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Therion - Of Darkness CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.47 | 45 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars The pre-theatre menu

The career path of Therion is similar to that of Anathema in that it was only after they had released a few underwhelming death metal albums that they reinvented themselves as a high quality theatrical/operatic band. Formed in 1987, they went through a couple of names before settling on the abbreviated Therion. The word comes from the Greek for (a biblical) "Beast", the inspiration for its use coming from a track by the band Celtic Frost. The guiding light of the band has always been the multi talented Christofer Johnsson, here listed as the sole composer, lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist.

A trio of privately released EPs preceded this album, which itself contains songs written between 1987 and 1989. It took until 1990 for these to be recorded, with this the official début album appearing the following year. This would be their only release on Deaf Records.

It should be said upfront that anyone coming to this album seeking the magnificent operatic metal of Therion's main career will most certainly be disappointed. A glance at the line up indicates a complete absence even of keyboards, let alone choirs and orchestras. Even before that, one look at the sleeve will confirm that the word "subtlety" is unlikely to be needed in a review.

Turning to the music on the album, the previous mention of Anathema becomes even more pertinent as the opening song "The return" explodes on the ears in a burst of thrashed guitar and growls. There is actually a slight element of melody to the growls here, but they remain very much an acquired taste (or in my case, yet to be acquired!). The guitar work is certainly impressive as long as it is remembered that it is thrashed chords, not lead guitar soloing.

Generally the pace of the tracks is upbeat, avoiding the drudgery of slow drawn out death metal. The tracks do however have a tendency to all sound the same, the lack of options in the line up and the band's self inflicted parameters combining to cause this.

For the traditional prog fan, music such as this is the antithesis of our genre just as much as punk is. Personally, I find small doses of the music just about bearable. Not my preferred choice of listening by any means though.

The re-release of the album adds 4 "bonus" tracks, these being two demos and 2 unreleased versions of tracks on the album. Since the final versions of the tracks are basic enough, these extras are of little value.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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