CD review THERION ‘Leviathan’

Therion, this name stands for symphonic metal since 1988. Initially devoted to death metal, Christofer Johnsson quickly developed a liking for epic metal, orchestrated with more bombast and drama. In 1996, at the heyday of grunge, Therion released ‘Theli’, a milestone album, and many years later the band is still at the top of the symphonic metal scene.

Almost exactly three years after ‘Beloved Antichtist’, an epic album in three acts, Therion put the focus on compactness with ‘Leviathan’. Instead of excessive songs and dramatic elements, Therion opts for a reductive approach, which certainly does good to the songs, something that is already manifested in the opener.

‘The Leaf on the Oak of Far’ is a metal song with hit character. Guitars and riffs take a lot of space, melodies make the song a close treat for the listener and also the interaction between female and male vocals is pleasing.

Choirs have not been neglected by Therion for decades and also ‘Leviathan’ has a lot to offer in this respect. It is not that Therion’s 17th album has much new to show. It is rather a compressed version of all the Therion trademarks. Even though Therion have their homebase in Stockholm, Sweden, the Scandinavian neighbors from Finland don’t miss out either. Tuonela’ is a song on ‘Leviathan’ that not only has a Finnish title, but is also supported by Nightwish bassist Marko Hietala. Hietala is a good bass player and also has a rough and solid voice, which is very effective on ‘Tuonela’.

Beside the mentioned songs also ‘Die Welle der Zeit’ should be mentioned. The first thing that catches your eye is the German title, which can be explained by the fact that ‘Die Welle der Zeit’ is a ballad with classical vocals inspired by Richard Wagner.

Christofer Johnsson leaves nothing to coincidence on ‘Leviathan’. All songs on this album should sound exactly as they do on ‘Leviathan’, without losing any spontaneity. Melodies and hooks add their share to a catchiness that can certainly bring Therion new listeners. All in all, ‘Leviathan’ is an entirely delightful album.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. The Leaf on the Oak of Far
  2. Tuonela
  3. Leviathan
  4. Die Welle der Zeit
  5. Aži Dahāka
  6. Eye of Algol
  7. Nocturnal Light
  8. Great Marquis of Hell
  9. Psalm of Retribution
  10. El Primer Sol
  11. Ten Counts of Diyu

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: January 22nd, 2021

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