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Therion
(Christofer Johnsson & Co)

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Artist Listing: A - F G - R S - Z
Line-up:
Christofer Johnsson - Guitar, Keyboards, Organs
Kristian Niemann - Lead and rhythm guitars, Keyboards
Johan Niemann - Bass guitar, Guitar, Acoustic guitar

Petter Karlsson: Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, vocals, Percussion
+ solo and choral vocal contributions from various singers.

"Therion's rise to the top of the gothic and metal scenes started with their breakthrough album Theli (1996). On this album they combined classic and metal effectively for the first time. They had big choirs and a lot of classical instruments included on this masterpiece. Over the years, Christofer and his mates focused more and more on this classical thing but without loosing their metal roots. With their last album, Deggial, they achieved their biggest success. Chart entries in several countries (Germany, Netherlands, Finland, Poland just to name a few) marked their status as a huge force in the scene. Deggial easily had the best production with all the different instruments and choirs coming through strong and clear. "
nuclearblast.de, 10/01

 Therion Discography - Album / CD Reviews

 1991 - 1996 - genre: black metal, death metal

1991: Of Darknessaudio
This was our debut that consisted of songs written in 1987-89, was recorded in 90 and finally released in 91, so when it came out it felt like a best of from our very early years.
-- Christofer Johnsson, Therion
1992: Beyond Sanctorumaudio

1993: Symphony Masses: HO DRAKON HO MEGASaudio

1995: Lepaca Kliffothaudio

 Post 1996 - genre: symphonic black metal, operatic gothic metal

***½ 1996: Theli
" Therion begun as a death metal band and it's very hard to believe when you hear their very innovative album of 1997, Theli. This album mix heavy metal and classical music in a very new and powerful way. Alongside with metal guitars, bass and drums, a lot of keyboards and actual symphonic orchestration. (...) Most of the vocals are of another kind, though : real opera choirs are used in each song, and provide a really dark, haunting gothic atmosphere. Very impressive - nothing else had ever sounded close to that in heavy metal, since a good part of the choirs consist of females. Lyrics are really cool mystical chanting about various unknown gods (of summerian or egyptian origin I guess). As the classical elements and choirs takes a lot of place, the metal is often reduce to simple riffs, galloping guitars and blazing solos...
I heard metal with symphonic elements before, but never a symphonic opera with metallic elements. I wouldn't say that this is a ultimate masterpiece like hinted by some, but it is a great achievement and a fabulous album, highly recommended to anyone who like classical influence in heavy metal."
-- Jean-Philippe Morin, 98

1997: A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreamingaudio
" Our 10-year anniversary album. We used songs from the Theli-sessions that didn't fit of that albm, used some cover recordings we had done earlier, recorded one more cover, did some Therion versions of a classic movie soundtrack I did as a solo artist as well as a re-recording of the old track Symphony Of The Dead (originally from the "Beyond Sanctorum" album). As a bonus I also included the original soundtrack. "
-- Christofer Johnsson, Therion

*** ½ 1998: Vovinaudio
"There is not a single trace of death metal left on this album, as it's more classical than ever. The vocals on this album are all performed by massive opera choirs. (...) Therion nowadays is just Christofer Johnsson and many guest musicians. While the classical arrangements on Theli were orchestra samples played by a keyboard, Vovin has a real string ensemble. Thus, the orchestration sounds much more real and even more impressive. It's purer, and more subtle, less bombastic and over-the-top as Theli was. (...) There are many beathtaking moments where I feel totally in awe at the majesty of the music. The metal elements are even more scarse than in Theli, reduced to simple galloping rythms, a few riffs and solos."
-- Jean-Philippe Morin, 98

*** 1999: Crowning of Atlantisaudio
"An in-between disc of sorts, as you have three live tracks, three covers, and then a handful of new tunes. The band's classical strains and arrangements continue, as there are mixed female and male operatic vocals at the helm. The distortion is fairly sharp; this Swedish unit was originally a Death band, but is now (obviously) more experimental. A chugging background rhythm moves through the title track, and the slower "Clavicula Nox" is also good. Ralf Scheepers shows up as guest vocalist on the covers "Crazy Nights" (Loudness) and "Thor" (Manowar), and the band also performs a calm rendition of Accept's "Seawinds". Three live tracks make an appearance near the end, with the galloping "To Mega Therion" being the top highlight. "
-- metal-reviews.com, 99

**** 2000: Deggialaudio
"Deggial is probably the crowning of Therion's new music style, as Christofer Johnsson fuses elements of classical opera with black metal sounds, not only defining a new genre since his release of Theli in 1996, but also perfecting the production by hiring a complete orchestra/choir and bringing this masterpiece to a level comparable to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. In fact Deggial ends with a version of Carl Orff's O Fortuna, reminding us of the striking similarities.
Now if you're not familiar with Therion's work, think Richard Wagner's Opera interspersed with Mettalica's guitar riffs.
Favorite picks: Seven Secrets of the Sphinx, The Invincible, Deggial."
Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 10/01

***½ 2001: Secret of the Runesaudio
"The concept of the new album is based on the ancient Nordic tradition. In this tradition exists a world tree called Yggrasil. This tree consists of nine worlds on which the album is focused around. The songs describe each of the worlds. However, it is also a prologue and an epilogue. The prologue Ginnungaqap is the void of creation, where the world once was shaped. The giant Ymer was slayed and the land was created from his body and the seas of his blood. The epilogue is the title track, which is the quintessence of the whole concept: Odin’s journey when he was hanging himself from Yggrasil for nine days and nights. He then received the knowledge of the runes. The word “rune” (or “runa” as it is called in Swedish) means secret, and therefore the meaning of the title is The Secret of the Secrets."
-- Christofer Johnsson, Therion, 8/01

***¼ 2004: Lemuria
Tracklisting: 1. Typhon 2. Uthark Runa 3. Three ships of Berik, part 1: Calling to arms and fighting the battle 4. Three ships of Berik, part 2: Victory! 5. Lemuria 6. Quetzalcoatl 7. The dreams of Swedenborg 8. An arrow from the Sun 9. Abraxas 10. Feuer Overtüre/Prometheus entfesselt
"...Christofer Johnsson is back, together with Kristian and Johann Niemann and this time he created 2 totally new albums [Lemuria/Sirius B], which will be released together on the same day (24-05-2004). The 3 band members received the help of over 170 musicians and singers during the 9 months of recording sessions in which both albums were created. The first song Typhon is a big surprise for me: although we hear the traditional Therion sound of the last few albums in this song, the metal element is again more present, and we even hear grunts on this track, mixed with the choirs and opera-vocalists we’re used to hear from Therion. Uthark Runa is a very epic track with lots of variations between female and male choirs and clean ‘heavy metal’-vocals, supported by a heavy foundation of great guitar riffs and drums. This song reminds me a bit of the 'Vovin', 'Deggial' period. (...) The title song starts very quietly with beautiful female vocals and halfway the song this ballad gets an extra dimension with the addition of clean male vocals and a guitar solo. (...) The last song on this album Feuer Overtüre/Prometheus entfesselt starts off with a little intro followed up by a heavy, dark part that even reminds me of Rammstein for one moment thanks to the Germanic lyrics and the use of guitars, yet all is still in Therion style.
-- Geert, Vampire Magazine, 5/04

***¾ 2004: Sirius B
Tracklisting: 1. Blood of Kingu 2. Son of the Sun 3. The Khlysti Evangelist 4. Dark Venus Persephone 5. Kali Yuga part 1 6. Kali Yuga part 2 7. The wonderous world of Punt 8. Melek Taus 9. Call of Dagon 10. Sirius B 11. The voyage of Gurdjieff
"... starts with trumpets followed by a heavy song Blood of Kingu with clean male vocals mixed with opera choirs. Sons of the Sun is again a typical Therion song that wouldn’t be misplaced on 'Vovin', with female opera vocals assisted by a male choir. (...) Both albums, 'Lemuria' and 'Sirius B', are in the same style, yet one of the biggest differences between both albums is that we can’t hear grunts on 'Sirius B'. Striking is that the clean male vocals have a bigger role on this album than ever before. And in a song like Kali Yuga Part 1 there are even some experiments with effects on vocals and drums. (...) Christofer Johnsson and his companions found the perfect balance between classical music, opera and heavy metal on these two albums."
-- Geert, Vampire Magazine, 5/04

***¼ 2007: Gothic Kabbalah
Tracklisting: CD1 - 1. Der Mitternachtslöwe 2. The Gothic Kabbalah 3. The Perrennial Sophia 4. Wisdom and the Cage 5. Son of the Staves of Time 6. Tuna 1613 7. Trul 8. Close up the Streams
CD2 - 1. Wand of Abaris 2. Three Treasures 3. The Path to Arcady 4. TOF - The Trinity 5. Chain of Minerva 6. The Falling Stone 7. Adulruna Rediviva

"... it is that the latest chapter in Therion's often eccentric discography finds the band stripped almost entirely of the mammoth ensemble present throughout their last two records, leaving only a handful of guest musicians to assist in carrying a sprawling, variegated concept across two discs. Indeed, the abstraction itself is a shift away from its predecessors - still overseen by Thomas Karlsson, and in keeping with Johnsson's endless fixation on Dragon Rouge mythologies, but instead delving into the writings of Johannes Bureus, a mystic of Northern Europe. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, such details remain extraneous in the face of the record's fundamental benchmark. 'Gothic Kabbalah' is unmistakably Therion, even with tracks like Mitternacht Lowe being more guitar-heavy and presenting possibly Therion's most accessible work to date. Sons of the Staves of Time equally has producer Stefan Glaumann's commercial sensibilities fingerprinted all over it, while The Falling Stone is essentially straightforward power metal replete with duelling female tenors. In theory this should provide cynics of the band with plenty of proverbial mud to sling, and if the ever-present online geek squad is anything to go by, they're already out in force. To at least partly give them their due, it would be folly to claim that _Gothic Kabbalah_ is anything like the sublime perfection of 'Lemuria' and 'Sirius B'. Take into account something as epic as Adulruna Redivivia however, and it becomes abundantly clear that even with a clutch of artistic gaffes, Therion aren't about to plunge downwards into the caliginous depths of mediocrity either. For its faults, 'Gothic Kaballah' is a brave effort, and one which definitely won't have the band hanging their heads in shame anytime soon."
-- Jackie Smit, chroniclesofchaos.com, 01/07

**¾ 2010: Sitra Ahra
Tracklisting: 1. Introduction/Sitra Ahra 2. Kings of Edom 3. Unguentum Sabbati 4. Land of Canaan 5. Hellequin 6. 2012 7. Cú Chulainn 8. Kali Yuga III 9. The Shells are open 10. Din 11. Children of the stone: After the Inquisition

"Here is my problem with 'Sitra Ahra' and Therion. I just can’t take this type of music in big doses. I mean, when does one listen to this sort of album? Do some people come home at night and say to themselves, “wow, I could go for some big sweeping sympho-metal chamber music with endless orchestration, layered vocals and endless pomposity!” Outside of reviewing this, I can’t see having it on again unless I was hosting a LARPing party in my backyard. I enjoy moments here and there and totally appreciate how amazing in scope this all is, but I don’t think it will be making my regular listening rotation due its very nature. There’s simply no way to fault the amount of effort and talent that went into the conception and execution of this monsterpiece and Johnsson is to be praised. As a reviewer, few bands could be as daunting to critique as Therion and one almost feels unqualified to pass judgment without a degree from some exclusive European musical conservatory. Be that as it may, this is just too much and too all over the place for my tastes and that accounts for the less than perfect score.
-- Steel Druhm, angrymetalguy.com, 9/10
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Recommended Links:

The Official Therion site
Therion on Nuclear-Blast

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Lacrimosa | Tristania | Carl Orff | Theatre of Tragedy | NightWish | Sirenia | E-Nomine | After Forever

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