Record Reviews

Album review: Therion “Leviathan”

Therion’s new album “Leviathan” is filled with epic, bombastic and beautiful symphonic metal.

Therion has built a solid and quite large cult following around the world. The band’s leader and guitarist Christofer Johnsson, who founded the band in Sweden in 1987, doesn’t care about trends or commercial opportunities. Over the years he has built a fantastic mythical Therion world of music. In the early days, Therion played death metal, then moved into what at times sounded like doom territory, only to arrive at symphonic metal in 1996. Today the band’s music still has its foundation in dramatic and epic symphonic metal. It is often bombastic and there are progressive parts and folk influences. It’s Therion and it works very well. Much of the music is beautiful, not least because of the use of terrific choirs, fantastic instrumentation and elaborate orchestration. Therion has the advantage of having several vocalists, both female and male, and can thus take different turns and go wherever creativity leads a song. The “Leviathan” album is a terrific journey through a magic wonderland. This new Therion album is a melting pot of various styles of melodic symphonic metal. It has that rock opera/concept album feel to it and plenty of West End musical touches. Trendy? No. Street-cred worthy? No. But it is good, very good. It’s like a musical equivalent to the “Star Wars” movie crossbred with “Omen”, “Braveheart“ and “The Never Ending Story”. The epic “Psalm of Retribution” is my personal stand-out track on an overall great and rather varied album. The beautiful song “Die Wellen der Zeit” is a close second. Therion has always been a band where line-ups change between albums and tours. Fortunately, Christofer Johnsson is very good at attracting new talent. On this album, we can still hear the terrific voice of former Candlemass vocalist Thomas Vikström who has been performing with Therion since 2007. We also get to experience the fantastic pipes of the American opera singer and soprano Lori Lewis, who has been performing with the band on and off for many years. The album’s eleven tracks are complemented by five bonus tracks in the form of an alternative vocals version of “Eye of Algol” and no fewer than four alternative versions of the phenomenal track “Tuonela”, which features a powerful guest appearance by Nightwish’s Marko Hietala.  On the new “Leviathan” album we truly get to hear Therion at its bombastic best!

Therion’s “Leviathan” will be released on 22nd January in Japan via Ward Records and internationally via Nuclear Blast Records.