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Classic Swedish death metal - 87%

Omnijak, May 19th, 2009

Another day, another long lost relic of the past exhumed and cherished. This time, its Sorcery’s only full-length debut that’s receiving the attention. Sorcery back in the day played very effective, if simplistic, death/thrash. Quality musicianship of course was not the concern here, and creating the most morbid music possible was really all that mattered. Throughout the ten track terror ride, the band thrashes the listener with darkened, meaty riffs coupled with ghastly screeches from beyond. Add truly sinister samples and interludes, and the listener is simply captivated by the creativity displayed here. This is about as old-school as you can get when it comes to classic death metal. Unfortunately, Sorcery never did opted for a second full-length and like many bands before them, faded into obscurity.

Anyway, the production on this album is quite thin, but tremendously effective in painting a creepy atmosphere. I would’ve liked the drums to sound a little less flat, but everything seems to be good here. Really though, the album captures the typical Sunlight Studio production at the height of its popularity. Fans can immediately detect similiarities between other greats like Entombed, Carnage or Cemetary. The album begins with a very cool intro filled with bells, thunder and other various orchestral pieces. It immediately establishes the tone of the album; dark, foreboding and mysterious. This probably my favorite ambient piece in all of death metal, since it perfectly encapsulates what classic horror is all about. From the get-go, the listener forewarned if the impending dangers ahead, almost like entering a haunted mansion in one of the Scooby-Doo episodes. The next minute, the listener is assaulted with classic, Swedish death metal riffs. Thrash seems to be a predominate influence here, as they are easily detectable on such cuts as Immortality Given or Lucifer’s Legions. Other times it’s just tremolo-picking interspersed with doom-laden portions. The good thing though, is that the band is very adept at pacing the songs. Compositionally, the album is a fine template of varied songwriting. The thrashing, speedy sections is equally balanced by the more mid-paced and doom-laden ones. There’s also a keen sense of timing, so the listener is never bored for to long.

Furthermore, for death metal, these songs are stupendously catchy. Take the fun chorus line of Immortality Given, and you’ll probably find yourself singing, or should I say growling, to it in no time. The middle riff of Descend to the Ashes is also highly memorable and addictive. The band’s pretension never really got a hold of them and they just let the songs flow and ebb with ease. Front-man Ola Malmstrom is a solid growler, giving the album the urgency it deserves. Some of his screams are very fitting in faster sections and his deeper growls compliments the slower ones nicely. The drummer seems well-timed and the rest of the band just churn out quality riffs after quality riffs. Overall, a very spirited band indeed. So basically, anyone who remotely enjoys old-school death metal has to get this. The song titles, cover art itself screams old-school death metal. It’s been re-issued several times but the version with the “Rivers of the Dead” EP is really the best one to get.