Sorcerer: Epic Doom Metal Supreme
Sorcerer is epic doom metal in its finest hour, featuring former members of classic bands such as Therion and Tiamat. Fans of the almighty Black Sabbath and the long running Candlemass will surely be inspired by the sonic artistry Sorcerer unleashes upon the world at large. The Crowning Of The Fire King is Sorcerer’s latest magnum opus, a vast collection of metal hymns now available from Metal Blade Records. In this interview, we chat with guitarist Kristian Niemann to discuss the next compelling chapter of the Sorcerer legacy, time spent with Therion, selections from The Crowning Of The Fire King, favorite beer, and a whole lot more! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Sorcerer, and how long the band has been together.
Kristian: My name is Kristian Niemann and I play guitar in the band. The other guitarist is Peter Hallgren. This new iteration of Sorcerer has been together since 2010 when the band reformed for an exclusive performance at the Hammer Of Doom festival in Germany. The line-up today is Johnny Hagel (b), Anders Engberg (v), Richard Evensand (d) and Peter and me on guítar. Richard was actually in the band back in the early nineties so 3 out of 5 original members ain’t bad.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
Kristian: We’re from Stockholm, Sweden and the scene is really thriving. Some of the best metal bands in the world reside here; we have Opeth, Meshuggah, Candlemass, Europe, Entombed, Dismember, Krux, Avatarium etc etc and of course the best guitar player in the universe is from here – Yngwie J Malmsteen :)
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title The Crowning Of The Fire King?
Anders Engberg answers: No , there is no story or concept on this album. It’s just the coolest title on the record so it was only logical that that became the album title.
Select two songs from The Crowning Of The Fire King and what inspired the lyrics.
Anders Engberg answers: All lyrics are inspired by the music and the feeling of the songs and of course the fact that we play epic doom so the lyrics has to fit that genre. When a song is created the melody is the first thing that gets written. After the melody is done the title is set to fit the mood and the melody. You could say that the title is the key to the rest of the lyrics. So the first song is Sirens. Sirens is kind of up-tempo to be doom and the rhythm drives the verse. The bridge is somewhat dreamy and mesmerizing and the concept of mermaids or Sirens is intriguing.
The second song is Crimson Cross. This song inspired through the verse and the chords that are a bit “arabian” so the lyrics became a story about the Templars and the Crusades.
Who did the cover art for The Crowning Of The Fire King and how much input did you have on it?
Kristian: Colin Marks at Rain Song Design did it, a very nice and talented fellow. Yes, we had a lot of input of the design of the cover for the album and it turned out great I think. We sent him images and ideas of how we thought the cover should look and he took those ideas and ran with it. Then he had free reins to come up with covers for the three singles Sirens, Ship Of Doom and Devils Incubus and he did a truly splendid job. The Incubus cover art is my favorite, I think it looks absolutely badass.
Kristian, you were a longtime member of Therion. How did you become involved with Sorcerer? Also include what it was like working with Therion?
Kristian: I got asked by Anders and Johnny back in 2010 when they wanted to reform the band for the one-off show at the Hammer Of Doom festival. I knew them from my time in Therion; Anders sang backup (and some lead) and Mr Hagel I met through then-drummer Sami I think. I was playing with Snowy Shaw at the time and wanted to do even more live playing so when they asked me it was a no-brainer.
My stint in Therion between 1999-2008 was great. I loved recording and touring with the band and we went all over the planet several times so I have some very fond memories from that time. I met my wife on one of the tours so yeah, good times!
Your bassist Johnny Hagel spent some time in Tiamat. How did he become involved with Sorcerer?
Johnny Hagel answers: I actually founded Sorcerer before i joined Tiamat so that is how i got involved.
What could one expect from a live Sorcerer show?
Kristian: Killer songs, awesome vocals, great playing….just a kickass evening of solid Epic Doom!
Has Sorcerer ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Kristian: We have not but that would be certainly be a dream come true. I love touring the States and would wet myself if we got the opportunity to play there. I lived in LA for 2 years back in the 90’s and went back twice on tour with Therion but I miss it so much. I have a constant craving for In ’N’ Out burgers, Taco Bell, Lifesavers butterscotch candy…..so much good stuff that I can’t get here in Sweden.
If you could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Kristian: Easy. Iron Maiden back in their glory days (83-86). I loved Maiden back then (still do), they totally shaped my musical taste and who I am today and I would give both my testicles to get a chance to tour with them.
What is your favorite beer of choice and why?
Kristian: Aaaaaaah, I see now we’re getting to the important questions!
My absolute favorite beer is belgian Trappist beer and among those the reigning king is the Westvleteren 12 and it’s little cousin the S:t Bernardus 12. They are both quadruples I believe which means they contain over 10% alcohol. There’s just so much taste and goodness in them! If you’ve never had a Trappist beer before and you’re used to Heinekens, Coronas, Guiness, or even IPAs well…..you’ve got something special to look forward to.
When you look back on your first album In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross, what do you think of it now?
Kristian: It’s still a great album with some of the best songs we’ve ever written (Lake Of The Lost Souls and Prayers For A King for instance) but I prefer the production on the new one more because it’s heavier and punchier. There’s more weight to it.
What’s up next for Sorcerer?
Kristian: We are currently booking gigs and we are starting rehearsals next week. This line-up has never player together so that’s gonna be interesting and a lot of fun.
Any final words of wisdom?
Kristian: I just wanna say a big thank you to everybody who’s supported the band through the years. We are incredibly grateful for all your support and if I could I’d personally buy each and everyone of you a beer!
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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