THERION – Les Fleurs Du Mal

THERION - Les Fleurs Du Mal
  • 9/10
    THERION - Les Fleurs Du Mal - 9/10


End Of The Light
Release date: October 19, 2012

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

After 25 years of existence, Therion and band leader Christofer Johnsson have let a new album loose on an unexpecting audience. Unexpecting because it does not come via Therion’s label Nuclear Blast, but through Johnsson’s own company End Of The Light Records. How come? That is simple: Nuclear Blast did not want to release it, so Christofer bought back the master tapes and did it by himself.

But, why would NB refuse a Therion album? When one takes a closer look at Les Fleurs Du Mal it becomes obvious that there are some obstacles to publishing and promoting, which in the end proved to be too much for the label to overcome. This album is not a regular release from the band — and they are still signed to Nuclear Blast, in case you may wonders — but an artistic, unconventional project that has been in Johnsson’s head for quite a while. The lyrical themes of the songs are loosely based on Charles Baudeliers’ collection of poems, The Flowers Of Evil, which was written in the middle of the 19th century and was partly banned from reading in France until 1949, while influences from traditional French tunes are apparent in many compositions throughout the album. And to make the difficulty of selling and promoting the work complete, the whole thing is sung in French.

One can see the hoop NB would have had to jump through with this release, but when the final album is evaluated, it seems to be the wrong decision from the simple stand point of a music lover. Le Fleurs Du Mal shows Therion stronger than at any point after their artistic Symphonic climax Lemuria. What made the albums in between all good, but not extraordinary, foreseeable and unsurprising, has been cast overboard. There are no long, epically meandering songs with hundreds of tracks adding to a thick wall of sound, but here the compositions are reduced to their core. Like strapping all the fat off a body and leaving only the lean muscles and skeleton, the base of it being these songs can breathe, show their character and revel in one single emotion.

The average song length is about three minutes, and mostly they remain one themed. While the orchestra is still used, it is less omnipresent and is only used where it belongs, while other songs can do without it mostly, or not at all. The tracks are as different as one can make them, and lining up songs like “Polichinelle” and “La Maritza” or “Wahala Manitou” and “Je N’ai Besoin Que De Tendresse” is a most enjoyable musical roller coaster ride.

Therion have taken a necessary step back from their routine and reinvented themselves with this, although the artistic approach to this work may make it a bit difficult to access for the occasional listener. But once you’ve taken the effort to dive into Les Fleurs Du Mal, it is a welcome and intense experience differing from so many shallow releases that are thrown on the market every month. To make the experience complete, on their current tour Therion performs the work in its entirety, and sells the physical album as a tour edition. It will be released later as a standard edition as well, but the digipack version contains one bonus track. Easily the most cheesy song on the album, but as a fan and collector one would not want to miss out on it in any case.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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