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1 stars What a horrible album! Therion has been completely evolved since the release of this awful one. Though i think, Johansson's composing abilities has not evolved in the same level.

This album may be likened to the style of the death metal band Obituary, but lacking originality and good songwriting. The riffs are cliche and the music is boring. Finally, i repeat that Therion is not Prog metal!!!

Report this review (#57543)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars On this album, the band started to experiment with keyboards, clean vocals and a bit of folkish music. However, all those elements are diluted in lots and lots of brutal death metal. Another album to skip if you're not fan of this type of music...

I'd like to highlight two songs though: "Symphony of the Dead" and "Paths". Those are, of course, the songs incorporating clean vocals and one could find here bribes of what would appear on future albums.

Rating: 28/100

Report this review (#66571)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Growls and green shoots

Therion's début album "Of darkness" was in reality a summary of their work in the previous years leading up to its release in 1991. "Beyond Sanctorum", released the same year, was therefore their first contemporary statement of where they were at the time. Bassist Erik Gustafson had already departed, the band carrying on as a trio with both Peter Hansson and Christofer Johnsson adding bass as required. The first indications of the bands move towards the model they would eventually settle on comes with the addition of three guest vocalists on the latter part of the album. Equally significant is the addition of keyboards to the instrumental line up played by Hansson.

For the opening three tracks, it is business as usual with thrashed guitars and growls being the order of the day. Surprisingly, the latter part of opening track "Future Consciousness" does feature some spacey guitar of the early Floydian type. On the other hand, the growls on "Pandemonic Outbreak" are so ridiculous it is difficult not to laugh out loud.

"Symphony of the Dead" offers the first green shoots of the future sound of Therion. Here, the growls are offset by some conventional singing plus some brief operatic vocals. The track is predominantly the usual fare for Therion's early work, but the keyboards and slight diversity in the vocals do set it apart from its peers. The short title track features some all too brief lead guitar played by guest Magnus Eklov. The next track of any interest thereafter is "The way", and then only because it runs to some 11 minutes. There is certainly a greater level of ambition to the track at times, with hints of keyboard chorales and occasional flurries of lead guitar. Ultimately though, the track disappoints in that it is simply an elongated variation on what has gone before.

The 2 minute track "Paths" sees the return of the choral vocals alongside the growls, once again offering a glimpse of the future.

In all, "Beyond sanctorum" definitely shows sings of improvement when compared with its predecessor. There is still a long way to go though, and much of what we find here has little to do with prog.

The reissued version of the album has 4 extra tracks, all of which are demos of songs which appear on the album.

Report this review (#250457)
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Beyond Sanctorum is the second full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Therion. After a brutal old school Swedish death metal debut which put a smile on my face, as I´m a fan of bands such as Entombed, Carnage and Dismember, Therion retured later that same year with their sophomore album.

Like the debut Beyond Sanctorum doesn´t hold any progressive elements. The vocals are mostly brutal growls only contrasted by very few sections with clean male and female singing. The sporadic addition of keyboards doesn´t mean the album sounds more progressive than the debut. The riffs are crushingly heavy and the downtuned guitar sound is brutal. Just what you´d expect from an old school Swedish death metal album. While I do enjoy albums like this, there are very few of them that stand out and I wouldn´t call Beyond Sanctorum one of them. A 2 star rating is warranted. For fans of latter day operatic metal styled Therion this album might not be the best investment.

Report this review (#251129)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars After producing a succinct summary of their early work on Of Darkness, the first true Therion studio album - that is, the first one to be conceived as an album and containing material more or less contemporary to its recording, rather than songs they'd already worked over for years before they entered the studio - is a clear notch above its predecessor, incorporating a broader range of influences than you might otherwise expect into their brutal death metal framework but, unlike on later albums, rigorously translating them into death metal terms rather than indulging in more direct cross-genre fertilisation. If you don't want brutality, don't come a- knocking, but if you like hard-edged death metal with hidden smarts it's not a bad choice.
Report this review (#1164147)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
The Crow
2 stars Despite being similar to its predecessor Beyond Sanctorum entailed a progression in the band's career.

Christofer Johnsson was focused on Death Metal back in 1991, but he managed to introduce some little elements which gave a glimpse of what the band would do in the future. But let's analyze the album song by song.

Future Consciousness is a death metal knock, typical of the 90's. Maybe the guitar solo is a bit more melodic than usual, while the next song Pandemonic Outbreak is also very heavy and unforgiving. Cthulhu is also very hard, with a bit more melody than the previous track. Nile comes to my mind while hearing this song! And that is not a bad thing.

But then comes Symphony of the Dead, a very surprising song with orchestral arrangements made simulated with keyboards, female choirs and another melodic guitar solo. Hearing this song is easy to preview future albums of the band. Maybe when they recorded this album this was just an experiment, but without a doubt this song played an important role on the band's future.

Beyond Sanctorum starts as a doom song, but then becomes to another typical death metal song. Nothing special. And also not special is Enter the Depths of Eternal Darkness despite its spectacular name. Illusions of life has mysteriously a worse sound, and so on with the rest of the album. Maybe a mastering problem? I don't know, but the second half of the record is worse in terms of production.

But luckily The Way comes next! Death Metal with soft oriental influenced melodies on it, a more heavy metal oriented second half of the song with an hard rock ending! 11 minutes for the most progressive track of the album. And maybe also the best! Paths starts also with a curious symphonic gothic feeling, which then derivate into another doom track.

And sadly, Tyrants of the Damned ends the album is a rather bland way! Just more typical Death Metal.

Conclusion: warning, Beyond Sanctorum is not a progressive or symphonic metal album. Is more a Death Metal record with some Doom and Gothic elements, but with a curious taste for arrangements, usage of keyboards and some progressive elements in some songs. Is not the style that made Therion big, but interessant nevertheless if you are a completionist of extreme metal bands of the early 90's or if you are eager to discover the band's evolution through the years.

Best Tracks: Symphony of the Dead, The Way, Paths.

My rating: **

Report this review (#1743820)
Posted Saturday, July 15, 2017 | Review Permalink

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