Anders Engberg: Vocals
Kristian Niemann: Guitar
Peter Hallgren: Guitar
Justin Biggs: Bass
Richard Evensand: Drums
Since they first started Sorcerer have been labeled 'epic doom' - a tag that fits but does not define them, and this has never been more evident than on their third full-length Lamenting of The Innocent. "This time out we wanted our sound to grow in every direction and not be limited in what we do," they assert. "We wanted to capture the same vibe as on The Crowning of The Fire King (2017) but to also bring something new into it, so this time around, for example, we have some growling parts, and we think we have a pretty diverse album in many different aspects. Some parts are heavier and faster compared to what we've done before while some other parts are softer and more mellow. We wanted our sound to expand in every direction. We don't really think about writing music to sound like Sorcerer, we just make music that we like, but for us it's important to have great melodies, an ambient, big sound, heavy, badass riffs and a big epic chorus; that's a Sorcerer song in a nutshell, at least at this point in time."
The Swedish quintet return with a revamped lineup to that which featured on The Crowning of The Fire King, with longstanding guitarists Kristian Niemann and Peter Hallgren and vocalist Anders Engberg joined by bassist Justin Biggs and former drummer Richard Evensand, both bringing something new and fresh to Sorcerer. "Justin has contributed his playing as well as his voice and he wrote some of the lyrics too. It feels really good to have a new guy come in and have a distinct input on the album right from the start, and that was something we really wanted. We didn't want just 'a bass player', we wanted a contributor." Evensand played on Sorcerer's second demo in the early 90s and has since played in numerous heavy hitting bands but makes a welcome return to the fold. "He's an absolute monster on the kit, having both the technique to pull off some absolutely sick stuff in terms of fills and beats but he also has a deep, deep groove. That combination is rare to say the least. Most guys have one or the other." With the lineup in place they set to work, with the intent of having the album out before summer festival season 2020. To do so, they commenced writing in January 2019, giving themselves a full year to realize the record. As has increasingly been the case, the band let their influences shine through, breaking up the epic doom with flavors of prog, post-metal, classic heavy metal and hard rock. "We play music that relates to when we grew up, with bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and such. They are all influences and we like to build that dramatic touch into our music. It's important for us to create a feeling in the song that will take you, maybe, to another world or a fantasy place somewhere, and the bands we grew up with are the masters of this. By the same token we are also influenced by more contemporary acts and their approach to arrangements and orchestration. Inspiration can come from anywhere but we all know when we've captured that 'Sorcerer sound'. It feels like home."
The album title itself is a reference to The Inquisition and witch crazes, both from a regular person's point of view and that of the Church, and to the lamenting that occurred during a time of great oppression and terrorization. "We more or less dwelled on the human condition aspect, like the stages of grief or mourning. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We thought this could be applied because the witch craze was, in a sense, a mass trauma on multiple individuals. We all have lost someone as well and felt it unfair or like it wasn't happening. We kind of took from that on a personal level. By mixing the two, we think it gives an honest description of the circumstances." The track "The Hammer Of Witches" tells a story about the Catholic churches, knights riding through the country to find and put all witches on trial using their powers to hunt down the innocent and cleanse village after village from Satan's collaborators, while "Condemned" is about a woman accused of being a witch waiting for her burning and the agony she feels looking out of the barred cellar windows towards the square where the pyre is built. Closing track "Path to Perdition" is perhaps the most ambitious track lyrically, belonging to the 'anger' stage of grieving. "It describes the locals dragging the priest from the confines of his sanctuary and eventually throwing him on the pyre, as he, the priest, had done to so many innocent people. It describes their appetite for revenge and, we feel, justifies or affirms the act of their vengeance. In the middle of the song there is an interlude of sorts, where it describes what the priest is going through. We wanted it to be a contrast to his divine delusion of grandeur. Making sure that he wouldn't cross into the afterlife, into heaven, but rather transcend into a realm of nightmares tailored to his own depravity. While the act of burning is horrifying, we think the thought of leaving behind a legacy of pain and torment is, in its own right, torture; and a well-deserved death sentence or punishment for this character in our narrative."
Producing the album themselves, the band are self-confessed hardcore perfectionists who will accept nothing but the absolute best in every aspect of the recording process. The only collaborators involved in the making of Lamenting of The Innocent were Ronnie Björnström, who both mixed and mastered the album, and Conny Welén who contributed to the songwriting. "They have been with us for these three last albums and they are key parts of the Sorcerer sound by now. Great guys and real pros. Ronnie we feel is very underrated as a mixer/engineer; he gets killer tones fast, he's always cool and level-headed no matter how much we bombard him with emails, phone calls, questions, requests, last-minute changes etc. It's a pleasure to work with him." The track "Deliverance" also features the album's only guest appearances, Johan Langquist of Candlemass and renowned Swedish cellist Svante Henryson. "They truly brought another dimension to that song and now it's impossible to imagine it without their contributions, which is the way it should be when you bring guests in to perform; they are there to provide something you couldn't do on your own."
All of this has come together to make the most rich, passionate and intense Sorcerer album to date, and it opens the door on the next exciting chapter for one of Sweden's finest exports. Looking ahead to where they would like to be a year from now, their intent is simple: "Touring Europe, Asia and the US, making sure people get a chance to see Sorcerer live. That is our main priority for the upcoming year".