Therion has been one of my
favorite bands since their mighty 'Theli' album, an album that I still
consider as their best and one of the cornerstones in symphonic metal.
Christofer Johnsson is the mastermind behind Therion and up until
this album he has been handling some of the singing as well as the
guitars, but on 'Gothic Kabbalah' he has put focus 100% on the guitar
playing, and I think it has resulted in a much more guitar-oriented
album than their earlier albums.
No other band incorporate big choirs
quite like Therion, and no one - and I mean no one - pulls
them off in style like them! The part-singing have since their
transformation into a symphonic metal band been one of their main
trademarks, and they put great emphasize on choirs and harmonies on this
I have had big troubles coming to terms
with 'Gothic Kabbalah', first of all because I at first missed the
aggressive parts - there are a few moments building up to a full frontal
attack, but just as one expect them to thrash out, it all smoothes
out... The death metal elements of old days are long gone, but now they
have also weeded out almost all of the aggressiveness in their music.
'Gothic Kabbalah' does however deserve
that you deal seriously with it, and don't throw it in the thrash can
after 5 spins! The true magic awaits you if you take the time to let
this album grow on you, and now some 20 plus spins later on, I can
seriously say that discovering the delicate finer points on the album,
the balance between rock and metal and the symphonic aspect of things
have all been worth the extra time and effort!
This Therion album won't grab
you by the balls fresh out the box, it's demanding on the listener and
not as accessible as one could expect. I won't try to dissect the 15
songs on this double album and emphasize some, because this is perhaps
the most complete Therion album ever - big words considering they have
released albums like 'Theli', 'Vovin' and 'Secrets of the Runes' prior
to this one...
'Gothic Kabbalah' might not be a genre
highlight like some of their earlier albums, but it's still an
outstanding musical journey, that I am sure will give many a metal fan
great pleasure as it continues to do for me...