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Therion Beyond Sanctorum album cover
2.59 | 52 ratings | 7 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Future Consciousness (4:57)
2. Pandemonic Outbreak (4:20)
3. Cthulhu (6:08)
4. Symphony of the Dead (6:48)
5. Beyond Sanctorum (2:34)
6. Enter the Depths of Eternal Darkness (4:45)
7. Illusions of Life (3:20)
8. The Way (11:05)
9. Paths (2:01)
10. Tyrants of the Damned (3:46) - bonus track not on LP

Total Time 49:44

Extra bonus tracks on 2000 remaster:
11. Cthulhu (demo version) (6:10)
12. Future Consciousness (demo version) (5:07)
13. Symphony of the Dead (demo version) (6:13)
14. Beyond Sanctorum (demo version) (2:29)

Line-up / Musicians

- Christofer Johnsson / vocals, guitar, bass
- Peter Hansson / guitar, keyboards, bass
- Oskar Forss / drums

- Anna Granqvist / vocals (4,9)
- Fredrik Lundqvist / vocals (4,9)
- Magnus Eklov / lead guitar (4,5)

Releases information

Artwork: Kristian Wåhlin

CD Active Records ‎- CDATV23 (1992, UK) With a bonus track
CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 578-2 (2000, Germany) Remastered with 5 bonus tracks, new cover

LP Active Records ‎- ATV23 (1992, UK) With less one track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THERION Beyond Sanctorum Music

THERION Beyond Sanctorum ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (17%)

THERION Beyond Sanctorum 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
2 stars Growls and green shoots

Therion's début album "Of darkness" was in reality a summary of their work in the previous years leading up to its release in 1991. "Beyond Sanctorum", released the same year, was therefore their first contemporary statement of where they were at the time. Bassist Erik Gustafson had already departed, the band carrying on as a trio with both Peter Hansson and Christofer Johnsson adding bass as required. The first indications of the bands move towards the model they would eventually settle on comes with the addition of three guest vocalists on the latter part of the album. Equally significant is the addition of keyboards to the instrumental line up played by Hansson.

For the opening three tracks, it is business as usual with thrashed guitars and growls being the order of the day. Surprisingly, the latter part of opening track "Future Consciousness" does feature some spacey guitar of the early Floydian type. On the other hand, the growls on "Pandemonic Outbreak" are so ridiculous it is difficult not to laugh out loud.

"Symphony of the Dead" offers the first green shoots of the future sound of Therion. Here, the growls are offset by some conventional singing plus some brief operatic vocals. The track is predominantly the usual fare for Therion's early work, but the keyboards and slight diversity in the vocals do set it apart from its peers. The short title track features some all too brief lead guitar played by guest Magnus Eklov. The next track of any interest thereafter is "The way", and then only because it runs to some 11 minutes. There is certainly a greater level of ambition to the track at times, with hints of keyboard chorales and occasional flurries of lead guitar. Ultimately though, the track disappoints in that it is simply an elongated variation on what has gone before.

The 2 minute track "Paths" sees the return of the choral vocals alongside the growls, once again offering a glimpse of the future.

In all, "Beyond sanctorum" definitely shows sings of improvement when compared with its predecessor. There is still a long way to go though, and much of what we find here has little to do with prog.

The reissued version of the album has 4 extra tracks, all of which are demos of songs which appear on the album.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Beyond Sanctorum is the second full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Therion. After a brutal old school Swedish death metal debut which put a smile on my face, as I´m a fan of bands such as Entombed, Carnage and Dismember, Therion retured later that same year with their sophomore album.

Like the debut Beyond Sanctorum doesn´t hold any progressive elements. The vocals are mostly brutal growls only contrasted by very few sections with clean male and female singing. The sporadic addition of keyboards doesn´t mean the album sounds more progressive than the debut. The riffs are crushingly heavy and the downtuned guitar sound is brutal. Just what you´d expect from an old school Swedish death metal album. While I do enjoy albums like this, there are very few of them that stand out and I wouldn´t call Beyond Sanctorum one of them. A 2 star rating is warranted. For fans of latter day operatic metal styled Therion this album might not be the best investment.

Review by Warthur
4 stars After producing a succinct summary of their early work on Of Darkness, the first true Therion studio album - that is, the first one to be conceived as an album and containing material more or less contemporary to its recording, rather than songs they'd already worked over for years before they entered the studio - is a clear notch above its predecessor, incorporating a broader range of influences than you might otherwise expect into their brutal death metal framework but, unlike on later albums, rigorously translating them into death metal terms rather than indulging in more direct cross-genre fertilisation. If you don't want brutality, don't come a- knocking, but if you like hard-edged death metal with hidden smarts it's not a bad choice.
Review by The Crow
2 stars Despite being similar to its predecessor Beyond Sanctorum entailed a progression in the band's career.

Christofer Johnsson was focused on Death Metal back in 1991, but he managed to introduce some little elements which gave a glimpse of what the band would do in the future. But let's analyze the album song by song.

Future Consciousness is a death metal knock, typical of the 90's. Maybe the guitar solo is a bit more melodic than usual, while the next song Pandemonic Outbreak is also very heavy and unforgiving. Cthulhu is also very hard, with a bit more melody than the previous track. Nile comes to my mind while hearing this song! And that is not a bad thing.

But then comes Symphony of the Dead, a very surprising song with orchestral arrangements made simulated with keyboards, female choirs and another melodic guitar solo. Hearing this song is easy to preview future albums of the band. Maybe when they recorded this album this was just an experiment, but without a doubt this song played an important role on the band's future.

Beyond Sanctorum starts as a doom song, but then becomes to another typical death metal song. Nothing special. And also not special is Enter the Depths of Eternal Darkness despite its spectacular name. Illusions of life has mysteriously a worse sound, and so on with the rest of the album. Maybe a mastering problem? I don't know, but the second half of the record is worse in terms of production.

But luckily The Way comes next! Death Metal with soft oriental influenced melodies on it, a more heavy metal oriented second half of the song with an hard rock ending! 11 minutes for the most progressive track of the album. And maybe also the best! Paths starts also with a curious symphonic gothic feeling, which then derivate into another doom track.

And sadly, Tyrants of the Damned ends the album is a rather bland way! Just more typical Death Metal.

Conclusion: warning, Beyond Sanctorum is not a progressive or symphonic metal album. Is more a Death Metal record with some Doom and Gothic elements, but with a curious taste for arrangements, usage of keyboards and some progressive elements in some songs. Is not the style that made Therion big, but interessant nevertheless if you are a completionist of extreme metal bands of the early 90's or if you are eager to discover the band's evolution through the years.

Best Tracks: Symphony of the Dead, The Way, Paths.

My rating: **

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars THERION released its collection of demos as a debut album called 'Of Darkness' in 1991 but realized the outdated material had no chance of breaking through the already crowded Swedish death metal market so immediately began work on the followup BEYOND SANCTORUM which came out the following year. While still rooted in the Stockholm death metal scene which stemmed from the hardcore punk scene more so than the American Tampa style, BEYOND SANCTORUM continues the rawness of the debut that employed a buzzsaw guitar tone, down-tuned guitar riff attacks along with the incessant tempos, blastbeats and tortured vocal guttural growls.

BEYOND SANCTORUM however expanded the band's generic qualities by adding some of the nascent elements that would continue to expand until it would become a major pioneer of the world of symphonic metal. First of all the composiitons on BEYOND SANCTORUM are much more diverse and offer both progressive rock and classical music perspective in how some of the tunes are laid out. Added to that the band added keyboards to create cold atmospheres as well as scant use of female vocals and some Persian folk music, both of which would become major staples of the band's sound once they reinvented themselves.

This was also the point where THERION evolved past the by then cliche themes of morbidity, horror and gore and zombie apocalypse type material and ventured into the occult with particular emphasis on H.P. Lovecraft writings although at this point the growls are still pretty much unintelligible so they could be singing about American housewives having Tupperware parties in the 1950s and no one would know the difference but nevertheless the focus on the more esoteric subject matter is what would transmogrify THERION from a run of the mill death metal band to the innovative orchestrated symphonic metal band that would launch them into the limelight as one of the true innovators of metal music.

'Of Darkenss' was really a one trick pony which resulted in well performed old school death metal however none of the tracks really stood out. Of course it really was a collection of demos from the 1987-89 timeline and found inspiration from the most nascent sounds of the scene. On BEYOND SANCTORUM that has been corrected as the song structures are much more varied and experimental. There are moments of slower doom metal, more time signature deviations as well as unexpected deviations from the norm. While not quite considered a tech death metal, THERION was well on their way to crafting truly complex music that would grow incrementally on the following albums. Likewise the guitar solos avoid the Morbid Angel squeals and innovate some truly out of the box displays of creativity.

The true leap of progressiveness is fully realized on the eleven minute 'The Way' which wends and winds through many different riff changes and chord progressions but firmly remains in the context of highly aggressive Swedish death metal. The addition of the keyboard sounds and other surprises makes this the most compelling track of the album. Guitar riff tradeoffs and some of the guitar gallops of later THERION fame also debut here. Overall BEYOND SANCTORUM is a great leap forward for THERION that engages in a much more diverse range of sounds. The early traces of female operatic vocals are briefly introduced on 'Paths' and the attention to detail makes this one a much more interesting death metal experience than the debut although it's basically rooted in the same old school death metal sounds.

Latest members reviews

1 stars On this album, the band started to experiment with keyboards, clean vocals and a bit of folkish music. However, all those elements are diluted in lots and lots of brutal death metal. Another album to skip if you're not fan of this type of music... I'd like to highlight two songs though: "Sympho ... (read more)

Report this review (#66571) | Posted by zaxx | Tuesday, January 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars What a horrible album! Therion has been completely evolved since the release of this awful one. Though i think, Johansson's composing abilities has not evolved in the same level. This album may be likened to the style of the death metal band Obituary, but lacking originality and good songwr ... (read more)

Report this review (#57543) | Posted by Xymphony | Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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