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Therion – Beloved Antichrist Review

Released by: Nuclear Blast Records

Release Date: February 2nd, 2018

Genre: Other

Links: https://www.facebook.com/therion/

 

Line Up:

Role

Voice

Act 1

Act 2

Act 3

Singer

Antichrist

Tenor

x

x

x

Thomas Vikström

Johanna

Soprano

x

x

x

Chiara Malvestiti

Helena

Soprano

x

x

x

Lori Lewis

Agnes

Mezzo

x

x

x

Ulrika Skarby

Mare

Soprano

x

x

x

Lydia Kjellberg

Sophia

Soprano

x

x

x

Melissa Verlak

Appolonius

Baryton

 

x

x

Markus Jupiter

Professor Pauli

Tenor Barytone

 

x

x

Linus Flogell

Satan

Bass

x

x

 

Erik Rosenius

Priest

Bass

x

 

 

Mikael Schmidberger

President

Tenor

x

 

 

Kaj Hagstrand

President’s wife

Mezzo

x

 

 

Matilda Wahlund

Male voter

Baritone

x

 

 

Samuel Jarreck

Female voter

Alto

x

 

 

Matilda Wahlund

Messenger

Dramatic soprano

 

x

 

Karin Fjellander

Pope

Barytone

 

x

 

Samuel Jarreick

Building Master

Tenor

 

x

 

Kaj Hagstrand

Female servant 1

Sopran

 

x

 

Linnea Vikström

Female servant 2

Mezzo

 

x

 

Matilda Wahlund

Male servant 1

Baryton

 

x

 

Samuel Jarrick

Male servant 2

Bass

 

x

 

Mikael Schmidberger

Lead Succubi

Mezzo

 

x

 

Matilda Wahlund

Woman/Congress

Mezzo

 

 

x

Matilda Wahlund

Congress woman 2

Sopran

 

 

x

Linnea Vikström

Antichrist soldier

Barytone

 

 

x

Samuel Jarrick

Demon

Bass

 

 

x

Mikael Schmidberger

Angel

Dramatic soprano

 

 

x

Karin Fjellander

3 demons

Baritone

 

 

x

Mikael/Samuel/Linus

 

It feels like a lifetime ago when Therion started out as a death metal act back in 1987 and mastermind Christofer Johnsson was just fifteen years old. The group has blossomed over the years and are now considered as one of the pioneers of symphonic metal. Ultimately, it’s difficult to categorize them since each album is a stylistic evolution. Despite their transformations, it is safe to say that nothing will be comparable to 2018’s Beloved Antichrist, which will be released on February 9th via Nuclear Blast. We’ve heard rock operas from Ayreon and even Tobias Sammet’s project Avantasia. Yet, Johnsson’s Beloved Antichrist, which is known as his spectacular brainchild, is more than a concept album. It is a rock opera loosely based on the story of Vladimir Soloviov’s A Short Tale of The Antichrist and a project that has been stuck inside Johnsson’s head for over a decade.

Musically, it’s as though Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Grieg have returned from the dead to assist Johnsson in writing this 2018 masterpiece. While this story was inspired by Soloviov’s book, there are many parts to it that has zero connection with it. As Johnsson expressed, “it is simply the main idea of the antichrist character that is very much based on the book.” It is a 3 and a half hour epic journey filled with operatic adventures that consist of 29 different characters. One could summarize it as a genius exploration. It is perhaps the most difficult album to provide a pristine review, and not easy to listen to while doing random tasks. It should be required to set a decent amount of time to thoroughly sit back and enjoy all three acts.

Johnsson is a man of many challenges both creatively and performing. It was only a year ago when he nearly had his last live performance due to a serious neck injury. That should have only proven that this man is unstoppable. With the Beloved Antichrist, one should expect the unexpected and to not categorize it as a metal album. Yes, there are many rock and metal parts, however, the writing is as though electric guitars existed in the eighteenth century.

This grandiose and ambitious piece has turned out to be quite flawless but, you must listen to it with an open mind to fully grasp its beauty. Giving it a fair track by track guideline is difficult since the album soars between different to similar melodies ranging from dark ambiances to bold and theatrical dramatics. Between opera, classical, symphonic, rock, and metal, there’s a little bit of everything as a few of these styles will re-introduce itself throughout the entire piece.

Despite its length, you should listen to it multiple times to understand its ambition since nothing like this has been done before. Additionally, it should be considered as unique and well respected. Well done, Johnsson, you’ve created a phenomenal beloved opus and hopefully, one day it will come to life on stage.

Highlights from all acts include “Where Will You Go,” “Never Again,” “The Crowning of Splendour,” “Our Destiny,” “Pledging Loyalty,” “Dagger of God,” “Temple of New Jerusalem,” “The Lions Roar,” “Bringing the Gospel,” “Astral Sophia,” “Shoot Them Down!,” “Beneath the Starry Skies,” “Forgive Me,” “Day of Wrath,” and “Theme of Antichrist.”

 

Written By, Zenae D. Zukowski

Rating 10/10

Editors Pick EditorPick Rex Brown - Smoke On This Review

 

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