Gothic Kabbalah

Release date: January 12th 2007
Label: Nuclear Blast
Distribution: VME (Denmark)

Symphonic Metal

Rating: 87/100
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: December 27th 2006

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 album.

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...