Sorcerer is one of the bands carrying the torch of epic doom metal that was lit by their fellow countrymen Candlemass four decades ago. With a fourth full length released last Friday, they are now reaping the high praises of both media and fans, so let’s check what the lead singer Anders has to say to Velvet Thunder.
Hello Anders! How are you?
-I have a little bit of a cold but I’m good.
Well, it’s that season after all, haha. Are you satisfied with the press reaction to Reign Of The Reaper so far?
-Oh, yes, massively. We’ve been spoiled with good reviews recently but this time, the interest towards the fourth album has really increased and the reviews have been really, really nice. So we are very happy.
Glad to hear that and I can bet you will be happy with our review too. First of all, can you clarify why you parted ways with Richard, who played in the album and now your new drummer is Stefan Norgren?
-There’s nothing to clarify, because there is no real mystery about it. He wanted to do other stuff musically so we separated. We are still good friends. We’ve known Stefan from way back and he is situated in Stockholm. So when we started to look for a replacement his name came up right away. He was maybe the first drummer we called and I was the one to reach out to him. It turned out he was a fan of Sorcerer, so he didn’t think much and said yes almost instantly.
Reign of the Reaper is your fourth full-length, not counting the compilation from the mid-nineties, even though the band was formed as far back as 1988. What was the main reason to release your first proper album 27 years after the band’s formation?
-The reason was the reunion show we got invited to. We did the Hammer Of Doom festival in 2010 and that lit the spark so to say. I had finished my time in Therion in 2001 and I haven’t played for almost a decade. I focused on my day job and my family. So when we were invited, Johnny, our original bass player, called me and I initially said “no”. But then I thought about it and decided it might be fun – it was October, we would drink some beer and play some old stuff together. So I called him back but told him I didn’t want to play with the other old members but instead have some new guys from The Haunted and Therion. So we went there and the audience was fantastic – our jaws dropped from the reception. Then we were invited to play Up The Hammers in Greece in 2011 and that was also a tremendous success. While we were at the airport on our way home, Johnny said “why don’t we make a new album, I have a few songs that we can work on”. So the rest is history – that became The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross album from 2015.
Thanks for sharing with us all those details from the kitchen about how the band was re-activated. I think the new album’s greatest strength, apart from your fantastic performance, are the very well-composed choruses. They are very memorable and attention-grabbing. Did you pay particular attention to melodies and choruses this time around?
-I don’t know. I think this is perhaps your personal perception of it. Every time we write a song, the melody is really, really important in the verses, the bridges and the choruses. The whole song has to be well written and there should be a hook that grabs you instantly. The thing we changed this time is we went back to an old-school format with only a single vinyl and a shorter album, 47 minutes long, that fits into an A and B side. Maybe because of this, we don’t have any nine-minute songs that take you on a different journey than a song that is four or five minutes. The songs this time are more compressed and maybe that’s why you feel the album is more hooky or memorable. I find it hard to say why it’s different.
Anders, at the end of 2021, you released an EP with four cover versions of some metal classics. Why did you choose those particular songs? They are now included in the limited edition of the new album.
-We started doing this during the pandemic. We didn’t know what to do, we haven’t started writing the new album yet and were kind of in a vacuum there. We started looking for a potential song to cover, maybe a pop song or something but we didn’t like anything. Then there was the idea of doing something like a rehearsal video and this turned out so good that we wanted to record it properly. The process of choosing the songs was each of us picked four songs and then we voted and left the four songs that got the most votes. I think it shows where are influences come from and where our roots are in the Seventies and Eighties. The songs and the bands that we covered are our primary influences and that’s also why we called it Reverence.
I have always thought of Sorcerer, Grand Magus, Tad Morose and Morgana Lefay in the same context as the leaders of the Swedish epic metal scene. Do you feel the same way too and do you keep in touch with those guys?
-I don’t always feel that way. I haven’t listened to those bands that much but we had a show with Tad Morose two years ago. I mean – they are good bands that try to fly the banner of epic metal high, I know that. I know we are one of those bands but I don’t know if we are in the same specter. But they are great players.
Over the years, you have recorded vocals for a lot of bands, whether as a full-time member or as a guest. Is there anything new that we can expect from you aside Sorcerer?
-I have nothing planned. I do have a young guy that I work with. He has a band called Ocriah and he released one song, I then recorded another one with him called End Of Civilization and I think I will record stuff with him here and there. People sometimes contact me and want to do something but there is so much going on with Sorcerer right now. So there is no room really for something else but if someone reaches out then I will certainly hear it and see what I can do if I feel this is something that I can contribute to and feel engaged.
What is you dream line-up to tour with Sorcerer?
-Oh, I would love to play with our doom father Candlemass at one point. That would be a real honour.
I am really surprised to hear that you haven’t played with them yet!
-No, unfortunately. But I am very good friends with their singer Johan – I’ve known him for almost 30 years and I played with his brother’s garage band. So I hope that we can play with them one day. Other than that, I have some dream bands to play with but what is the possibility to play with Iron Maiden? But I can dream.
Reign Of The Reaper is out now on Metal Blade Records and can be ordered from HERE