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Therion - Lemuria CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.87 | 137 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Therion have been making music for 15 years now. They use classically trained opera singers (both female and male lead vocals) and include choirs and on this recording the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra can be heard playing along side the band. All of this translates into one of the most original sounds in classically influenced metal.

Founding member Christofer Johnsson concentrates on guitar playing and he uses guest vocalists from both the operatic and metal fields to lend their talents to his albums. As evidenced on the first track off Lemuria, we find a wide variety of voices being used right away. First we hear a female soprano style vox and then a male tenor voice before the gut wrenching death growl takes over on the latter part of the lead off track: "Typhon." The wide variety of vocals help to give the songs a theatrical quality.

So the scene is set, you are in an opera of sorts, a metal musical opera to be a little more precise. Not your thing, that's really too bad. For those willing to give Lemuria a try, you will not be disappointed. I was a little worried when I first got it, thinking it may not be as good as all the reviews led me to believe. But, I put my faith in those reviewers who have consistently recommended solid material in the past.

Song Highlights:

The opening riff and overall sound of the band on "Typhon" immediately reminded me of Megadeth's new album The System Has Failed, that is the use of classic heavy metal riffs and solos. But the wide variety of vocalists on hand, the choirs and all the orchestrations is what differentiates this album from any further comparisons to Megadeth. In addition, the solos here are more ethereal in nature, very sweet with less emphasis on thrash elements and more on beautiful melodies.

"Uthark Runa" opening cadence and middle-eastern flavor combined with its grand choir is very different from the opening track. Two tracks into the album and you already know you are in possession of an amazing piece of work. If I must compare, I would suggest to you that Therion's music is similar in a way to Blind Guardian, Sirenia, Tristania and After Forever.

After listening to the first part of "Three Ships Of Berik: Calling to Arms and Fighting The Battle", I must admit that I wasn't expecting such musical creativity at all. I was sitting all alone in AWE! This track is the first part in a two part tale about the invasion of Rome with the details of the battle clearly reflected in one of Therion's most symphonic musical moments on the album.

Personally, I prefer Therion's faster paced tracks over their slower, more atmospheric tunes. The title track is a good example of this. "Lemuria" is a really beautiful ballad and the music is very moving, with more "gothic" undertones going on here than usual. I absolutely enjoy this style of music but in my view, Therion really excel when they play flat out, full power on progressive metal.

The album slows down after the opening tracks, kinda settling into a slow to mid paced rhythm right up until the 8th track: "An Arrow From the Sun." This is perhaps the most accessible track on the album, with the female and male voices trading leads and the choir joining in during the chorus. If you want a slow introduction and not get into Lemuria too quickly, then "An Arrow From The Sun" is probably the best way for someone just getting acquainted with Therion's brand of music.

The last two tracks are a couple of gems. "Abraxis" uses a female soprano style vox along with a beautiful harmonizing choir in the chorus. The solos are awesome, one of the tracks that really impressed me on the very first spin and that has remained as one of my FAV songs on this disc. The album closes with "Feuer Overture/Prometheus Entfesselt." This song opens much like a soundtrack would with an orchestra setting the atmosphere for the track. This time a male lead baritone voice takes centre stage, a choir sings the chorus. Much like the previous track, this is a very good song, much better IMO, than the music we find in the middle of this disc. The music here really reminded me of Sirenia.

If you enjoy progressive metal recorded along side a philharmonic orchestra and choirs with male and female leads, then this is an excellent addition to your prog collection.

Vanwarp | 4/5 |


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