Released By Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: January 22nd, 2021
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Christofer Johnsson — Guitars, Keyboards
Johan Koleberg — Drums
Nalle Påhlsson — Bass guitar
Thomas Vikström — Vocals
Christian Vidal — Guitars
Lori Lewis — Vocals
“The Leaf on the Oak of Far”
“Die Wellen der Zeit”
“Eye of Algol”
“Great Marquis of Hell”
“Psalm of Retribution”
“El Primer Sol”
“Ten Courts of Diyu”
Therion is a Swedish Symphonic Metal band founded by Christofer Johnsson in 1987. Its name was inspired by the Celtic Frost album “To Mega Therion”. Originally a Death Metal band, they have been putting their sound in constant evolution and experimentation. They have explored various musical genres and styles, showing an unstoppable will of searching new ideas and sounds. Therion have adjusted their musical style by adding orchestral elements, choirs, classical musicians, and a full orchestra at their concert performances. As a result, they are considered pioneers of the Symphonic Metal genre. Therion take their themes for the lyrics from different mythologies and practices, including occultism, magic and ancient traditions.
“Leviathan” is the first part in the planned Leviathan trilogy, its sequels Leviathan II and Leviathan III are scheduled for 2022 and 2023 respectively. This new studio project is a skillfully crafted collection of charming melodies, interesting orchestrations and entertaining songs.
“The Leak On The Oak Of Far” kicks off with a traditional catchy Power Metal riff, which evolves into a Symphonic Metal piece with a pompous and dynamic outfit. The multi-layered vocals and the refreshing melodies are the strongest elements of this song. “Tuonela” is a grandiose, beautifully arranged Heavy Metal track. The collision of male and female vocals and the entertaining folk melodies give a memorable outfit to this song. The fusion of the dark and strong vocals of Marko Hietala (ex- Nightwish) with the lovely opera performance of Lori Lewis along with the straightforward symphonic sounds give birth to a catchy glorious chorus. The following title track “Leviathan” sounds a bit flat in relation to the previous songs, despite the great quality of the classic orchestration and the vocal arrangements. “Die Wellen Der Zeit” comes out with a fairytale ambience caused by the ethereal vocals, the slow-paced acoustic guitar melodies and the outstanding folk elements. The colorful choirs and the classical orchestra melodies offer an epic, huge chorus followed by a triumphant strong finale. “Aži Dah?ka” starts with a classic Heavy Metal outfit with strong male vocals, but it evolves into a Symphonic piece full of Middle Eastern influence. However, this fusion of sounds doesn’t provide the best possible outcome to this song. There is an interesting combination of male and female vocal parts, hence this track sounds weaker and less memorable than the previous ones.
“Eye Of Algol” gives a darker, mysterious outfit to the record, where the fusion of symphonic and Egyptian elements is very successful instead. The heavy riffing, the groove guitar melodies and the prominent bass lines along with the strong drumming sections are the most important parts of this song. There is an amazing work on the alternated male and female vocals which take a dialogue form in a poppy, but pleasant outcome. There is an overall cultish feeling with a fantasy and ritual ambience to this outstanding song. “Nocturnal Night” is a triumphant piece of classic orchestra which will blow the listener away. The ethereal swinging and slow paced melodies merged with the deep and powerful opera vocal parts offer an amazing epic song. The dynamic choirs at the chorus and the Oriental melodies and vocals at the verse give a memorable, glorious outfit to this track. The short “Glorious Marquise Of Hell” is a straightforward Power Metal track, which adds a flavour of rage to the album.
“Psalm Of Retribution” has a great marching tempo, which gives a darker character to the record. The rhythm is based on the drum work and the heavy riffing, there are some groove guitar melodies here and there, hence the vocals sound a bit monotonous and dull. There is an interesting alternation between the stronger paced and the slower melodic parts, but the final result sounds a bit colourless. “El Primer Sol” follows with an identical, less punchy and repetitive style. Despite the well arranged guitar and classic elements, the flat vocals give a weaker outfit to the song. Fortunately, the album closes with the high note “Ten Courts Of Diyu”. There is a strong influence by Asian textures on this track. The initial passionate and mysterious vocals take a sweet, melodious and softer turn and they are successfully enhanced by the classic orchestra arrangements. This song includes the most prominent guitar solo and gives a heavenly triumphant exodus to the record.
Overall, “Leviathan” is a piece of technical and instrumental excellence, where Therion have successfully managed to combine the elements which capture them as an enduring act in a solid and agile format. The first album of the upcoming trilogy of Therion includes a collection of entertaining and powerful songs. Despite a few less enthusiastic tracks being included in this record, the final result will definitely please the fans of the Symphonic Metal genre.
Written by: Katerina Paisoglou
My Global Mind – Staff Writer