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Therion - Deggial CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.76 | 109 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Deggial tell the truth that man is but a Beast"

With Therion's star rising ever higher, Christofer Johnsson secured even greater funding for the recording of the band's ninth official album. As a result, he brought in a full orchestra for the first time (previous releases had included a strings orchestra only) in addition to the now traditional choirs and soloists. The album took 3 months to record, the emphasis being placed on exploring in even greater depths the symphonic aspects of Therions' music. Once again, Johnsson takes the opportunity to refresh the line up, with Kristian Niemann coming in on lead guitar, Johan Niemann on bass and Sami Karppinen on drums. The arrival of the Neimann brothers would signal the beginning of a relatively stable period in the line up of the band.

The opening bars of "Seven secrets of the sphinx" give little indication of any symphonic aspects, and indeed indicate that this will also be a generally darker and heavier outing for Therion. The following "Eternal return" is more in keeping with albums such as "Theli" and "Vovin", but even here, the sound actually seems a little sparser. It is only when we get to "Enter Vril-Ya" that the symphonic aspects start to come to the fore, the strings and massed choir combining to deliver a piece with true might.

"Ship of Luna" begins with a "Mars" (Holst) like drum rhythm before switching completely to become an acoustic based number. The combination of acoustic foundation and choral voices works well here. As the song unfolds, it reveals itself as one of Therion's most complex, and indeed progressive pieces. The power is notched up further for the regal "The invincible", which floats along on a series of mystical lyrics. Quite why the title track seems a little different is difficult to explain, but while the vocals are of the usual choral type, the instrumentation has an alternative feel to it. Midway through, the song burst open in a rip- roaring romp to the end.

As a title, "Emerald crown" sails close to Rhapsody territory, but the song itself is actually one of the softer ones, more of a ballad really. At less than 1½ minutes, the instrumental "The Flight of the Lord of Flies" is the shortest track on the album by far. The piece seems to be a sort of variation on "The flight of the bumble bee".

"Flesh of the Gods" features guest lead vocals by Hansi Kürsch, the balance of the song leaning back towards the heavier rock orientation of the band. The centrepiece of the album is the 2 part, 9½ minute "Via Nocturna". The pixie inspired lyrics (written throughout the album by Thomas Karlsson) talk of walks in strange forests and a queen of the night called Lilith. The images are well buried though in an epic mix of orchestration, chorales and dramatic guitar blasts. In the best ways of prog, the song take some time to reveal itself, but as it does we discover a magnificent cornucopia of all which defines Therion.

The final track is a cover of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna", an operatic piece which will be familiar even to those who do not recognise the name. The rendition here calls upon all the power of choir and orchestra, while also featuring some fine acoustic guitar.

The album was a commercial success as expected, but despite the major investment this time, it actually sold less than "Vovin". Quite why this should be is not immediately obvious, as the album fulfils all expectations. Perhaps the more of the same aspect meant that some fans felt the originality of Therion was waning. If so, that would be a great pity, as this is a mighty album.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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