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Therion A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming album cover
3.17 | 43 ratings | 3 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In Remembrance (6:27)
2. Black Fairy (5:53)
3. Fly to the Rainbow (Scorpions cover) (8:12)
4. Children of the Damned (Iron Maiden cover) (4:28)
5. Under Jolly Roger (Running Wild cover) (4:34)
6. Symphony of the Dead (3:37)
7. Here Comes the Tears (Judas Priest cover) (3:21)
8. Enter Transcendental Sleep (4:20)
9. The Quiet Desert (3:50)
10. Down the Qliphotic Tunnel (2:51)
11. Up to Netzach / Floating Back (4:06)
- OST by Christofer Johnsson for "Golden Embrace" art movie (1997):
12. The Fall into Eclipse (3:42)
13. Enter Transcendental Sleep (3:49)
14. The Gates to A'arab Zaraq Are Open (1:22)
15. The Quiet Desert (3:49)
16. Down the Qliphotic Tunnel (2:51)
17. Up to Netzach (2:53)
18. Floating Back (0:49)

Total Time 70:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Christofer Johnsson / guitar, Hammond (1-3), keyboards, grand piano, bass (6-11), co-producer
- Jonas Mellberg / guitar (1-3), keyboards (1)
- Lars Rosenberg / bass (1-5)
- Piotr Wawrzeniuk / drums, vocals (3,4,7)

- Dan Swanö / vocals (1,2)
- Tobias Sidegård / vocals (5)
- Marie-Thérèse Kübel / alto vocals
- Raphaela Mayhaus / soprano vocals
- Bettina Stumm / soprano vocals
- Ergin Onat / tenor vocals
- Klaus Bulow / bass vocals
- Joachim Gebhardt / bass vocals
- Peter Tägtgren / guitar (5)
- Gottfried Koch / grand piano, acoustic guitar (7,11), co-producer
- Barmbek Symphony Orchestra (8-18)

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Grøn

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 249-2 (1997, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THERION A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming ratings distribution

(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THERION A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Covers, soundtracks, and leftovers

Although officially listed as Therion's sixth album, this strangely named release is closer to a compilation than a coherent album. Timed to celebrate the band's 10th anniversary, the set draws in tracks left over from the previous "Theli", a number of cover versions, songs from a soundtrack project of band leader Christofer Johnsson and Therion's re- interpretations of songs from that soundtrack. As such, there are a number of different line ups on the album, with only Johnnson and drummer Piotr Wawrzeniuk being ever present. This should not then be assessed in the context of following on from "Theli", but more as a bonus set for fans of the band. Choirs and orchestras do appear, but they are generally much less in evidence than on "Theli".

The tracks are neatly grouped together for ease of listening. The first three of these are recorded by the "Theli" line up, with Dan Swano (who appeared on that album) taking lead vocal on the first two. "In remembrance" is a fine, fairly commercial piece of light metal. It is largely devoid of operatic vocals, presumably leading to its omission from "Theli". The overall sound is close to that of bands such as The Mission and Sisters of Mercy. "Black fairy" continues in the light metal style this time drifting towards the sound we now associate with Ayreon; one gets the impression it could have been adapted to suit the operatic voices quite easily, but in this form it is an enjoyable if largely anonymous piece of pop metal.

The first of the covers, still played by the "Theli" line up, is of "Fly to the rainbow", a Scorpions song from 1974. This 8+ minute number sees drummer Piotr Wawrzeniuk giving the first of two lead vocal performances on the album. While the track is decidedly un-Therion like, being far more pop orientated than usual, it does illustrate that Wawrzeniuk is actually a much better singer than Johnsson. The following two covers were recorded during a session in Germany in December 1996. "Children of the damned" is an Iron Maiden song again sung by Wawrzeniuk, while "Under Jolly Roger" was by an obscure band called Running Wild. The vocals here are by Tobias Sidegard with Peter Tägtgren playing additional lead guitar. Both songs are as much as anything a chance for the band to have a bit of fun.

The next two tracks see the line-up pared back to just Johnsson and Wawrzeniuk. The first of these is an abbreviated instrumental version of "Symphony of the Dead", a song which first appeared on the band's "Beyond sanctorum" album. This version brings out the symphonic nature of the music. "Here Comes the Tears" is a cover of a Judas Priest song. This version retains the JP feel, while adding a slightly Gothic style to the song.

The remainder of the album is handed over to Johnsson's soundtrack for the obscure film called "Golden Embrace" (not listed on IMDB!). First we have four songs (of which two are combined into a single piece) re-recorded by Therion (or at least Johnsson and Wawrzeniuk in the Therion style). These four tracks have much more in common with the "Theli" album, featuring operatic vocals and symphonic sounds. As such, they represent the high point of the entire album.

The final section of the album is the original orchestral soundtrack to "Golden embrace" sub-titled "A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming". Some choral vocals remain on the 7 tracks which make up this part, but the main emphasis is on orchestration, devoid of any rock instruments or influences.

In all, an album which should not be taken too seriously in terms of the Therion career path. Heard for what it is, this is an enjoyable collection of songs conveniently brought together to form a decent compilation.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Following the breakthrough success of "Theli," the moment when once and for all THERION ditched its death metal roots and became one of the world's first and foremost pioneers of orchestral symphonic metal that adopted full choirs and classical arrangements which found massive orchestras for live performances, THERION decided to release an odd album as a followup. Having been a member of the Dragon Rouge occult group, founder and band leader Christofer Johnsson never missed an opportunity to intertwine an esoteric meaning into his works. The following year in 1997, THERION released A'ARAB ZARAQ LUCID DREAMING, the first part of the title referring to the Qliphah which corresponds to the Sephirah Netzach on the Kabbalah's tree of life. The second part of the title adds a little humor as the fans probably thought they were dreaming when they put this album on for the first time.

This is not a new album of material by any means but rather a collection of leftover tracks, cover songs from other artists as well as the unreleased soundtrack to "The Golden Embrace" that appears solely under the Christofer Johnsson moniker. The leftover tracks were culled from the unused sessions of the "Theli" album while the cover songs are from the Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Running Wild and Judas Priest. "Symphony Of The Dead" is a new instrumental version of the track that appeared on the "Beyond Sanctorum" only castrated of all its death metal prowess and adapted to the new world of THERION's symphonic metal sound. The selling point on this one was that it was released for the 10th anniversary of THERION's formation but we all know that it's basically a wink and a nod for cashing in on the band's much deserved success.

Like many grab bags of such material, A'ARAB ZARAQ LUCID DREAMING should be considered supplemental THERION material rather than an essential cornerstone of its diverse canon. Personally i could live without the cover tunes with Iron Maiden's "Children Of The Damned" being a considerably weak example of a classic cover song ruined but there are many fine tunes to be found on here as well. "Black Fairy" offers a unique songwriting technique that creates an intricately designed methodology from morphing from verse to completely unrelated chorus and the bouncy, keyboard stab rich "Enter Transcendental Sleep" sounds like something that really should have been found on "Theli" as some sort of extended interlude. Also of high quality are "The Quiet Desert," "Down The Qliphothic Tunnel" and "Up to Netzach / Floating Back" which are as good as anything from THERION's actual albums.

The last seven tracks are from "The Golden Embrace" soundtrack for the short 19 minute indie film that was the one-man project from Christofer Johnsson himself. While of high quality, these tracks ditch the metal altogether and instead display a more restrained mix of dark ambient and symphonic orchestral sounds which are more in the realms of chamber music than anything resembling rock. Along with the classical music workouts are the operatic vocals with extra emphasis on the synthesized keyboards which play the role of the "busy" parts that normally would be fulfilled by the metal guitar, bass and drums in THERION. These tracks are credited to Johnsson exclusively but are hauntingly beautiful and in all honesty are worth the price of admission alone.

If the soundtrack part was released as an EP it would easily be a four star album and likewise with the extra odds and sods of loose fodder from the "Theli" sessions. That album easily could have featured an extra disc of such bonus material and made it all the better. Of all the tracks on this one i really could live without the Iron Maiden and Running Wild cover tunes but the Scorpions' "Fly To The Rainbow" and Judas Priest's "Here Comes Tears" aren't that bad at all. Likewise the opening "In Remembrance" is a weak track and the worst to begin the album with which possible has turned many off. All in all this is an interesting collection of material and a must for THERION fans but a miss for those who don't want to dig so deep. After all, as good as the extra material is, there's nothing substantially different than what one could experience on "Theli," "Vovin" or "Secret Of The Runes" for that matter so this is a just above good addition but not absolutely essential either and in case it's not obvious, you really gotta love choral music and classical in general for this to gel in any way!

3.5 rounded down

Latest members reviews

4 stars This album is long (over 70 minutes), but it's hard to consider it as a real studio release. It contains two previously unreleased songs from the Theli era, four covers, a re-recording of an old song, songs from a sountrack as well as re-recorded versions of those songs. Released as a 10-year ... (read more)

Report this review (#66712) | Posted by zaxx | Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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