THERION – Gothic Kabbalah

THERION - Gothic Kabbalah
  • 9/10
    THERION - Gothic Kabbalah - 9/10


Nuclear Blast
Release Date: January 12, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Therion is one of those bands like Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Amorphis, and so on that have dramatically changed their initial musical direction. These Swedes started as a generic Death Metal band, ultimately releasing two albums, Of Darkness … and Beyond Sanctorum, which followed that genre. The change happened in Lepaca Kliffoth when they introduced some operatic vocals into their progressively orchestrated compositions.

Theli was Therion’s breakthrough, giving them an original and easy to recognize sound, while Vovin, the band’s best selling album, took their music to a higher level with the use of a real symphonic orchestra.

After the ambitious move of recording two albums and releasing them in one package in 2004, Therion returns with a double album entitled Gothic Kabbalah, containing almost one and half hours of music. The album is the third part of a tetralogy that started with the aforementioned double release of Sirius B and Lemuria, and will be concluded with the next release.

Recently, Christofer Johnsson, the founding member of the band, decided to retire from singing, thus refreshing Therion’s sound with the addition of new voices. In Gothic Kabbalah, Mats Leven and Snowy Shaw are responsible for the male vocals, and Katarina Lilja and Hannah Holgersson take care of the female side.

The structure of the album looks like a movie soundtrack, following the story plot and supporting the lyrics with the matching atmosphere. The pompous compositions impress as listeners will discovers something new every time the “Play” button is pressed on the CD player. The male-female vocals create a theatrical atmosphere, while the use of several non-Metal instruments enrich Therion’s sound with Folklore elements, bringing to mind the impressive work of Arjen Lucassen in the Ayreon concept albums.

The melodic avant-garde “Gothic Kabbalah,” the theatrical coexistence of the male and female vocals in “Son of the Staves of Time,” and the beautiful orchestration of the almost-Doom-Metal song “Adulruna Rediviva” can be considered some of the best moments of the album.

Of course, there are the Classic Symphonic Metal tunes like “Der Mitternachtslöwe,” which includes Operatic vocals and catchy guitar melodies, or “The Perennial Sophia,” where the sweet female vocals have the leading role.

The melodic chorus of “The Path to Arcady” and the catchy guitar riffs and the classic duel between male and female vocals a la Nightwish enhance the lyrical atmosphere. Fortunately, the band hasn’t disinherited their Heavy Metal past, introducing fast-tempo guitar-based songs like “Tuna 1613” or “T.O.F. – The Trinity.” The guitar work really shines in “The Falling Stone” with Progressive Metal leads and fills and one insane solo somewhere near the end of the song.

This difficult musical venture would not be successful if there wasn’t the flawless and crystal clear sound production to support the sophisticated compositions and orchestrations.

Therion have definitely managed to go one step further than the previous double album release, taking their music to a new level through distinct theatrical expressions and a great deal of music diversity. Gothic Kabbalah is a musical trip through ancient and mystical landscapes that every Metalhead should take.


  • Dr. Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

    Dimitris was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has a diploma in Physics, a Masters in Medical Physics and a doctorate dimploma in Nuclear Medicine (this is the reason for his Dr. title). He was given his first Heavy Metal tape at the age of 12 which was a compilation entitled Scandinavian Metal Attack. The music immediately drew his attention and there he was listening to the first Iron Maiden album, trying to memorize the names of the band members. That was it! After some years, he stopped recording tapes and started buying vinyl records, spending every penny in the local record shop. The first live concert he attended was Rage co-headlining with Running Wild.

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