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Therion - Of Darkness CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.47 | 45 ratings

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5 stars Three characteristics are present on this album, the first offering by the masters of the heavy, dark and atmospheric, Therion. Each song is a gem in its own right; there are no fillers, as each song had been previously recorded in some form. The boys had time to work on their skills, with the various demos and the Time Shall Tell EP showing off the earlier versions of these classic songs, with the exception of Genocidal Raids.

The guitars are vicious; they come through clearly but without having the sound of being overproduced. The riffs in each song are numerous and varied, but they meld together almost perfectly, there is hardly an awkward moment throughout this album. From galloping riffs to haunting tremolo pickings, they never get old. There are even technical parts, and they fit in with the rest of the song (such as Megalomania) nicely. Do I need to mention the solos? A Suburb to Hell has a short thrashy solo, while Asphyxiate With Fear has an atmospheric slow that brings in a doomy breakdown. Breakdowns in Therion? They exist, they aren't like the Metalcore breakdowns, these are in for the atmosphere, and this is at a time when Metalcore was just starting out.

The drumming ranges from standard time keeping to interesting double bass patterns and relentless blast beats. The bass drum isn't too loud, but sometimes it isn't that audible either. With the intense riffing going on and how well the snare fits in with the songs however, I hardly notice that.

The vocals add a level of dark atmosphere that doesn't appear as often on later albums, especially with operatic vocals and Christofer Johnsson's development of a less menacing growl. There are effects added on this throughout, a sort of reverb that adds to the atmosphere. Other effects, such as a drop in pitch, aren't overused.

One thing that this album accomplishes most of all is its dark atmosphere. This is demonstrated best of all with Genocidal Raids, which starts out with an eerie siren and background doomy riff. The song picks up in speed, with riffs that are atmospheric in their own right. Then it goes all out, probably at the fastest pace Therion has ever played, where the first verse is sung in just under 10 seconds. Snares and cymbals are going off chaotically while a tremolo riff provides the background atmosphere. The way Christofer Johnsson growls the line "And they will die, why buy death?"

The unfortunate flaw of this album is how the bass doesn't seem all that audible. It doesn't detract all that much from the album, but compared to how the bass in Therion's work adds to the overall feeling of each song in their later albums, that contribution is missing from this album.

The songs are still fun to listen to, head banging atmospheric death metal tracks with killer solos and demonic vocals. The highlights: Time Shall Tell and Genocidal Raids, but the whole album is eerie and heavy.

With my Death Metal eye: ***** but with progie eye: cca **

Mogorva | 5/5 |


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