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Therion - Of Darkness CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.47 | 45 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars Although THERION which emerged from Upplands V'sby, Sweden are considered one of the pioneers of mixing metal music with full-blown arrangements of orchestra instruments, choirs and classically trained musicians which created an entire new section at the metal supermarket called symphonic metal, the band began as something completely different. From the start, the THERION project has been the baby of founder Chritofer Johnsson who started this band all the way back in 1987 only under the name Blitzkrieg but would soon change it to THERION which was mined from the Celtic Frost album 'To Mega Therion' with the moniker being the Greek word for 'beast.' And that's exactly what this early version of THERION was all about, namely extreme bestial metal that fell squarely into the death metal world.

While the band's sound was inspired by the thrash metal of early Metallica and Slayer, the band was more attracted to the occult themes of early Venom and the punk infused fury of Motorhead. After a couple of demos titled 'Paroxysmal Holocaust' and 'Beyond The Darkest Veils Of Inner Wickedness,' THERION released one 7' demo turned short EP in the form of 'Time Shall Tell' however that musical specimen became irrelevant since all of the tracks were included on this debut album OF DARKNESS. In fact most of the tracks on this first offering were pretty much left over from the late 80s which must've given it a very proto-death metal sound considering it emerged in the year 1991 when the death metal sounds of Morbid Angel, Death, Atheist, Incantation and too many more to count had already evolved into myriad different directions.

Considering what THERION would become in a few short years when the lauded 'Theli' was released in 1996, there is really absolutely nothing at this stage to connect it to that groundbreaking fusion of disparate musical styles. OF DARKNESS pretty much plays by the old school death metal book of the late 80s with heavily distorted guitar riffs churning out at breakneck speed, the occasional Morbid Angel guitar squeal solos, blastbeat drumming frenzies and of course the posted by Satan guttural growls which unintelligibly morbidity, perversion and general dystopia. The tracks were all mined from the 1987-1989 timeline so this was pretty much a get it recorded and put out already type of album that served as getting the band's name out into the greater extreme metal world.

By today's standard's this one sounds pretty generic for all its ferocity and stellar musicianship that at this stage included Johnson on vocals and guitar, long THERION lead guitarist Peter Hansson, Oskar Forss on drums and Erik Gutafsson on bass. Even on the remastered versions of OF DARKNESS the eight original tracks still sound like demos that have merely been spruced up a bit and newer versions also contain some of the other demo versions. At this point there are zero clues as to where THERION would take the metal world and unfortunately OF DARKNESS despite it's adequate job of cranking out quality death metal doesn't quite muster up the songwriting chops to create memorable tracks that stand out from one another therefore this debut is nothing more than an incessant rampage of riffs and blastbeats gussied up with hissy fit vocal rage. If the fully matured symphonic metal stage of THERION is where you want to start then skip this noisy beginning and head straight to 'Theli.'

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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