Friday, October 7, 2016

OPETH - Sorceress

Opeth - Sorceress (2016, Nuclear Blast)

There’s a duality in every band’s evolution that concerns both the band and the fans. First, the band doesn’t want to play the same songs over and over again and the fans don’t want to ‘’pay’’ for the same album either. However, once a band has its own sound the fans expect it to be similar while getting better at each subsequent record. That’s a challenge for any musician to walk that thin path. When the case is that a band gets tired of their previous sound and makes a left turn, it looses fans but might get some others.

Since Heritage, Opeth has pursued a prog-rock transition from its Death Metal highly infused with Prog elements to a more 1970’s Prog Rock persona. When aging musicians compose music they get much closer to their earliest influences and Mikael Akerfeldt is no exception. Hitting his Genesis, Yes, and Rush buttons rather heavily he has been sporting Camel t-shirts way before turning his back on growling on records.

This triptych of progressive scale has been going on for three albums now and many early fans of the band couldn’t digest it just yet that Opeth isn’t their Opeth anymore. With closure, Pale Communion might be one of the the most interesting albums of the 21st Century. Even if at its release yours truly wasn’t really hot neither cold about it but just sensing that it was the right evolution of the average and a bit underrated Heritage.

Now that the way is paved for the prog expectations, Akefeldt and his accoustic guitar are a bit too present on Sorceress and sadly it overshadows the talent of his band. The best songs are when the full band is present and really goes at it. It has its moments like ‘’Sorceress’’, ‘’The Wilde Flowers’’, and ‘’Chriysalis’’ are excellent pieces of music.

With thirteen songs, Sorceress feels a bit overcrowded and, at some point, the good moments seem to not make up enough for the okay ones. When compared to Akerfeldt’s’’BFF’’ Steven Wilson has achieved better albums in the last couple of years with Hand. Cannot. Erase. and The Raven That Refused to Sing. All that, under his own name moniker and not under Porcupine Tree. It might be a sign that Akerfeldt keep his solo songs under his name and do band music with his band.

This critic on the artist is solely on the purpose of reviewing this album and the fact that Sorceress has this dual personality and it would have gained to have a more homogeneous song composition under two separate artist names or two distinct albums.

This said, Sorceress hits the mark with many great moments but still seems to be looking for itself other times. Being a huge fan of 1970’s prog-rock myself I am loving the explorations of the genre and I think Opeth is genuinely good at it. However, I like when they keep a certain edge when trying to emulate their influences. This is what’s really lacking here.


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