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OF DARKNESS

Therion

Progressive Metal


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pieter.van.ve
5 stars Sometimes there are "Overlooked CLASSICS" in rock music...this is such an album ! Consider Christopher Johnsson was only 18 (!) years old..... consider the mature musicianship.....consider the INCREDIBLE changes in tempo / rhythms.....consider the double lead guitar harmonies.....

Recorded at the infamous Sunlight Studios by famed producer Tomas Skogsberg.....the sound is nicely rough and fat like dripping bacon :-)

The sound of things to come.

ESSENTIAL but overlooked CLASSIC ;-)

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#31007)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars This debut album consists of songs written in 1987-89, a bit like a compilation from the very early years. It is brutal death metal from beginning to end, and only fans of the genre will appreciate that album. As a great Therion fan, I strongly encourage to skip this album completely and start with Theli for a real peak at Therion's music.

Rating: -

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Send comments to zaxx (BETA) | Report this review (#66568)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Of Darkness... is the debut album from Swedish death metal act Therion. Therion had released two demo tapes and an EP before the release of this album, so itīs not exactly the first release from the band. Most people in progressive circles know Therion for their later more progressive operatic metal, but I remember when Of Darkness... came out in 1991. I was heavily into death metal in those days, and of course that included the very dominant/ influential Swedish death metal scene with bands like Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed, Grave, Carnage and of course Therion.

The music on Of Darkness... is pretty typical old school Swedish death metal with both fast paced and more mid-paced down-tuned metal riffing. The vocals are very brutal growls. The songs donīt differ much from each other so if you like the first song The Return chances are that you will enjoy the rest of the album just as much. There are not many melodic elements in Therionīs sound on Of Darkness... but a few melodic guitars do mean that the album become a bit more varied than what initial impressions might imply. In addition to the original songs from the album the 2000 re-release also include four bonus tracks taken from the Time Shall Tell EP (1990).

The musicianship is good but not outstanding in any way. I like the brutal vocals though. Vocalist Christofer Johnsson sounds like he means it and thatīs a quality Iīm always after when listening to music with growling vocals.

The production is actually very good for the time, but the album has been re-mastered in the 2000 Nuclear Blast version that I have ( from the The Early Chapters of Revelation Box- set), so maybe the original version didnīt sound this well. I simply canīt remember.

Of Darkness... is an enjoyable album if youīre a fan of the early nineties Swedish death metal scene but even for that genre the album does get a bit trivial along the way and I canīt give it more than a 2 star rating.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#199260)
Posted Friday, January 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
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 **

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Send comments to Mogorva (BETA) | Report this review (#202258)
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars First Therion's release, completely into the purest death metal!

Christopher Johnsson and his early fellows recorded this album in only a few days, and it was a little success in the death metal scene... This songs have all that a true death metal fan can desire: tons of growls, bass wich sounds like a thunder, fast guitars offering impossible riffs, and powerful drums.

So you will not find any prog here... The first three albums of the band are very very far from the music that Therion (aka Christopher Johnsson...) makes today. It's only death metal... And "Of Darkness..." works like a death metal album. It's not boring, mainly because the band tried to use some doom in the style of Celtic Frost, and some blast beats moments wich remind me to the grindcore of bands like Carcass. But if you don't like the old extreme metal, you'll find it horrible!

Best songs: Morbid Reality (here we can find some Celtic Frost influences...), Genocidal Raids (I like the doom intro...) and Dark Eternity (the most melodic track of the album)

Conclusion: this is an album only recommended for classic Death Metal fans... It has nothing to do with the style of music that Therion has made since "Lepacca Kliffoth". It's just authentic Death Metal in the vein of Death's "Screaming Bloody Gore", or the first Morbid Angel albums. So if you like this kind of stuff, then "Of Darkness..." is a recommended album. But if you are searching for symphonic or prog metal elements, then avoid it as quickly as you can.

My rating: **

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#226733)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
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 EP 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.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#250072)
Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Though it came out in 1991, apparently the songs on Therion's debut album were composed between 1987 and 1989. I can well believe this, since this is fairly primitive death metal material which is competently delivered - as you'd expect for songs Therion had been refining for a couple of years before they entered the studio - but which doesn't really display much in the way of creativity. More or less anything the band do here was done better by earlier death metal pioneers like Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Death - or, for that matter, the then-latest wave of death metal as represented by the likes of Deicide or Morbid Angel.

Though Therion would eventually find a distinctive sound through the incorporation of symphonic and gothic influences, there isn't a whisper of either on this album, leaving it a decent but disposable example of straight-ahead death metal which would probably have been entirely forgotten were it not for Therion's subsequent achievements.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1161212)
Posted Monday, April 14, 2014 | Review Permalink

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