Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sorcery: Unholy Creations (2011)

Case Study

I don’t normally review reissues. I don’t normally review compilations. I’ve never before reviewed a reissue of a compilation, but here we are.

From what I gather, Sorcery is one of those obscure bands that it’s cool and kvlt to name-drop, sort of like Pentagram used to be. Nobody’s ever actually heard them, but everyone in the know regards them as legends. Or so I surmise. They arose in Sweden in the late 80’s and split in the late 90’s, having released a handful of demos, an EP, and one full-length in that time. (They’ve since gotten back together and released more material, but that’s not relevant here.) Unholy Creations gathers their demos and unreleased material in one place, and was released on vinyl in 2011. Now, it’s been reissued on double CD by Hells Headbangers.

And here is where I come to the reason I rarely review compilations. The entire double-album is almost incoherent, and certainly does not sound like an album. Over two hours in length, with wildly varying (but never good) production, this thing is an oversized Frankenstein’s monster coming apart at the seams.

I approach music looking for an album experience. If you do too, then you’ll probably want to avoid this.

However, it is interesting as a case study. The early recordings reveal a band who are clumsy and inarticulate, owing much to Venom but not, apparently, knowing what they want to accomplish, much less how to accomplish it. By the end, they’re a competent death metal band, but if they wrote any death metal songs worth remembering they didn’t make it to this compilation. I actually prefer the young and dumb version of the band, because when they start falling into an established genre, predictability stifles their only real merit.

So, Unholy Creations is best left to the hardcore Sorcery fan who wants to understand the evolution of the band. If that fan exists. Otherwise, it’s interesting, but I don’t know that it’s interesting enough to spend your money on it.

The Verdict: 2 out of 5 stars

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