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Next review: » Therion - Lemuria/Sirius B
Released: 2004, Nuclear Blast Records
Like many people, my first introduction to Therion came with 1996’s THELI release. At the time, it was a huge step for the band, breaking away from their death metal roots and forging a new operatic-tinged path for the band. Following albums like VOVIN and DEGGIAL developed the sound even more, followed by the concept album SECRET OF THE RUNES in 2001. At the time, I thought that SECRET OF THE RUNES was a brilliant album, proving once and for all the brilliance of Therion. Well, it seems that time has not been kind to that album, because now I find it somewhat dull and definitely boring after about 15 minutes. I was so disappointed that I wasn’t at all excited at the prospect of this double disc set. Stupid me.
In short, though I’ve only got approximately half of these albums (6 songs from LEMURIA, and 7 from SIRIUS B, sandwiched onto a single promo), I will confidently state that this is easily the best work that Therion have ever released. I know I said that about the previous disc, but I feel more secure saying it now for one very important reason: LEMURIA/SIRIUS B are much more diverse albums than SECRET OF THE RUNES. While that album plodded along at a snails pace throughout, there are many songs on these discs that tread closely to the band’s speedy death metal past. Fear not though, as the operatics that we’ve come to expect from Therion are still the focus of the music, with standout performance from all of the myriad vocalists that appear.
Stellar songs like “Typhon”, “Blood of Kingu”, and “Son of the Sun” are among the best that main man Christofer Johnsson has ever written. They also just so happen to feature some of the catchiest riffs ever to come from this band. All is not speed and fury however, as the expected slow, mysterious songs show up as well, one of the best being LEMURIA’s title track. These discs are so good that they are sure to be lodged somewhere in my top 10 for this year. I’m betting I won’t be the only one.
2) Uthark Runa
4) The Dreams of Swedenborg
5) An Arrow From The Sun
6) Feuer Overture/Prometheus Entfesselt
7) Blood of Kingu
8) Son Of The Sun
9) The Khlysti Evangelist
10) Kali Yuga Part 1
11) Kali Yuga Part 2
12) Call Of Dagon
13) Sirius B
Christofer Johnsson: Guitar
Kristian Niemann: Guitar
Johann Niemann: Bass
167 other musicians/singers: Everything Else
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Released: n/a, Nuclear Blast
Sweden's Therion has always been a band who I enjoyed, but never LOVED. Albums such as LEPACA KLIFFOTH and their 1996 epic THELI all made their way into my collection, but the band as a while never grabbed my full attention. It wasn't until 2001's SECRET OF THE RUNES release and the subsequent double live disc where my interest in Therion's patented Symphonic Opera Metal style resurfaced.
That said, I was anxious to check out Christofer Johnsson and co.'s latest double disc extravaganza LEMURIA/SIRIUS B. Needless to say, I left not only pleased, but downright awestruck. Clocking in at over an hour and a half, LEMURIA/SIRIUS B takes you on a ride filled with countles twists and turns. No matter what kind of Therion fan you are; whether you prefer the band's recent output or their earlier, deathstyled beginnings, you will find something to love here.
Both records are symphonic in nature, but the overall feel and atmosphere is way more laid back and organic than on predecessors SECRET OF THE RUNES or VOVIN. The production is warm and inviting, with each instrument breaking through the symphonic layer, shining their own unique light upon the festivities. From acoustic guitar, to flute, to the rich, choral chanting, everything can be heard perfectly.
The songwriting here is so emotional, particularly on LEMURIA, where tracks like "The Dreams of Swedenborg" and the title track fill the room with ambiance. Additionally, both clean and death singing have been brought back into the Therion fold, resulting in an amazing dynamic in such songs as "Typhon" and "Uthark Runa".
I don't think Therion has ever achieved a more musically balanced release than this double CD masterpiece. The guitarwork is utterly tasteful, with flawless melodies and harmonies floating atop heart-stoppingly heavy riffs. Memorabilty is also a key ingredient here, with songs like "Son of the Sun" leaping right into your subconcious with their infectious riffing and structure. LEMURIA and SIRIUS B remain an enigma to explain. They are each unique and extraordinary in their own way. Metal to the bone, yet beautiful to the core, Therion is art metal at it's finest. You would be hurting yourself if you did not add this to your collection as soon as possible. Magnificent.--mg
Previous review: » Therion - Gothic Kabbalah