Opeth Sorceress

Opeth Sorceress
7
While elements of progressive rock have been present in their catalogue in one form or another for years, Opeth fully launched themselves headfirst into the style with 2011's Heritage. Since then, a percentage of their following has wondered exactly when and if their metal leanings would ever resurface. 2014's Pale Communion didn't provide such a musical shift, and new LP Sorceress doesn't either for the most part, but headbangers will be thrilled to hear that their latest is the darkest and heaviest entry in the band's current phase.
 
The harder sections of Sorceress unsurprisingly draw heavily from the '70s, rock organs at the forefront as the band channel the sounds of a bygone era to fit their own blueprint. "The Wilde Flowers" stomps along soundly, flashy guitar soloing taking centre stage in between tense chorus sections, while "Chrysalis" is a welcome rollicking mid-listen wake-up tinged by shades of Pink Floyd and Emerson, Lake & Palmer with an indulgent two-minute long outro to boot. The dynamic "Strange Brew" is the highlight of the record's back half, shifting between hushed verses before a dark, searing romantic guitar lead blows things wide open.
 
In contrast, the band do their best Jethro Tull impression with "Will O the Wisp," while drawing a simple Middle Eastern melody into "The Seventh Sojourn." It's by no means new territory for the Swedish outfit, but a move that keeps their further foray into prog rock enjoyable. (Nuclear Blast)