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Therion - Crowning of Atlantis CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.09 | 61 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A quality selection of odds and sods

As with "A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming" from two years previously, "Crowning of Atlantis" should not be taken into consideration when examining the Therion time-line. Like that album, this is really a compilation gathering together odds and sods (for want of a better expression) from around the period. That is not to say this set is devoid of value, but simply to put things in context.

Originally planned by as an EP by Christofer Johnsson, the record company decided that they wanted it expanded into a full length CD release. The three new tracks were therefore augmented by a collection of live tracks and some more cover versions.

The opening title track would, according to Johnsson, have ended up on the next proper album "Deggial" had it not appeared here. It is certainly the best of the bunch, featuring all the operatics and orchestrations which made "Vovin" such a fine album. Clearly putting the most appealing songs up front, the following "Mark of Cain" is a track recorded for, but omitted from, "Vovin". Johnsson was not satisfied with the version of the song which was prepared for "Vovin", hence its omission. He worked on it further for this album, resulting in a guitar driven piece which would have been worthy of that album.

The song "Clavicula Nox" had already made it onto "Vovin", but Johnsson felt that the ideas he had for it had not been fully realised. Whether there is anything newly recorded for this 9 minute version is not clear, the official notation being that this is a remix. In any event, the result is superb.

The first of the covers is "Crazy nights", NOT the similarly named Kiss song but a more obscure number by a band called Loudness. This rendition could actually be by Kiss, being a straightforward slice of hairspray rock. "From The Dionysian Days" was recorded during the "Vovin" sessions, but omitted on the grounds that it did not fit musically. The eclectic nature of this compilation therefore makes it the ideal home for the song. In retrospect, I reckon this piece would have fitted in fine on "Vovin" and thus serves to enhance the appeal of this album. The operatic singing is slightly less formal here and the guitar work smoother, leading to a bit of a middle of the road feel.

"Thor (The powerhead)" is a cover of a song by Manowar from their "Sign of the Hammer" album. As with "Crazy nights", this rendition is pretty faithful to the original, and thus sounds quite remote from the style Therion have now made their own. The final cover is of "Seawinds", originally by Accept. In this case, unlike the other covers, Johnsson reinvents the piece as a Therion original. The acoustic base and 60's type harmonies combine to form a light but beautiful number which might have made for a successful single release had it been recorded 20 years earlier.

The album closes with the traditional way of filling unused space on an album, i.e. a trio of live versions of songs we have heard before. These were recorded on the 1998 tour (as a support band) to promote "Vovin". It is not clear however how much of what we hear is actually performed live, and how much is pre-recorded. The three songs, one from each of "Theli", "Vovin" and "Lepaca Kliffoth" come across well. Given though that a major part of the appeal of the music of Therion is the way the songs are arranged and recorded in the studio, these versions are largely sueprflouous.

In all, a decent gathering of diverse material. As such, the album does not flow well and pretty much all the worthwhile stuff is upfront. Enjoyable in the same way as a greatest hits package might be.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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