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Therion Gothic Kabbalah album cover
3.56 | 96 ratings | 9 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD1 - 38:25
1. Der Mitternachtslöwe (5:38)
2. The Gothic Kabbalah (4:34)
3. The Perrennial Sophia (4:54)
4. Wisdom and the Cage (5:02)
5. Son of the Staves of Time (4:48)
6. Tuna 1613 (4:23)
7. Trul (5:11)
8. Close up the Streams (3:55)

CD2 - 45:12
1. Wand of Abaris (5:52)
2. Three Treasures (5:21)
3. The Path to Arcady (3:55)
4. TOF - The Trinity (6:18)
5. Chain of Minerva (5:21)
6. The Falling Stone (4:46)
7. Adulruna Rediviva (13:37)

Total Time: 83:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Christofer Johnsson / guitar, keyboards, organs
- Kristian Niemann / lead & rhythm guitars, keyboards
- Johan Niemann / bass guitar, guitar, acoustic guitar
- Petter Karlsson / drums, guitar, keyboards, solo & choral vocals, percussion

Guest musicians
- Mats Levén / vocals, guitar
- Snowy Shaw / vocals
- Katarina Lilja / vocals
- Hannah Holgersson / vocals
- Jonas Samuelsson?Nerbe / tenor
- Anna Nyhlin / solo soprano
- Karin Fjellander / choral soprano
- Ken Hensley / Hammond organ
- Joakim Svalberg / Hammond organ
- Rolf Pilotti / solo flute
- Stefan Glaumann / tambourine

Thanks to A. F. Doyle for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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Buy THERION Gothic Kabbalah Music

Gothic Kabbalah (2CD)Gothic Kabbalah (2CD)
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$7.99 (used)

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THERION Gothic Kabbalah ratings distribution

(96 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THERION Gothic Kabbalah reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
3 stars So another double CD set by Swedish operatic gothic masters Therion. I've to say I've been already not very much fascinated by the previous Lemuria/Sirius B set, just too pompous and overblown for my taste. I would say that they've passed their pinnacle since many years already which has been with albums like Theli and Vovin. That kind of music has been really something new and unique but just now they're only another band doing some bombastic operatic epic power metal in the vein of bands like Rhapsody or Nightwish which leaves me quite cold I must say. This is some nice music in a harder vein pleasant to listen maybe for once or twice as a background sound but anything outstanding let alone a masterpiece! 3 stars for that one since I'm in a good mood!
Review by semismart
4 stars I havn't listened to Gothic Kabbalah closely, but I have played it constantly for the last three days, while I work. This is what I have observed and determined.

Gothic Kabbalah is Therion's second consecutive double disc album. It has a total playing time of a little over eighty-three minutes, a good value for the money. Therion's musical style on this disc is different than all previous releases. Not better, not worse, just different. I hesitate to say it's evolving at this point, but the music as a whole seems to be leaner, more accessible, more mainstream. I don't mean it's headed for top-forty land. I mean, that top forty aficionados would find Gothic Karbbalah more palatable than say, Theli of Volvin.

The bombast of the music was reduced as was the choir and orchestral work, if indeed an orchestra was used. In this day and age it's hard to tell. There is a greater emphasis female lead singer(s). Much more so than previously, probably in response to the femme metal phenomenon that is sweeping Europe, with groups like Nightwish, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil and Epica to name a few. Personally, I like that. As a matter of fact, I like the whole album, but I don't love it!

Of the fifteen tracks on Gothic Kabbalah, only four tracks, ever caught my attention, enough to make me wonder what track it was and what the name was. I would say that these four songs, which consistently garnered my attention are, without a doubt five star songs. Upon further scrutiny there may be more but I doubt it. The following five songs are the highlight of the album:

. 'The Falling Stone' is a variable tempo, but mostly medium fast rock number, with a driving beat and a lady lead singer. It features an interesting staggered lead in and some effective choir work in the end. . 'T of - The Trinity' starts really fast, with some wild guitar playing in the beginning ant throughout. Again it's a variable speed song, which both male and female solos stand out among heavy choir singing. This song is a grabber. Not only my favorite song on the album but one of Therion's best songs on any album. . 'Der Mitternachtslowe' Another song with a female lead, this time with male backing vocals. Der Mitternachtslowe' features a chugging medium tempo rhythm, with more backing vocals than lead. I particularly like the way the girl singer's vocal is doubled up for the chorus. . 'Trul' The strange thing about this song is I can't get Blind Guardian out of my head when I hear Trul. The melody, arrangement and style, even down to the flute, reminds me of Hansi Kersch and company.


Add a couple other near five star songs like the fourteen minute Adulruna Rediviva and Son of the Stabes of Time, throw in a eight other three and four star songs and you have a nice but not great Therion album.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A great album, a change in style.

Therion has always been a band I have respected and one of those groups the music from which I always expect to dazzle me, and they have delivered most every time I purchased their releases. THELI was a masterpiece of mixing death-metal and power-metal with choirs, operatic singers and bombastic orchestral sounds; DEGGIAL, for me their best album, took that same musical idea to the next level, loosing the power-metal connections a little bit while adding even more orchestral sounds and practically eliminating from the sound experience the presence of regular vocalists and relying almost completely on choirs; LEMURIA showcased a band trying hard to "metallize" back their music but not quite accomplishing that; SIRIUS B, the album I like the least from those I've heard and own, was a return to metal of sorts, but lacking the melody, the impossing atmospheres and the equilibrium of DEGIIAL or even of its companion piece. Now there's a new kid in town, GOTHIC KABBALAH. How does it fare?

For me, it's almost a total success. The album constitutes a departure from the style Therion got us used to in favor of a simpler, but also more direct one. The album, this time contained in two discs, represents the most abrupt change in Therion's history since THELI broke away from death metal into true prog-metal glory. The most noticeable changes are:

1) First, there's an emphasis in rock-styled singers and vocalists, and we have almost no choirs to speak about. There are still some passages where choral melodies are the dominant key, but those are few and far between, as opposed to an album like DEGGIAL where the same could be said but about rock-singers.

2) The band now has a female vocalist that sings all throughout the record and gives it unity and a sense of balance. Her voice is very likeable and much in the vein of Ayreon's various female-singers.

3) Probably the most important change, Johnson is no longer the main composer of the music, but now he shares credentials with Johann Niemann, Peter Karlsson and others. That's a refreshing change for, as experienced in SIRIUS B, the terrific swede-master was running out of ideas, and he was in desperate need of an influx of musical adrenaline.

4) The instrumentation itself: the orchestral passages we used to have in earlier releases are used to a lesser extent in here, but we still have the pleasure of listening to some classical instruments here and there, mostly the flute (The keyboards take the place of a large orchestra in some parts, with their powerful sound).

5) The music: instead of pure speed and violence, now we get some calmer moments, now we get more regular-styled songs, now we hear more of a mix of power-metal with death- metal and prog-metal. Yes, this is a true prog-metal album by Therion, and their music now tends more towards the metal side of things than to the bombastic side. The band's new approach has a lot in common with Ayreon. In fact, one can say that this album sound like a heavier, darker, less-conceptual but more direct version of Lucassen's band. The diverse number of singers and female vocalists and the various moods the music take us over are a clear proof of that.

6) The lyrics: now they deal with everyday's problems and they even talk about lighter feelings like love, passion .... No, that's not true. The lyrics haven't changed a bit. Thomas Karlsson's "Encyclopedia of Paganism and obscure cults" is still the main (only) focus of the songs, and I'm sure we can expect for this to never ever change, for it's part of Therion's deepest essence.

My favorite songs from this double album are" Der Mitternachtslöwe", "Son of the Staves of Time" with the incredibly unsual light mood of its chorus, "Trul", but most of all, the title track, "Gothic Kabbalah", the closest Therion will ever come to a commercial-sounding track, with its catchy chorus and its Ayreon-esque flavor. My only complaint against this album: while the first disc is absolutely fantastic and worthy of 5 stars, the second one leaves a little bit to be desired for it gets tiresome quickly when the band seemst to try to get back to the SIRIUS B formula of direction-less heavy-metal, but here with no bombastic elements to confuse us into believeing we're hearing something better than what we actually are.

4 stars. Could've been 5. For me, better than LEMURIA and SIRIUS, very close to THELI but still inferior to masterpiece DEGGIAL.

Recommended for: Fans of prog-metal a la Ayreon but heavier; fans of prog-metal in general; fans of dark music with female singers; fans of good music.

Not recommended for: Most of all, people who can't stand metal, of course. But also people who reject any idea of paganism and dark cults and religions....

... this is truly NO christian metal.

But it's good.

Review by LiquidEternity
2 stars I have many times been told that this was a bad Therion album to start with. That doesn't change anything. It's not very good.

I'm all for bombastic metal projects with choirs and symphonies and all that. However, Therion seems to be missing something very important in this release. I couldn't tell you exactly what it is, but I'm guessing it has something to do with creativity or inspiration or memorability. Because when it comes down to it, most of this album is completely forgettable. While some of the vocals are quite impressive, and while the band does some neat sort of metal motions, we as the listeners here have ended up with a uniquely bland and unremarkable collection of the most standard progressive metal to be found. Not only that, but it runs far too long for the minimal interest it creates. If the band had chopped the total length down to maybe half the time and kept only the best parts, this album might be average.

There are some good songs here, though, enough to interest any fan of the band. Wisdom and the Cage, Tuna 1613, and The Falling Stone are all fairly neat. The only song that stands out, though, is the odd track Trul. The chorus features a rather long-winded vocal harmony between some female voices, and boy does it sound really good. This song and this song alone is the reason I do believe some people when they say that Therion is one of the best symphonic metal acts to come out of Sweden and possibly all of Europe. The rest of the songs, however, all blend together in varying levels of complete homogeny.

If you really like Therion, I imagine you'll enjoy this release, too. If you are into bands like Ayreon or Orphaned Land and think you've found a similar band, check twice or check elsewhere in their discography. While the levels of cheese may be on par with Ayreon's lyrics, I do not think you'll find the melodies or the use of multiple voices nearly as entertaining. Not a good place to start with this band, I have learned the fifteen-bucks-in-the-hole way.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One more great album of Therion. I can compare this Scandinavian invasion of early XX! century with similar action, just many years ago. It was Italian progressive from early 70-th. Hundreds of bans, very technical and melodical, in some sense the history's repeating now. OK, Scandinavian wave is more heavy, often less virtuosso. But in both cases great music is coming for marginal ( for progressive rock) regions of the world.

Therion is one of the leader of Scandinavian wave, ant their music ( in it's best moments) is just quintessence of the stream.

Gothic Kabbalah, Therion's most fresh album for a moment, is great 2 CD work. But isn't their best, sorry.

In comparance with Lemuria/Sirius B ( that are Therion best works, I think) , music became softer, more pop-oriented. Yes, same perfect melodies and opera female voces, in fact , all goodies they had before, but softer,more rounded and often lighter sound brings this album ( at least for me) somewhere to category of more pop-oriented members of the same wave ( as Nightwish, for example). Less symphonic,again.

All in all, good album, but not the best.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The amazing(?) story of a Swedish librarian

Quite why this is a double CD is not obvious, the total running time being around 85 minutes. It is certainly very nicely presented in a lavish slipcase, so presumably the splitting of the songs over 2 CDs is mainly a marketing ploy.

"Gothic Kabbalah" was released in 2007, and represents Therions' most recent album at time of writing. A new album does seem to be in the pipeline, with Christofer Johnsson once again radically changing the make up of the band but we are jumping ahead there, and here the line up remains unusually stable for Therion. Johnnson and the Neimann brothers are once again present, joined by the returning Petter Karlsson on drums, vocals etc. Wisely, Johnsson chooses not to sing at all on the album (he is reputed to have "retired" from singing), principal vocal duties being shared among 5 vocalists including the also returning Mats Levén. A fine collection of guest musicians are gathered together once again, but interestingly this time the numbers are pared back considerably. There are no massed choirs or orchestras, the focus being on operatic soloists and rock singers or musicians. From a personal point of view, it is great to see Ken Hensley plays Hammond organ on the album.

Perhaps surprisingly, this is only the second genuine concept album (After "Secret of the Runes") released by Therion. The concept here is based on the life of an obscure Swedish scholar of runes and librarian to the king called Johannes Bureus (I kid you not!).

Given the absence of the orchestra, the natural assumption would be that this is a more rock orientated album than its immediate predecessors, and this proves to be the case. The superb classically trained vocals we are used to still appear throughout the album, but they are balanced to a much greater extent by a variety of rock voices. On the title track for example, Katarina Lilja's vocals are much less Nightwish, much more Mostly Autumn. As such, this album actually has more in common with albums by Ayreon and the likes than it does with previous Therion albums.

Tracks such as "Son of the Staves of Time", written by Mats Levén feature a fine vocal arrangement, but the underlying song is disappointingly basic and lacking imagination. "Tuna 1613", written by Petter Karlsson and Snowy Shaw emphasises this aspect even more, being straightforward rock song with some standard speed metal lead guitar.

On disc 2, "Wand of Abaris" makes for a fine ballad, I would swear that is Ken Hensley playing slide guitar on it too (but I am no doubt wrong!). Here, the vocals are actually the weak point, Snowy Shaw drifting too close to growling for comfort. The closing track, "Adulruna Rediviva" runs to some 13½ minutes, and as such is one of Therion's longest tracks ever. The song does to some extent delve back into the operatic pomp we love so much, the complex arrangement giving the track a more symphonic feel.

For me, the appeal of the best Therion albums has always been the pomposity and over the top presumptuous nature of the projects. Without those elements, while we by no means revert to the anonymous death metal band from whence they came, we are left with a good but no longer extraordinary product. It seems that the Neimann brothers, who were much more involved with the song-writing this time around, did not share the ambitious visions of band founder Johnsson (hence their subsequent departure).

The lavish packaging of this album serves to disguise the often prosaic nature of the contents. Hopefully Johnsson will rediscover his sense of adventure and future product will amaze and astonish us in the same way as Therion's recordings of the late 1990's did. Do not misunderstand me, this is an enjoyable album, I simply feel that it fails to live up to the high expectations previous albums have encouraged.

Review by Warthur
3 stars A double symphonic metal concept album about how divine wisdom percolates down to humanity with a gothic aesthetic and flirtations with more progressive music styles? Ah, it must be a Therion project - and on Gothic Kabbalah, late-period Therion turns in perhaps its most complete album. Does it merit being a double album? Well, no. There's plenty of fat here and there that could be trimmed, and whilst it feels more varied than much of the band's post-Theli output, at the same time it feels like the band trying out a wide range of experiments without quite getting deep enough into any of them to really polish them fully. It isn't quite Therion going prog, but it's perhaps the closest they'll come to it, and whilst it's an interesting listen I can't help but think that if they'd condensed it down to one disc and really polished everything up it'd be a great listen.

Latest members reviews

5 stars When it comes to double albums, I think the best method is making them short and sweet (basically longer than a normal album), and this is the perfect example. With near 90 minutes of music, this album is easily digestable and overall, one hell of an album. This is the album where everything ju ... (read more)

Report this review (#290314) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For my first 2007 review, I choose the newest Therion effort. This is a marvelous concept album about mysterious and fascinating themes. First of all, the album comes in a great packaging: a glittering, embossed yellow cover art, a three-side solid digipack and two discs set for more than 80 ... (read more)

Report this review (#108884) | Posted by CrazyDiamond | Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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