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5 stars Starting reviewing this album of Therion i've to say that this is prog in the vein of the real fusion between rock/metal and classic/opera music. This is not prog with complex structures or rhythm's. I bought this album in summer 1999 and i've always loved this one because "Vovin" is an album were I won't find weak points speaking for my self. When the album kicks off with "The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah" you know what you're into. Simple '80 rock/metal-riffs combined with violins and classical vocals. The next song "Birth of Venus Illegitima" is my personal favorite,because of the very dark atmosphere. (in fact, that atmosphere is in the entire album). "Wine of Aluqa" is a heavier song, followed by "Clavicula Nox" which is more reposing and this is the longest track. With "The Wild Hunt" there are no brakes, the heaviest song on the album,were vocalist Ralf Scheepers of German speed/power metalband Primal Fear takes his part. "Eye of Shiva" is more relaxing. "The Black Sun" starts with a nice piano-intro and then takes a heavier direction. In "Draconian Trilogy" all the parts that make this album great, fit together. Ending with "Raven of Dispersion" which has a more dreamy atmosphere. Christofer Johnsson has here been very creative again (as he was with the previous album "Theli"). If you don't like (too much) classical influences or even classical vocals, this is not your album, but if you open your mind and discover the creativity of Cristofer you have a masterpiece of prog music in your collection. Robin, Holland.
Report this review (#31026)
Posted Monday, March 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Quite looking forward to their first tour of the USA here shortly in 2005. This is an amazing album, and in my honest opinion Therion's best of their latest style. Combining great rhythmic metal styles with amazing classical harmonies and melodies make this one of the great moments in metal. I enjoy bands that "progress" to this sort and look outside the box. Obviously this has worked well with Therion as they have progressed in this fashion through the majority of their albums!
Report this review (#42420)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Therion is not just another Swedish Metal band, in fact their music has evolved into something so much more elaborate than their early death metal roots, into this astral mix of classical music and opera metal that it is today.

Yngwie Malmsteen was perhaps one of the first classically trained musician to actually mix classical music with heavy metal in the early 80's. This symphony/metal approach has been attempted by many others over the years, though in my view only a few have been very successful at it, namely: Therion, Adagio, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, Nightwish, Stratovarius and Within Temptation.

To the fans of the genre, Therion's mid-period material since the bands inception in 1990, albums such as 1996's Theli and 1998's Vovin are regarded as embodying some of the best material the band has to offer. Vovin is a lot more varied and conceivably slower than Theli. Therion's metal-ness has been piped-down somewhat on Vovin to leave way for the more softer, more extravagant classical elements found therein.

The album was cut with a full orchestra and symphony choir, offering the listener a rich baronial sound that most not familiar with the genre have yet to experience the grandness of it all. This disc not only mixes choir vocals with orchestrations, but includes a pounding rhythm section and heavy guitars to give the album its' metal inkling. Even the orchestrations here blend in much better than on Theli.

Lead composer/guitarist Christofer Johnsson has taken the basic ideas he first developed on Theli a step further, into classical music arrangements with full blown choirs and orchestration.

Vovin's epic adventure opens with "The Rise Of Sodom and Gomorrah", a solid opening track where the band slowly introduces you to their sound and eventually throws everything at you so you know exactly what you're getting into.

"Birth Of Venus Illegitima" is a more absorbing musical experience. The shifting between the low voices and the higher soprano/alto voices is a very nice touch. Now we're starting to feel like we are heading out somewhere...

The last minute of "Wine Of Aluqah" is so exhilarating.very triumphant! And what to say about the hyper-speed tempo of the "The Wild Hunt" - bombastic from the get go. Both these tracks remind me of the furiousness found on Theli. Two of the most engaging tracks on the album and I love 'em both!

"Clavicula Nox" is perhaps my FAV track on the album. What can I say, I'm a sucker for beautiful female lead vocals and acoustic guitar solos. Slow, atmospheric and beautiful...just an awesome track!

As with "Eye of Shiva", the "Draconian Trilogy" comprising of "The Opening", "Morning Star" and "Black Diamond" all send the listener on a journey through the calmer, more soothing side of Therion, inviting you to float away once again...

On "Raven Of Dispersion", you get a good variety of voices from low soothing male to high soprano female sounds...very nice mid paced closer!

Underneath the choir voices and musical arrangements are metal guitar riffs which prevent the listener from thinking he's at some opera house somewhere?

There is no doubt that Vovin pales in comparison to Theli's bombastic speed-opera. Although I'll agree that Therion is at it's best when the music is fast, but Vovin's magic lies in its slower paced light opera metal extravaganza!

If you are looking for a more headbanging opera metal experience, then the more dynamic Theli is the album of choice. But, if you prefer more variety, from slow to mid paced songs with the occasional furious hyper-speed track, then Vovin is by far the more interesting listening experience of the two. I like Theli a lot, but I LOVE Vovin even more! The emphasis here is on musical arrangements, orchestrations and choirs...and classical music with progressive heavy metal influences never felt so good! :)

Report this review (#45891)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A sub par album ... 2 1/2 stars from me, which I round down to 2 stars. Any Rhapsody album is at least 10x better in terms of musicianship and proper implementation of classical music. There are also many metal bands which are generally considered to be less progressive, for example Blind Guardian, who do a much better job than Therion. It's hard to believe that this is even considered to be one of their better albums ...

The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah: The intro is not all that bad. But the main theme of the song is so boring and cliche ... really NOTHING to write home about. Add to that the sloppy synchronisation between the orchestra and the drums.

Birth of Venus Illegitima: This song is based on a really plain metal riff that is reminiscent of old Accept or Scorpions. The male choir is totally uninspired and adds nothing to the music. The intro is again better than the song itself.

Wine of Aluqah: The first uptempo track, and although I think that it's uninspired and below-par compared to other bands of the genre, it is listenable - except for the uncalled-for "happy" Speed metal parts.

Clavicula Nox: Interesting track, but the female vocal lines are disappointing both lyrically and musically. The overall atomsphere is convincing, and luckily the repetetive heavy part is quite short.

The Wild Hunt: The fastest track so far, Power Metal with male choirs and a metal singer, which creates an interesting contrast. Unfortunately this is not really progressive, with really tame chord progressions.

Eye of Shiva: Oh those horrible vocals ... whoever wrote these songs either doesn't know much about polyphony, or decided not to use it. Throughout this song, the album and also various other Therion releases the vocal lines, instrumental interplay etc. are underwhelming, because classical music can be so rich and intricate - if done correctly. IMO it's sad that many people consider music like this to be a real "symbiosis" of classical music and metal. IMO it's really just metal.

Black Sun/Draconian Trilogy: Boring ... it's one of the better tracks, like Wine of Aluqah, but again lacks any creativity.

The Opening: A short interlude/segue ... centered around a ridiculously boring and derivative pedal tone guitar lick.

Morning Star: I can't listen to this, it's pathetic. All that I said before also applies here.

Report this review (#56292)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars First of all, Therion must not be among progressive metal bands. Although i like this album, they are not actually capable musicians... However they know how to be effective and add some sort of spirit to their technically weak music. One thing i can appreciate them about is that they are not self-inspired if we look to all their albums...

Vovin is perhaps my favourite Therion album. Real orcherstral vocals add great atmosphere to the music. Instrument sounds and playing is also satisfying, except some horrible guitar riffs. Oh man, he does not know how to play the guitar! (Of course the guitarwork in Vovin is not as terrible as in "Deggial".) But if we ignore this, i enjoy the strings especially in Draconian Trilogy.

Finally, Therion does not deserve to be named as Progressive!!! (how can a band named progressive, if it creates -without much diversity- no more than 30 melodies in a whole album? )

Report this review (#57517)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars On this album, Therion developped further the concept of symphonic metal. This time, a real orchestra is used as well as a larger choir, and not only samples. The album is much less heavy and much more symphonic, and in a sense much more accessible to a larger audience. Some fans will regret the old times, not me.

Not much to say about the songs themselves - top quality symphonic metal. "Wine Of Aluqah" differs a bit from the rest of the songs, as it is much heavier - same applies to "The Wild Hunt", with Ralf Scheepers on vocals, which sounds a lot like a Helloween song. "Clavicula Nox" is a long epic song featuring female vocals - this song was re- recorded on the next album with male vocals and clearly the re-recorded version sounds a lot better. "Draconian trilogy" is the centerpiece of the album - forget the metal parts on the song and just listen to the symphonic parts. "Raven Of Dispersion" closes the album with a very dark atmosphere.

Rating: 96/100

Report this review (#66883)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars From this album Therion developped further the concept of symphonic metal, and the result is a masterpiece of music in general. I 'm not hearing every day such an album, every piece is where it belongs. The music is something between '80 metal with fabulous symphonyc orchestration. Here we have everything, from slows ones to the fastest ones, that pleases every prog metal fan. The intristing aragements with a touch of arabian music made this album for me to be a 5 star album. The beautiful female vocals on Clavicula nox showes as that Therion is not just another band, but one who needs attention in the future. Here they reach the peak of their creation. Some guest musicians of the highest calibre also did a great job, 2 of them are Ralf Scheepers (ex Gamma Ray vocals, now in Primal Fear) and Waldemar Sorychta (known from Tiamat and Grip Inc.), Who don't have this album get it worth every second og it. Underneath the choir voices and musical arrangements and metal guitar riffs stands one of the best albums of the '90 - Vovin. 5 stars
Report this review (#138677)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Crow
5 stars In my opinion, this album is even better than Theli... A true masterpiece of symphonic metal!

And of course, here is where Christopher Johnsson reached his true personality both in compositions and in arrangements... Because Vovin is almost a solo album. Johnsson is the only important link between Theli and Vovin, and so is demonstrated that he is the true soul of the band, the man behind the project is Johnsson himself... And he took the direction of the band masterfully, making an elegant album, full with incredible melodies, and with a perfect sound. Vovin is, in my opinion, the confirmation of symphonic metal as true genre, and it maybe surpases almost all the albums from this style I've heard.

The mood of this music is different in comparision with Theli... Vovin is less classic heavy metal, and it has less from the 80's influence of the previous (and wonderful) effort, although the 70's feeling of some tracks is still here (Clavicula Nox is similar of The Siren of the Woods in style, and both tracks have some 70's feeling...) But like I said, this album is less heavy, and much more symphonic. The speed of the tracks is slow, with a pair of exceptions, and the mood is pretty melancholic, in contrast with the more epic Theli. But with this elements, Johnsson achieved to make a very original album, even more than the seminal Theli... The obvious influences are gone, and here we have a pure and new thing. Vovin is just unique, and it confirmed Therion like one of the most genuine and influential bands in metal.

Another good fact of this album, is it's variety... More homogene than Theli, OK, but it never gets boring. The album starts with and epic hymn (The Fall os Sodom and Gomorrah), then it becomes symphonic hard rock (Birth of Venus Illegitima), then comes the heavy metal mixed with some power metal (Wine of Alluqah), and after that, the 70's acoustic oriented sounds (Clavicula Nox) gives way to the speed metal track The Wild Hunt... And this is the constant evolution of this album, full with variety, imagination and really awesome music.

Best tracks: all of them... But I specially like Wine of Alluqah (the final power metal part gives me goosegumps...), Clavicula Nox (great dark riffing, and great acoustics...), the Draconian Trilogy, and of course, the best song of this album is Raven of Dispersion (I just love the odd guitars in the verses before the chorus, and the incredibly beautiful ending)

Conclusion: Vovin is maybe the best symphonic metal album I've heard to date... A masterpiece with marvellous sound, great arrangements, and clever compositions. The music is never overproduced or too full with instruments... Just guitars, bass, powerful drumming, strings, and operistic voices. And with this elements Johnsson created the true birth of the Therion style, and the confirmation of symphonic metal like a new way of making music... And what a wonderful way! Strongly recommended.

My rating: *****

Report this review (#180548)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars A tear comes from the eye of Shiva

"Vovin" should be looked upon as the follow up to the excellent "Theli", the intervening "A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming" being a convenient gathering together of unreleased material which was gathering dust. The album title is taken from the Enochian word for Dragon, a creature which appears regularly in Therion's themes.

Once again, band founder and leader Christofer Johnsson would completely change the line up of the band, bringing in lead guitarist Tommy Erisson plus a new bassist and drummer. The orchestral and choral aspects were also subject to even greater investment, with operatic soloists being added where required.

The orchestra used here is not yet a full one, that will come on future albums. The string section who are used though, announce their arrival in the opening bars of "The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah". The song has something of a "Kashmir" feel to it, with a similar rhythm structure, Arabian overtones and dramatic orchestration. The choral vocals however distinguish the piece, which evolves as a true Therion classic. For me, the following "Birth of Venus Illegitima" ticks all the boxes, and stands as Therion's best song thus far. The slightly melancholy mood of the song is brought to its full potential through a surprisingly complex, yet utterly captivating arrangement.

"Wine of Aluqah" is the first track on the album to delve into the Gothic metal of Therion's past, with double paced drumming driving a guitar heavy piece at reckless speed. Even here though, the magnificent female choirs serve to soften the blows. The lengthy "Clavicula Nox", which runs to just under 9 minutes, is a brooding, slightly looser affair, which relies to a greater extent on the excellent orchestration. Listening to this piece, one has to stop and think just how far the band have come from their early days. In contrast, "The Wild Hunt" is an all out dash to the finish through a much more metal orientated, but still operatic, number.

The classical female lead vocal on "Eye of Shiva" immediately reminds us of Nightwish, but the song is generally more majestic than the music of that band. The alternating of a full choir and stunning lead guitar towards the end of the piece may bring a tear to the eye, such is the power of the music. "Black sun" focuses once again on the power metal side, but oh those wonderful voices.

Three tracks combine late on in the album to form a mini-suite sub-titled "The Draconian Trilogy". "The opening" naturally opens the suite in suitably pompous fashion with strings being sawed and floating lead guitars leading to Gothic chanting. "Morning star" is the heavy core of the trilogy, the vocals being darker and moodier than anywhere else on the album. The third part of the suite, "Black diamonds" once again tugs on the emotions, climaxing in a quite exquisite solo violin piece. The album closes with "Raven of Dispersion", an operatic metal ballad if you will, which benefits from a slightly quirky arrangement.

On later releases, a bonus track "The king" is included. This cover of a song by Accept is a more conventional piano based song with female lead vocal. A pleasant diversion, but no more than that.

As is probably clear by now, those who enjoy the music of bands such as Nightwish, Rhapsody (of fire), Within Temptation, etc. will undoubtedly find Therion to be fully compatible with their tastes. With Operatic, Symphonic, "Hollywood" metal such as this, it is the quality of the arrangements more than the quality of the songs themselves which distinguishes the great from the good. For my money, Therion at this point are up there at the top of their class... and this is without a doubt one of their finest recordings.

Report this review (#251798)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Therion had one more great work in them before they turned into a metal muzak producing unit, While Theli marked the end of their creative progression, Vovin is a solid confirmation of their quality standards. Even though the music is very straightforward, the huge symphonic arrangements, operatic voices and pleasant melodies could easily win over many prog-heads.

While every song is most pleasant, the continuous slow place and generic approach bogs down the effect somewhat. The Wild Hunt is the only up-tempo track that stirs things up a bit. Another weakness is that it is really too sweet and smooth all the way through. It's sure done tastefully, neither kitschy nor excessive (which is quite an achievement in this style), but sometimes I'd really like to kick their butt hoping they would put a bit more adventure in their work.

Therion used to be a unique and ground-breaking metal act in the 90's. Vovin easily proves that. But I used to be more overwhelmed by it at the time it came out. Since then it hasn't survived repeated critical listens all that well, I only play it occasionally now.

Report this review (#251945)
Posted Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Having fully blossomed on Lepaca Kliffoth and Theli, Therion then hit a transitional phase as they drained their music of its former death metal influences and worked to put in a more gothic foundation for their particular brand of symphonic metal. The end result is an album I can't help but find less immediately arresting than its two predecessors, though it's a competent enough job and when it does work it's an interesting continuation of this particular musical direction. Still, I can't help but feel that underneath the undeniable polish Vovin is just a bit more vapid than the preceding albums, relying slightly too much on orchestral pretensions without bringing sufficiently meaty material to the table to justify them.
Report this review (#1165544)
Posted Friday, April 25, 2014 | Review Permalink

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