Therion are Swedish don't ya know? This death metal band started in 1987 by Christopher Johnsson evolved into a symphonic metal band and now has 13 studio albums, the last of which was Gothic Kabbalah. This double CD / DVD album release is the concert tour for their last album and it was recorded in Warsaw, Poland, on February 14th, 2007.
The band is frequently described as symphonic metal or operatic metal. On this particular album they reminded me a lot of Finnish Opera-Metal band Nightwish. The bands music is a blend of opera like singing and heavy metal music. The lyrics are largely based on mythology, magick and the occult. Occult symbolism is evident on many of their album's packaging. For the record, I find the band's occult lyrics about as threatening to my own beliefs as the world of magic explored in J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series, but I point it out for those concerned about such things. Although the band hails from Sweden, they sing in English.
The Live Gothic Concert
Unlike the Miskolc Experience, there is no symphony here, just a few opera style singers with the heavy metal band. The band on this live album is founder Christopher Johnsson on guitars, and keyboards, however he is no longer singing. Kristian Niemann on lead and rhythm guitars and keyboards, Johan Niemann on bass guitar, guitar and acoustic guitar and Petter Karlsson on drums, guitar, keyboards and choral vocals and other percussion. The stage looks like the interior of some grand gothic style home.
The vocalists on tour are Mats Leven who sings in both operatic style and metal style, Snowy Shaw who provides metal vocals and two opera divas the lovely Katarina Lilja and Lori Lewis.
The live show seems like an opera from Hell, dark and brooding but yet with all the pomp and excess of opera. If you can imagine how a tragic opera would sound with a metal band backing the vocals instead of a symphony, you will have an idea how this Therion concert sounds live. If you have heard the Finnish operatic band Nightwish, that is a good comparison as well to the sound of Therion here.
Those of you who cringe at the sound of a lovely lady singing operatic arias will just hate this show. On the other hand, if "you're sweet on Wagner, you'd die for Beethoven, you love the way Puccini lays down a tune, and Verdi's always creeping from your room"*, you'll love it. The two female singers especially sing very well and bring that passion to their singing that is opera.
Those of you who are put off by fast paced guitar solos, dark lyrics, booming bass lines and speeding drum beats will also hate this show, but fans of metal should love it. Therion knows how to rock.
I quite enjoyed the opera singers combined with the heavy metal sound of Therion, it was a very good show.
Sound / Video Quality DVD
The concert is only offered in Dolby Stereo, but sound is quite good, with clear vocals, tight bass and a well defined stage space. Video is typical DVD quality, and the show is presented in anamorphic widescreen.
CD 1 has the songs Der Mitternachstslow, Schawarzalbenheim, The Blood of Kingu, The Falling Stone, An Arrow from the Sun, Deggial, Wine of Aluqah, The Perennial Sophia, The Son of the Sun, Son of the Staves of Time, Birth of Venus Illegitma, Tuna 1613, Drum Solo (yes that means a drum solo, not a song entitled drum solo), and Muspelheim.
CD 2 has the songs Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah, Ginnungagap, Grand Finale, Lemuria, The Wand of Abaris, Nightside of Eden, To Mega Therion, and Thor (The Powerhead)
The DVD has all the above songs plus a video with a drum battle on it as an extra feature. This live set includes a good mix of songs from the bands latest studio album Gothic Kaballah as well as a mix of their catalog of songs.
I didn't enjoy Live Gothic as much as the Miskolc Experience, but nonetheless, this is quite an enjoyable live album. I gave it four stars and would recommend it for fans of Therion and fans of operatic metal.
This is an entry in Texas-Swede's Texas Swedish Writeoff!
You may also wish to check out
Therion - The Miskolc Experience another live Therion concert complete with a symphony orchestra and full choir.
You may also enjoy
Nightwish - The End of an Era a terrific concert featuring the Finnish operatic death metal band Nightwish and their last concert with singer Tarja.
*lyrics from Electric Light Orchestra's Rockaria