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Therion - Vovin CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.11 | 193 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
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.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |


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