephone” comes back as well, giving the LP an even greater sense of conceptual continuity.
Perhaps more than any of its predecessors, Sorceress takes several in-depth listens to reveal all of its nuances and ambitions. At first, it may seem a bit too safe and stagnant, simply resting in the foundation that Heritage and Pale Communion established instead of pushing it further. Fortunately, though, it eventually stands on its own by offering enough distinctive and cherishable moments to prove how vibrant, striving, and creative the members still are. Beyond being a remarkable achievement that easily earns its place in the band’s canon, Sorceress cements the fact that no matter what styles the band explores or abandons—and regardless of how much naysayers complain as a result—as long as Åkerfeldt is at the helm, Opeth will continue to conjure some truly singular music.
Jordan Blum


Opeth is back, and the progressive metal world rejoices because of it. There was no metal album being released this year that I was looking forward to more than ‘Sorceress,’ Opeth’s newest observation. And it was worth the wait, as they have released their strongest album in the past decade. No, the growls are not back – I want to get that out of the way early because I know that is still the first thing nearly everyone wants to know. So if you can’t accept the band without them, you might as well stop reading right now. There are no growls, but this is the heaviest the band has sounded since 2008’s ‘Watershed.’
‘Sorceress’ starts with a brief, classical, guitar-tinged instrumental with a female spoken-word section, setting the mood for the rest of the album. And the mood is melancholy and dark, lyrically and thematically. It’s their darkest since ‘Ghost Reveries’, and the vibe of the entire album is very similar to that earlier masterpiece. The proper start of the album is the title track, “Sorceress”, is a quirky album-starter, with a bass line that almost dances underneath the music, and Mikael Åkerfeldt’s vocals riding smoothly over the top. Of all the tracks, this is the one most similar to their last album, ‘Pale Communion.’ The rest of the album is a prime example of Opeth never repeating themselves.
“The Wilde Flowers” begins with heavy drums and a heavy 70s-prog vibe. The music begins in a suitably mysterious manner, as the story of love gone wrong walks a keyboard-heavy path on jaunty jazz-infused organs courtesy of Joakim Svalberg — who I believe will go down in the annals of Opeth history as the most vital new addition to the band’s sound since Steven Wilson. He may be the second keyboardist the band has had, but he outstrips Per Wiberg on every level. The song then morphs halfway through into the album’s first true metal-sounding section, with a brief guitar heavy interlude before the lighter music returns. As the song unfolded for the first time, I was struck by the aura of vintage Opeth the song had. For lack of a better phrase, this song – and the remainder of the album – sounds more like Opeth than they have in more recent albums, and it is wonderful to hear.
As was mentioned previously, this is easily the heaviest album Opeth has made since departing from their death metal roots. And “Chrysalis” is a prime example of this. This track starts with one of the heaviest riffs we’ve heard from the band since 2008, and the song only builds from there. Now I’ve encountered fans who claim that unless the song is the next “Deliverance” or “Hex Omega”, it’s not heavy. This is foolishness. This isn’t a death metal album, but it is certainly the first prog metal album the band has made since ‘Watershed’. Both ‘Heritage’ and ‘Pale Communion’ are progressive rock albums; heavy at times, but they’re not metal albums. “Chrysalis” is a heavy, twisting, complex and headbang-worthy metal song, and the album keeps that going throughout. To say I was pleasantly surprised when I first listened through it was an understatement; I had almost thought the time of them releasing another heavy album was in the past. But Opeth are nothing if not unpredictable, and unlike a number of other very good prog albums I’ve heard this year, at no point during my initial listen of ‘Sorceress’ could I guess which direction the album was going to take. Many bands put out more complex music, but you can still see where the song is coming from a mile away. I never found that to be the case on this album.
The most unexpected direction the album takes is with “The Seventh Sojourn,” which is mostly instrumental; the main instruments being guest strings which go into a purely Middle Eastern-themed direction. One can almost see the dancing girls, although they are likely wondering what they’re doing here. This track moves directly into the heaviest track on the album, “Strange Brew.” It starts slow, with a light guitar and Mikael singing presumably to a woman of questionable values straight out of Macbeth. That is, until the rhythm section of bassist Martin Mendez and drummer Martin Axenrot drop the proverbial boom, and the shredding and impressive guitar work of Fredrik Åkesson joins with Mikael to kick the listener in the teeth with a full onslaught of metallic bliss. And although lacking in his signature growls, Mikael does let loose the first legitimate screams we’ve heard in quite some time. This song is going to be a highlight when played live.
Opeth round off this wonderfully colorful and varied album with “Era,” – a heavy, progressive track that manages to be downright catchy at the same time. Now “catchy” and Opeth are not words that normally go together, but I challenge the listener not to walk away humming the melody and chorus of this track after listening to it. Axe’s drums are especially thunderous through this song, and it’s an exhilarating way to end an album. The song bleeds into the brief instrumental bookend and brings back the woman from the opening track, giving the listener forty seconds or so to come down from “Era” and wrap up the album nicely.
There is really nothing I don’t like about this album, which I suppose is being less than critical. However, every track, be it heavy or soft and lovely, such as “Sorceress 2,” works with the songs and the vibes around it. But perhaps what really makes this album special to my ears is that even while it’s different from anything they’ve done before, it sounds more like the Opeth I fell in love with when I first bought ‘Blackwater Park’ in 2001, and was introduced to the wide and diverse sound the world of death metal could hold. And like their best work, every listen opens up something new and unheard of. I’ve been listening to it several times a day, every day, for the better part of the past month, and I’m still finding new things in it.
‘Sorceress’ is, simply put, Opeth’s finest album since ‘Ghost Reveries’, and their heaviest since ‘Watershed.’ It is moody, dark, and often mysterious, with its cover art reflecting its true nature perfectly. Once again, Opeth takes the listener along paths that are familiar, as well as through vistas untraveled. In doing so, they remind the progressive metal world why they set the standard for the genre, why they are so unique, and why they alone sit upon the onyx throne of the genre.
Jonathon Rose

I must confess from the outset that Opeth are one of my favourite bands. In this age of streaming and downloading music they are one of the few bands that I actually purchase the CD's - in this instance I went for the Deluxe Edition. As I get older I recognise influences and try to place where I may have heard certain melodies before. As my wife observed today whilst we were listening to 'Sorceress', it must be pretty hard for bands to be totally unique. We have both been fans from the days of 'Ghost Reveries' and have been to see the band a few times since then. The album opens with 'Persephone' and my wife immediately drew comparisons with Metallica's Black album and its acoustic/classical musings. The next track is the title track and the sound seemed a bit 'muddy' to me. I have listened to it on 3 different players and the organ/bass opening section was, in my opinion, a tad turgid. Look, I'm not a musician - I love this band, maybe I just expected a bit more clarity and prowess. What the hell do I know - then again I bought the damn thing so I can express an opinion. 'The Wilde Flowers' sounded ( I kid you not Rudy) like 'Gangsters' by The Specials. Listen to both songs and tell me I'm wrong - I dare you. It's there I tell you. Anyway, next up is 'Will O The Wisp' by Opeth Tull. Now I like Tull, I always have. I had my first Indian meal back in the days of yore just prior to seeing Tull play in Edinburgh. This song could have been written by Ian Anderson - I like it a lot. Did I mention that Opeth are one of my favourite bands? So far, on this album, they are a couple of my favourite bands. All this may change in days to come - as the album carves out it's own space in my head. 'Chrysalis' is an enjoyable rocker, the first standard rock song so far. I'm not saying who it sounds like - you might think I am exaggerating if I go down that path. 'The Seventh Sojourn' is my favourite track - North African/ Eastern influences on this one - Myrath/Orphaned Land - no problem there. 'Strange Brew' doesn't sound like Cream - what were the odds of that? A quarter of the way in the track comes to life and finds it's Opethosity. 'A Fleeting Glance' has dainty harpsichord at the beginning and borders on a revisitation to Tull. I wasn't inspired. 'Era' also has a low key intro before coming to life. This album will no doubt become another favourite of mine, given time. I consider this to be their most commercial album to date. I have to say that I really miss the musical virtuosity of their previous keyboard player. In my opinion Per Wiberg was far more influential to the Opeth sound than Joakim Svalberg is. His keyboard sound was better and I bet Per's set-up is different. Again, just my opinion. No doubt Joakim is a great player too, in his own right. He is in Opeth after all. By the way I'm not blaming the keyboard player any shortcomings this album may or may not have. I'll get my coat - see ya.
horza

I would call Sorceress a decent album with excellent musicianship, but it does not excite me like their older material. The contrast between extreme metal and softer moments is magical and powerful in their older albums before Heritage. I am not opposed to a more progressive direction, but they have become a completely different group in the process. Sorceress sounds more commercial compared to Pale Communion and Heritage. I definitely think they need a more raw sound if they plan on going more progressive, because they sound very over produced. I possibly need more listens to Sorceress, but it does not rank even close to Blackwater Park.
javajeff

I'll cut to the chase. This is another fine addition to the Opeth cannon and, given some time, will grow on you. Even if you are one of those Opeth fans that doesn't like anything post-Heritage, I suggest you give it a whirl.
There are three aspects of this album that I think make it the great album it is: Flow, Diversity, and Heaviness. Let me explain....
Flow - One thing that really surprised me after my first listen was how well the songs went together. You can tell that a lot of work went into deciding the order of the songs on this album. It's not that the songs sound similar; quite the opposite. Instead, it's something akin to (using a Zappa term), conceptual continuity. There are small but substantial elements of previous songs that bleed into the next tracks. It's almost subliminal, but it is there, and makes the album very enjoyable to listen to.
Diversity - As I mentioned briefly above, the songs are all quite different. Each song brings a new color and feeling to the narrative of the album. I think they did a great job mixing the more rocking songs as acoustic tracks, possibly more so than the previous two albums.
Heaviness - Yeah, it's not death metal, and some may argue it's not metal, but it's definitely heavy music. If you listen carefully, the lyrics are quite dark, touching upon the pain and suffering one can experience from love and being in-love. And, the music follows suit. There's a doom-like element pervading the album, and some very intense moments (the last minute of The Wild Flowers is a great example).
In closing, I think this is a great album that all Opeth fans should give a chance. Continued listens will pay out in dividends. It's also the type of album that you really need to listen to from start to finish. Give it a chance!
Jeremy Kanterman

I ordered this album and received it on the day it was released (September 30, 2016) and have gave it a few good listens and I am very convinced this could very well be the best album they've done since Mikael Åkerfeldt dropped the death metal growls (starting with Heritage). My copy is the American pink vinyl pressing. I was very amused the label Moderbolaget (Opeth's own personal label) spoofs the swirl Vertigo label of the early '70s. Not that the logo looks anything like Vertigo's, but the appearance and layout on the b-sides of both discs look exactly like the old Vertigo b-side, except for the logo, of course, the same white label and printing arrangements. It's blatantly obvious: Mikael Åkerfeldt is paying homage to the swirl Vertigo label, as he owns quite a few titles from that era of the label, which unfortunately costs a king's ransom, not just the hyper-rare stuff like Ben or Dr. Z, but even Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, and Gentle Giant, especially if they're UK pressings (I did get lucky and acquired an original UK swirl of Gentle Giant's Acquiring the Taste for just $20, the least I paid for a UK swirl original). Given Åkerfeldt is probably not exactly broke due to the success of Opeth allows him to spend ungodly money for those rarities (rarities high on my want list, but can't afford them if copies show up).
This album alternates between heavier stuff, and more acoustic stuff. The heavier stuff is actually heavier than their previous two albums, but if you're expecting a return of the monster growls, you won't find them here. It's basically a continuation of the heavy prog style explored on the previous two, although with more of an edge. At times I get reminded a bit of Anekdoten (a band that I'm sure Åkerfeldt is big on), especially that grungy approach. Aside from the label, the band is making tributes again, with "The Wilde Flowers", an obvious reference of the pre-Soft Machine and Caravan band, and "The Seventh Sojourn" which I'm sure is a Moody Blues reference (although the music has a strong Middle Eastern feel to it). Occasional reminders of Deep Purple surface, but with Åkerfeld's own voice. The opening "Persephone" has a rather medieval feel, reminds me Jan Akkerman's foray into medieval music occasionally found on Focus albums (like "Delitae Musicae" and "Elsbeth of Nottingham"). I am certain the death metal purists have pretty much screamed "Treason" at this band already (especially Pale Communion), forgetting there's always been underlying progressive rock elements (even during the growls), something brought more in the forefront of recent. For the rest of us, this is a really great album of heavy prog, and by far the best they've done in the post+death metal phase.
Ben Miler

Sorceress is a very versatile album, as most Opeth albums are. In Sorceress, Opeth explores new areas the band has never been to and experiments with different styles. The first single and title track sounds like progressive grunge as the chorus has a very "grungey" sound and it reveals an upbeat, powerful style without the previous usage of growls. The Wilde Flowers is a little cheesy, but the second half of the song makes up for it and the chorus grows on you. The lyrics aren't the best which is fairly consistent throughout the album. Will O The Wisp, the second single, is a nice folk sounding song. It's very smooth and relaxing and has good melodies. Chrysalis is a pretty wild song and definitely needs a couple of listens to really understand. It is very upbeat and then like The Wilde Flowers, has a calm ending which transitions nicely, directly from some solid soloing. Sorceress 2 is a very mysterious song. It's very short and features soft and beautiful vocals. The Seventh Sojourn has a tribal theme and is almost an instrumental with the exception of the ending. The ending is very mysterious and sounds like Sorceress 2. It's also the highlight of the song as the tribal sounding majority, with its repetitiveness, does not have much replay value. Strange Brew is the best song on the album. The intro is very relaxing and then about two minutes in it breaks into absolute chaos. The tempo is extremely fast and it's very satanic sounding. Then the vocals come in very strongly followed by some fierce soloing that just matches perfectly. The piano on this track is so haunting as the song slows down again. And then that killer guitar hits again and its just chilling. Everything synchronizes so well with the vocals and transitions so nicely. When it's all said and done, this song will go down as one of Opeth's greats. A Fleeting Glance is another good one with the vocals having a very light and finessed touch while matched with clean electric and acoustic, and a nice bass line. It's just a very well flowing song. Then the chorus hits towards the end of the song matched with guitar of the same melody and then a short but sweet solo. The ending is performed with great bliss and tops off a lovely listen. Era is not a highlight of the album, but it is a great ender and really sums up not only the album, but where Opeth is right now musically, "The end of an era, we'll start a new.". Sorceress is an album that rocks hard at times and shows off beauty at other times. However, it does this in a manner that we have not seen before with Opeth. The transitions in this album are stellar and the melodies are as good as ever. I do not see Opeth in decline whatsoever as they are evolving and transforming their style each album.
Grant Piccolomini

I can't say enough good things about the most recent release from Opeth. I suppose one should come to expect flawless musicianship, compositions and production from Sweden's prog-metal masters and Sorceress is no exception. Continuing in the growl free, "full on prog" vein that the band embarked on with Heritage, Sorceress is perhaps the most eclectic Opeth album released yet. Influences such as Gentle Giant and Caravan are readily detectable on this release. There are plenty of heavy moments and fret board flying pyrotechnics but there are also lovely breakdowns with melancholy and simple playing. Opeth has made a career as a band steeped in contrasts (growls vs clean vocals, heavy sections followed by ethereal light ones, even the death metal/pure prog "halves" of their discography); and Sorceress continues this tradition beautifully. I had the fortunate pleasure of seeing Opeth at Radio City Music this past weekend for an epic concert. The Sorceress material that was played (Sorceress, The Wilde Flowers and Will O' The Wisp) all delivered perfectly well in the live setting (standing toe to toe with classic material from Deliverance & Damnation, Still Life, Blackwater Park et al). This LP is my favorite effort of the post death metal phase of Opeth's career. My personal highlights from the album are: Sorceress, Will O' The Wisp, Era, Strange Brew and The Wilde Flowers, but candidly the entire album is breathtaking. While not quite a concept album, the album takes on the weighty subject of lost love and the myriad feelings one can experience as a romantic relationship erodes/dissolves/ends... The "duality of man" aesthetic that Mikael Akerfeldt has always been a master of is again on full display. Fans that won't accept Opeth without growls, should pass here for obvious reasons. Prog fans in general though would do well to seek out this record. It is a brilliant utterance from one of the most talented bands in music. Kudos to the band and all involved in the production of this masterpiece. A hearty five/five stars!!!
Umph1348

Un disco delicioso, con muchas aristas y que francamente va a dejar aturdido a màs de uno.




3 comentarios:

  1. Excelente comentario, todavia no tengo el agrado siquiera de hincarle el diente al disco pero por lo que he estado leyendo voy a echarle una oida. Me parece igual de interesante lo que comentas del metal más extremo con variantes progresivas, es hermoso el contraste q hace la bestialidad con los pasajes más calmos y empezar a conocer nuevas bandas es justo lo que andaba buscando. Gracias por todo

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