REVIEW: Opeth – “Sorceress” (Single / 2016)

opeth sorceress singleI don’t usually look at singles as anything big; they are merely just used to give the fans some small inkling of what’s in store for them, whilst they usually cry out: “Please Sir, Can We Have Some More?” In this case, it’s the same with the single “Sorceress” from Opeth’s upcoming album of the same name, due for release on September 30th via Nuclear Blast Records.

It goes without saying that I absolutely love Opeth and have everything they have done, even though general fan opinion is divided of their transition into progressive rock which happened on 2011’s Heritage, continuing with 2014’s Pale Communion and, as it seems, seeming to continue with their new album Sorceress. But does their new single – a fairly length 5:49 dose of new material – seem somewhat heavier?

Let’s digest the music a bit.

It begins with same fairly rudimentary instrumentation: drums, keys, bass and the softest hint of guitars. For about a minute or so, it transitions between this fairly standard groove and this very Jazzy proggy groove. It seems fairly typical of Opeth, seeing as this is the second track on the album after “Persephone”, the band are getting into the groove (sorry bad pun) of things by jamming for a bit, before THE RIFF kicks in at precisely one-minute-and-five-seconds.

Now THE RIFF – as we’ll call it, in capital letters – will stay at the forefront of the song. Mikael’s vocals are clean but they take time getting used to. I personally think they’ve been deliberately hidden them and not placed at the front of the mix. For fans wanting the old Opeth (growls and all) to suddenly emerge from behind the bush and make an amazing record again, I think you’ll be again (find) left to be disappointed. Though I feel that this will be more liked overall with fans. Even Akesson, in a recent interview, says that this will a “heavier, darker” record than the previous two which has generally gone over all from what I’ve read on Facebook and the like.

For the last two albums, both Heritage and Pale Communion, have the band been trying to find their feet? By letting their heritage (mainly Swedish Jazz music) influence Heritage and then progressive rock on Pale Communion, will Sorceress be a more conventional (if you can call it that) record for the swedes? I certainly have grown to like “Sorceress” a lot since I’ve been listening and I can kind of see what the band are trying to do and return to the heaviness. Add a question to the previous sentence, maybe.

There’s a lot to gather from a band well-established as Opeth to suddenly break the mould and start to experiment with their music: it’s brave, it’s bold, it’s daring. Yet again I find myself listening to the single – and loving it – even though I have this attitude of “I won’t listen to anything until the album’s out” but, yet again, I find myself wanting more. It’s only August 4th?! Damn. Anyways, listen to the single yourself (down below) and make up your own mind.

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