Tag Archives: christofer johnsson

“Live Gothic” by Therion

Artist: Therion
Title: “Live Gothic”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 8/6/2008
Genre: Progressive Symphonic Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

Always an impressive idea in the musical sense the one and only Therion have paused between studio albums to deliver to us “Live Gothic”, an album that captures the band onstage and focusing on their previous studio epic “Gothic Kabbalah”. Those who have known about the band are already aware of the very big production that they put on and this combination double CD and DVD film bring you right into the crowd at a spectacular show performed in front of a diehard audience in Warzaw, Poland. The release that this tour supported had a very stage performance feeling to it, and I don’t just mean in the quality of its songs but also in the manner in which I felt it was being delivered. To me this was as much a Symphonic Metal album as it was something akin to the Broadway stage so when it was announced that there would be a live DVD film for it I was rather excited. The performance while done in support of the “Gothic Kabbalah” album only features six tracks from the release and chooses to mix up a wider number of songs from the bands earlier years. This appealed to me as I was a latecomer to what they could do in their music so hearing any older track performed live was quite the treat. Fans know that the core membership of Therion is Christofer Johnsson (guitar/core composer), Kristian Niemann (guitars/keyboards), Johan Niemann (bass/acoustic guitar) and Petter Karlsson (drums) and these players are always joined by a company of singers and sometimes additional musicians as necessary.
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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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“Celebrators Of Becoming” by Therion

Artist: Therion
Title: “Celebrators Of Becoming”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date:
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Rating: 5/5

If you are someone who listens to Operatic/Symphonic Metal then the name of Therion should strike a chord of instant respect in you. Without the efforts and influences of Therion there is a good chance that bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation would have never been able to come about. This DVD set arrives as the perfect compliment to the bands World Tour of 2004-2005; it gives the ardent fan more than enough Therion to absorb but more importantly gives the new acolyte a perfect tool to see how the band does what they do best. “Celebrators Of Becoming” is a hefty package as well, holding strong at four fully loaded DVD’s with 2 CD’s to close it out. Given the scope of this release, we have broken down the contents to better focus on what is inside.
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“Lemuria/Sirius B” by Therion

Artist: Therion
Title: “Lemuria/Sirius B”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 9/7/2004
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Rating: 8/10

Therion is the band who perfected the Symphonic and Operatic Metal style many years ago. Performing this type of music for over 10 years now makes me think that perhaps they are the ones that inspired the whole movement in the first place. This double CD is an adventure into a unique and fascinating musical world that you cannot fully absorb in one simple listen. Holding epic proportions like some super Sci-Fi or Fantasy film I admit that it took me several turns at the albums to realize how much work was actually placed into them. Listeners who enjoy the Operatic Style will turn to Therion when they realize that no one single singer performs those vocal parts but instead a full choir handles the task. The symphonic edge is brought to the front by the contributions of the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The group shows that this can be done on more than the one off occasion and also extremely well. Creators Christofer Johnsson, Kristian Niemann and Johan Niemann are joined by dozens of singers and musicians on these records. It is brought to us in two separate CD’s or scores if you want to maintain a classical theme. One CD is entitled “Lemuria” and the other is “Sirius B”. I will touch upon both CD’s individually a little further.
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