Johnsson - Guitar, Keyboards, Organs
Shaw - Solo & Choral Vocals
THERION: "Gothic Kabbalah" therion Nuclear Blast
Recorded and mixed in Stockholm by
Stefan Glaumann (RAMMSTEIN, EVERGREY, EUROPE) and features Swedish
multi-instrumentalist Snowy Shaw (MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND, DREAM
EVIL) sharing the vocal duties with Mats Levén (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, KRUX,
AT VANCE) and two female singers — Katarina Lilja on solo and choral
vocals; and Hannah Holgersson on solo, choral, and soprano vocals.
review by Marco "Norman Knight" Signore____
is unusual for me to start a review with my impressions on the album,
but this time I will begin from what I think instead of writing an
analysis of each track of the double album “Gothic Kabbalah” by
is a name that needs no introductions or explanations for the lovers of
the True Metal, the one with capital letters. And when I first listened
to this “Gothic Kabbalah” I fully understood this.
new, double album, from Therion is a concept in many ways but in my
opinion is mainly a lesson in metal music.
are three things that are clear since the first minute of the first
track, “Der Mitternachtslöwe”: 1) this is not the typical Therion
sound; 2) this album is a masterpiece; 3) this is the way metal should
be conceived and played.
let’s come to the music and the album itself and try to summarize what
you find inside this new work from the gothic masters. The album, as I
mentioned before, seems to be a sort of concept, at least from the
lyrics. Cryptic to say the least, the lyrics often return on several
concepts: the Runes, the Ancient Gods, Sophia (the knowledge and
wisdom), the Three Gifts, and the Staves of Time.
what is really striking, I will never stop telling, is the music.
Nothing like you’ve ever heard.
album starts with “Der Mitternachtslöwe”, a good and incisive
opener, vaguely reminiscent of “Typhon” from Lemuria album. A
splendid soprano voice draws enchanted words on the wings of a cadenced
and aggressive music, countered by male vocals a
la Secrets of the Runes, and a central part with an even more
beautiful and enthralling female voice telling us of the Midnight Lion.
Kabbalah”, the title-track, has a refrain which immediately stucks in
your head, and you will find yourself humming it as soon as the second
verse starts, while the flute plays a subtle yet important part in most
of the song, that also features a duet between two splendid voices.
move with a bass arpeggio to “The Perennial Sophia”, a sort of quest
for the wisdom and knowledge made Goddess. One of the “less metal”
songs of the album, this one is still so beautiful it will be hard not
to listen to it several times, especially to the refrain which almost
expresses the anguish of a questing soul (perfectly interpreted by the
male voice) searching for Sophia.
the same theme, but more aggressive, and with splendid inserts of synth,
comes “Wisdom and the cage”. Here the synth arpeggios are the most
beautiful feature of the song (in my humble opinion, of course). Again
the lyrics mention the Wisdom and Sophia fading into a bass solo over a
pad carpet, as we slip into the following track: “Son of the staves of
time” with the most beautiful soprano voice you can ask for in a
Therion song. Angelic choirs meld into a mid tempo hard rock song, sung
by a male vocalist almost in a Freddie Mercury style – and then comes
the refrain and the instrumental part very reminiscent of Rush of the
“Hold your Fire” period! Splendid, marvelous, absolutely no words!
ears still full of wonder are not at all prepared for the next two
songs, in my opinion the best of the double album.
we have a progressive rock song called “Tuna 1613”... “Flash of
light from the sky above, I am the augur of the Runes, I am the Lion
Man”. And then the song explodes, involving, relentless rhythm, that
may bring you to memory the splendid Manilla Road song called “Siege
of Atland”... and then ex
abrupto comes a hammond solo that Keith Emerson would not have been
able to perform better! And immediately after a dreaming female voice
tells us the tale of “Trul” with eerie, weird vocalizes that
describe a world of wolves and trolls and magical runes – I’m still
undecided which one of these two songs are the best!
first disc is over with “Close up the stream”, maybe the most
“Therion-styled” song of the first disc. This one should have been
in a good company in “Syrius B”, maybe along “Kali Yuga”. Acid
female voice and ominous male choirs in a cadenced syncopate tempo make
the closing of the first disc memorable as the opening.
wand of Abaris” opens the second disc, merging together the Egyptian
and Norse religions (a sort of ideal pantheon in my opinion!). Hypnotic
arpeggios of synth coupled with Egypt-like melodies of violins, you
surely don’t want to miss this song at all!
mid-tempo song with “oriental” sonorities that immediately become
more wicked is “Three Treasures”, whose lyrics sound like a prophecy
of some sort, that compel us to listen to the following track.
sung by the splendid soprano voice and even a tenor here, “The Path to
Arcadia” could not have better heralds, as we literarily move towards
the ancient Greek region of music and poetry, perfectly represented in
music, almost it was a painting with notes, in this Therion song.
come then to the most “heavy” song of the album, “T.O.F. – The
Trinity”, opened by a guitar solo Romeo-Style (and the song has some
reminiscence of the best Symphony X). The trinity of the title is of
course the Norse one, Thor, Odin and Frey. This is perhaps the most
metal song of the album, extremely powerful and really evil. Beautiful
to say the least.
chain of Minerva” has almost sonorities of the Eighties, with liquid
guitars and rim-shot drums. Not the best song of this album, but still
falling stone” begins with a sort of duel between tympani and guitars.
Cadenced and ominous bass drum welcomes us in this heavy song – heavy
as a stone, I’d say, and another heavy metal song in this otherwise
masterwork ends with a long (almost 14 minutes) song called “Adulruna
rediviva” in which there is more than a passing hint to the album
“Secret of the Runes”. Many riffs in this song seem to be a sort of
variation on the themes of “Ljusalfheim” and “Midgard”. Very
beautiful, never annoying or boring, enthralling to the end. An
appropriate conclusion for a masterpiece!
to say more? This album will possibly leave some diehard Therion fans
quite puzzled. The style is very different from what we expect from a
Therion album (with the exceptions of the last song of each disc – may
it be a case or made by purpose?). And yet this album in my opinion may
truly represent the masterpiece of Therion. My opinion, I repeat, but
this album is truly a lesson in metal. I think that many famous bands
should listen to this concept album with humble and open mind and learn.
Learn how to create a masterpiece.
to say, except this: go and buy this album – if you ever had to buy
just ONE album this year, be sure that it is Therion’s “Gothic
Kabbalah”: a lesson in music.
|Marco Signore 27.01.2007|
top - inizio pagina
© GryphonMetal.ch 2001-2007Niederrohrdorf - Switzerland webimpressum