"In the Shadow Of The Inverted Cross"

By Colonel Angus

I received a bio on these guys and to be quite honest, once I heard the first chord, I didn’t care where they came from or what bands they played with in the past.  This batch of songs is probably the best thing I have heard this year; talk about being blind-sided.  I was not expecting something this good.  In the past, I regarded anything on Metal Blade Records as being top notch but there have been a few releases that left me scratching my head.  "In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross" is most certainly not one of those disks.  Upon first listen, I had the same feeling I had when I first heard the Dio era Sabbath records.  There is so much heavy doom riffing that you would be hard pressed not to make that comparison.  After running through this CD multiple times, I’m having a hard time choosing a couple of tunes that rise to the top because all of them are pure melodic doom with a high level of quality both in the playing and song writing.

While the Black Sabbath influence is there in the forefront, there are also little pieces of other influences imbedded in there like the Thin Lizzy twin guitars at the start of “Prayers For A King”.  There is also a little Yngwie Malmsteen at the beginning of “The Gates Of Hell”.  It is those little bits that are added to the doom riffing that really makes Sorcerer unique without re-inventing the wheel altogether.  Starting with the first tune “The Dark Tower Of The Sorcerer” all the way to the final military drumming sounds of “Pagans Dance”, you are led through a journey of tunes that could have easily been a lost Black Sabbath album circa 1982.  Listing each cut here would make no sense because each one is worthy of multiple listens.  I have played this record about 20 times all the way through and each time I hear something new; such is the trait of a great album.

Kristian Niemann and Peter Hallgren are conjuring up riffs that the master, Tony Iommi, would give his stamp of approval.  Like Iommi, Niemann and Hallgren have the gift of making doom riffing very melodic and memorable.  The other ace in the band is Anders Engberg.  His vocal performance throughout the album reminds me of the late, great Ronnie James Dio; not that he sounds like him.  It’s more in the way that he sings and phrases the lyrics.  Johnny Hagel (bass) and Robert Iversen (drums) also add to the doomy bliss of this CD by laying down a very solid rhythm.

I know I have gushed over "In the Shadow Of The Inverted Cross" and I don’t want to scare away people into thinking that it can’t possibly be that good.  My suggestion is that if you love Sabbath, Candlemass, Trouble, or any of the other doom merchants, then get "In the Shadow Of The Inverted Cross".  You will come to the same conclusion as I did when I first heard these guys.