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“Gothic Kabbalah” by Therion

Artist: Therion
Title: “Gothic Kabbalah”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 2/6/2007
Genre: Operatic Symphonic Metal
Rating: 4/5

Therion is always an interesting and impressive band to listen to and for twenty years they have brought the Metal world some of the most amazing Symphonic Metal that often touched upon a number of other areas like Folk, Gothic and Progressive long before it became a common occurrence. With Gothic Kabbalah, they have once again defied the conventional musical boundaries as they bring to life their latest epic adventure. This album finds four individual lead singers (two male and two female) and they immediately enrapture the listener for each of them brings a unique presence to the musical table. Given that each of them acts as a soloist rather than merely providing backup for the others it adds a more intense feel to an already dramatic CD. Band founder Christopher Johnsson (guitars, keys/organs) chose not to sing on their recordings anymore and has left this role in some truly capable hands. The singers feature among their number Mats Leven, who also served as lead man for the German Power Metal band At-Vance. If you heard that group before, you know exactly how good this guy can sing and believe me I think we have a lot more greatness coming from him in the future. Although it possesses the expected Symphonic elements that Therion are known for I did not see an over abundance of them as we found in the double CD masterpiece Lemuria/Sirius B. This album instead focuses on a moody and intense darkness at times and has some truly foreboding riffs and structures. I found this feel most prevalent during “The Wisdom And The Cage” as it mixes some growls amid the clean vocals. The other singers who are making the magical tale come to life are Snowy Shaw, and the incredible female contributors Hannah Holgersson & Katarina Lilja. The changes and grooves continue to amaze the listener for tracks like “Son Of The Staves Of Time” is a hard core rocker, but it begins with a solo operatic vocal by one of the girls. It is one of my favored tracks along with “The Perennial Sophia” (a name that is heard across a number of songs on the album). I also felt that this recording was a little more accessible than some of their others. It is deep and complex at points, but it does not tend to mystify you too much and instead will find you playing air keyboards, guitar and drums. “Trul” is one track that did that for me, and I even found some Jethro Tull feel going on in a portion of it. Outstanding music tends to find people finding their inner Rock Star.
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