Yes, they promised and delivered. Therion's mentor Christofer Johnsson announced that after the last two albums, what remained to be done was a hit album by the band, something requested and expected by fans. In other words, after experiences like “Les Fleurs du Mal” and the triple album with the opera “Beloved Antichrist”, a project that Christofer had been working on for years and that he wanted to carry out, “Leviathan” brings the “traditional” sound of Therion, from albums like “Vovin”, “Secret of the Runes” and “Sirius B”, for example. (Versão em Português)
Then we have Symphonic Metal with striking riffs, great orchestral arrangements and fantastic choirs and vocals, with pieces where the symphonic parts stand out, and others where the Heavy Metal side commands.
In the first auditions, our ears already identify the characteristics that enshrined this icon of symphonic metal, and soon you are fully familiar with the album, with many of the melodies and choruses already fixed in mind.
There are no discussions about the production and quality of the musicians, everything excellent, Christofer and the virtuoso Christian Vidal present an impeccable work on the guitars, Nalle Pahlsson with his technique and grip on the bass. The vocals, in charge of the versatile and experienced Thomas Vikström, who ventures, brings one of his best performances, and Chiara Malvestiti and debutant Rosalía Sairem, who are excellent. Some special guests also feature prominently, such as Johan Koleberg (drums), Marco Hietala and Snowy Shaw.
And it is not only in the sound that the album will sound familiar to the ears, the themes covered in the lyrics as well, dealing with mythology of different cultures, such as Persian, Chinese and Finnish.
Maybe some boring reviews, usually done by those who don't have much affinity with the style or the band, or even those pseudo-intellectuals, where they will say that the work doesn't bring anything new, stayed in a comfort zone or something.
But I'm sure the band's fans will approve of the album, and after all, Therion created his own style, it's one of the most original bands on the planet, made the albums they wanted to do, and there's nothing wrong with formulating songs with the characteristics that enshrined them and still fulfill the fans' desire.
The album is very easy to hear and digest by the band's fan, with songs that do not have a long duration (the album has just over 45 minutes), and alternate more vibrant moments and Metal, with other more dense, epic and where the side symphonic stands out, and also with that balance between the two worlds, something that they have always done very well.
In this line where the Metal side stands out, we have a very well chosen track as the opening, “The Leaf on the Oak of Far”, which brings some new elements, such as the initial vocal lines and that voice effect in the megaphone. It has great riffs, with a Hard \ Heavy mood. It will certainly be one that will work very well live.
The short and angry “Great Marquis of Hell” also follows a vibrant line, with that mix of striking Heavy Metal riffs ahead and the symphonic arrangements in the background, highlighting the vocals of Thomas Vikström, who, by the way, is singing a lot! No wonder it became a very important piece in the band and it was also Christofer's great partnership in the compositions. Thomas is a multi-faceted vocalist, making vocals ranging from Hard to Metal, from smooth to aggressive, in addition to operatic ones.
“Eye of Algol”, brings that perfect balance between classic and Metal side, with Rosalía's loud vocals, showing her versatility, and even “El Primer Sol”, with Thomas balancing operatic vocals with more Metal lines, also having the company of excellent Chiara Malvestiti, and “Tuonela”, and their captivating melodies and chorus, bringing as a guest Marco Hietala. Good idea, on a song with lyrics talking about the realm of the dead in Finnish mythology, one of the metal icons of that country on guest vocals.
I would say that those mentioned above follow that line of classics like “The Blood of Kingu” and “The Rise of Sodom and Gomorra”, just to situate the reader that this is an album with which you will feel familiar.
To name a few of the most dense, dramatic, epic moments with orchestral and choral performances, we have the title track, “Leviathan”, with its weight, grand choral and fantastic vocals by soprano Chiara Malvestiti; “Nocturnal Light”, epic and loaded with great choirs, and also “Ten Courts of Diyu”, which starts with oriental melodies (Diyu is the realm of the dead or hell in Chinese mythology), and brings drama and beautiful female vocals, culminating in in a soft chorus.
In short, a dynamic album, easy to hear and that has all the characteristics that enshrined the band, and that are loved by fans, who will surely be satisfied with what they will find in "Leviathan".
Text by: Carlos Garcia
Album: Leviathan (2021)
Style: Symphonic Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
1. The Leaf on the Oak of Far 3:38
2. Tuonela 4:37
3. Leviathan 4:01
4. Die Welle
5. Azi Dahaka 3:06
6. Eye of Algol 4:03
7. Nocturnal Light 5:37
8. Great Marquis of Hell 2:36
9. Psalm of Retribution 5:03
10. El Primer Sol 3:37
11. Ten Courts of Diyu 5:29