CD 1:
Der Mitternachtlöwe
The Gothic Kabbalah
The Perrennial Sophia
Wisdom And The Cage
Son Of The Staves Of Time
Tuna 1613
Close Up The Streams

CD 2:

Wand Of Abaris
Three Treasures
The Path To Arcady
TOF - The Trinity
Chain Of Minerva
The Falling Stone
Adulruna Rediviva




Christofer Johnsson - Guitar, Keyboards, Organs
Kristian Niemann - Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards
Johan Niemann - Bass, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Petter Karlsson - Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, Solo/Choral Vocals, Percussion
Mats Leven - Solo & Choral Vocals, Guitar

Snowy Shaw - Solo & Choral Vocals
Katarina Lilja - 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.

Interview with Christofer Johnsson
Lemuria/Sirius B 


review  by Marco "Norman Knight" Signore____              

Merging together the Egyptian and Norse religions.  Learn how to create a masterpiece. 

It 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 Therion.

Therion 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.

This new, double album, from Therion is a concept in many ways but in my opinion is mainly a lesson in metal music.

There 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.


But 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.

But what is really striking, I will never stop telling, is the music. Nothing like you’ve ever heard.

The 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.

“Gothic 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.

We 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.

On 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!

Our ears still full of wonder are not at all prepared for the next two songs, in my opinion the best of the double album.

First 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!

The 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.

“The 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!

Another 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.

Again 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.

We 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.

“The 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 excellent.

“The 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 atypical album.

The 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!


What 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.

Nothing 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.

Rating: 10/10



Marco Signore  27.01.2007


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