Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

THERION - Live at DirecTV Music Hall
São Paulo, Brazil, October 26th 2001

Review and photos by Thiago Martins
South American Field Agent for Metal-Rules.com

Therion's release Theli is one of my all-time favorite albums, and I think it's one of the best records released in the nineties. At least, one of the greatest innovator albums for me, it was the first time I've heard that combination of gothic, aggressive and classic music so perfectly. It's a masterpiece. Well, after this album, Therion's albums didn't get me. I wasn't expecting this gig to be great, but I was terribly wrong.

When the band entered the stage, playing "Ginnungagap", a song off their new album SECRET OF THE RUNES, I had the first impression that the gig would be a killer one. Christopher Johansson was a master, he conducted the band on stage, playing his guitar perfectly, also commanding the crowd, better than lots of front men.

The next song was "The Invocation of Naamah", from THELI. Hell, this album is amazing. The crowd was expecting to hear songs from it, and as they played, everyone could see that the songs worked perfectly live. From THELI, they also played on the first part of the gig the almighty "In the Desert of Set". Another great moments of the gig were some songs of the VOVIN album, like "Rise of Sodom and Gommorrah" and "Wine of Aluqah".

The songs of their current album, SECRET OF THE RUNES, are very good, they seemed to be a lot better than from their two last efforts. They also played some songs off LEPACA KLIFFOTH, like the amazing "Beauty in Black" and "Wings of the Hydra".

Unfortunately, the gig had some boring moments. The song "Enter Vril-Ya" (from DEGGIAL) seemed that it would never end. Well, I really don't like that album, but "Seven Secret of the Sphynx", although being repetitive, worked well live. "Flesh of the Gods" showed that the singer Therion recruited for the gigs is really good - he has sung Hansi Kursch parts even better than the original. And he was a lot fun, acting like a front man, no matter how far he was from the crowd.


The band has played some covers in the first part of the gig: Abba's "Summer Night Cities" was amazing, but it was extremely beautiful when they played the amazing Accept ballad "Seawinds". The band also played some older songs, from their more extreme albums. Very cool moment, Christopher has a great death metal vocal.

The gig was very cool, pleasant, the band was really entertaining the crowd, and with VOVIN's "Raven of Dispersion" they ended the first part of the set. To start the encore, THELI's "Overture" put everybody in tension. When "To Mega Therion" started, it was easy to notice: that was The song. Man, it's a big hit, and a big blast. The choirs were done perfectly, and when Christopher was supposed to sing, he didn't need it: the crowd screamed his vocal parts. Awesome. "Cults of the Shadows" came right after it. They ended the set with an old song that I didn't know.

When the gig ended, I was quite disappointed: in the other gigs in Brazil, the band had played Iron Maiden's "Revelations" and Accept "Balls to the Walls". I think that it was the first time that the gig in São Paulo had less special stuff than the other gigs in the country. But I had nothing to complain about: the concert was excellent.

The band was really good. The guitarist Kristian Niemann, with his krishna visual, the bassist Johan Niemann and the drummer Sami Karpinnen were extremely great at their instruments. I assume it must be really hard to play as perfectly as they did, considering that Therion used a lot of samplers in the gig. The choirs were awesome. Unfortunately, I don't know their names (I only know Sarah Jezebel Deva, from Cradle of Filth), but they did an awesome job, interacting their voices with the pre-recorded ones.

Well, what do I have to say about Christopher Johansson? Man, he is a genius. All his songwriting is very interesting, when it's not amazing, and he can play perfectly live, sing (growl) greatly, and, yes, he's one of the better front men I've ever seen in my life, better than a lot of singers who think they can deal with the crowd. Only seeing him running through the stage, playing all his solos, teasing the crowd, well, it would worth the money to see this gig.

After all, I was completely satisfied with this gig. I was expecting it to be boring, but Therion nailed it. One of the best gigs I've been to this year, somehow different from the others: I left the venue with a strange feeling, but it was great too.

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