For the most part, Sorcerer’s third full-length album follows a similar template as its predecessors. It is closest in spirit to 2017’s The Crowning of the Fire King, consisting mostly of dramatic epic doom numbers whose trudging lengths come out to the Swedes’ longest total runtime. However, Lamenting of the Innocent mixes things up enough to feel like a logical step forward rather than a retread.
Considering how I’ve commented on Sorcerer’s uplifting approach to slow grandiosity on past albums, it’s interesting how this effort is their darkest yet. The change in rhythm section makes for more aggressive performances; bassist Justin Biggs stands out in particular as his supplementary snarls and cutting rumble give the riffs some extra muscle on songs like the title track and “Age of the Damned.” The predominately inquisition-themed lyrics and occasional backing choirs further maintain a darkly pastoral mood.
A couple outlier tracks are also sprinkled in that put the album’s variety closer to that of 2015’s In The Shadow of the Inverted Cross. “The Hammer of Witches” is the most upbeat track of the lot, mixing a King Diamond-style trot with a pounding, gritty chorus. The power balladry of “Deliverance” also makes for a drastic change of pace, especially with the guest appearances by cellist Svante Hanryson and Candlemass vocalist Johan Langquist. Context aside, the latter’s performance here is oddly closer in spirit to the Epicus days than anything off The Door to Doom.
The band’s signature elements remain at the core of the songwriting, though the newer elements alter their perception. While the songwriting still revolves around the twin guitar work and sweeping choruses, the layers sometimes carry a dissonant undercurrent that gives ominous feelings to the melodicism. Ander Engberg’s power metal wail is probably the most level force at hand, and the harsh vocals’ contrast makes them feel even stronger.
Overall, Lamenting of the Innocent is more or less of the same quality as Sorcerer’s other albums but is also their most developed effort thus far. The more aggressive inflections give some extra oomph to the drawn-out compositions while the hooks get that extra hit of drama thanks to the darker tinges. They probably could’ve dropped one of the doom numbers in favor of another upbeat song or two, but that’s hardly a dealbreaker. There are a couple adjustments that could be made, but Sorcerer is still making the most of their second wind.
“The Hammer of Witches”
“Lamenting of the Innocent”
“Age of the Damned”
“Dance with the Devil”