Therion
Theli


4.5
superb

Review

by superpeer USER (22 Reviews)
July 6th, 2006 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


Sweden has been the womb for ABBA, Marduk, Candlemass, The Hives, knäckebröd, you name it. No wonder some bands start mutating into something new if they eat enough meatballs.

Therion were a fairly ordinary death metal band when they formed in the late 80s, but they progressed with each album, adding keyboards and symphony until they had built enough to reach what is often considered the high point of their career.

Take the symphonies and keyboard arrangments of your previous albums to a next level, create the illusion of a classical work with neat Latin expressions such as Preludium, Interludium and Postludium (Grand finale). Hire two operatic choirs and a bunch of clasically trained musicians. Keep the harshness and power of your metal roots and ancient and occult lyrics. Result: a symphonic and esoteric metal gem.

Majestic trumpets, piano and synthesisers are the omen that introduce the album in Preludium. The following seems like an explosion of distortion after the calm intro. That explosion being, To Mega Therion, a nod to Celtic Frost. Galloping guitar riffs and pounding drums, with high female operatic vocals taking the lead in the supporting choirs. At first a very estranging experience and written down it seems to make no sense whatsoever. This was one of the biggest fears Therion had upon releasing this album. Somehow, though, it manages to sound good once you can get past the absurdity of the innovation that Therion have made. Furthermore, the album went on to be success, selling much better than Therion's older albums, despite of a mix-up occurring in which Theli was released containing only German Christmas carols.

The choirs provide a superb form of melody, either singing or just chanting, accompanying the power metal influenced lead guitars. Often, the operatic vocals are given a short rest in favour of vocals by the actual Therion members, which is a welcome variation to the not always so accessible opera singings.

Melody is what makes this album so enjoyable and that is not only established by the aforementioned vocals, but also by the vast collection of instruments (the wonder of synthesizers, for a big part). Most of the songs are fairly long, because Therion hasn't been stingy with guitar solos, for example. To Mega Therion has a keyboard and lead guitar duet and Cults of the Shadow has an infectious flute melody that will keep you whistling all day. Bass interludes, instruments reminiscing ancient Egypt and symphonies, draped expansively over the entire album. Put distorted guitars under that and fit in a heavier guitar riff here and there to retain an acceptable cheese level and there you have it. A thick, complex and colourful web of sounds, masterfully spun.

The album melts together perfectly as a whole and hence there are no songs that are entirely different from the others (the quiet Siren of the Woods coming closest to that status), but the intricate and highly memorable melodies, the unique sound Therion created and the originality of the album at the time forces me to rate it as (almost) classic.


Track Picks:

To Mega Therion
Cults of the Shadow
Nightside of Eden




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user ratings (144)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
niobium
July 6th 2006


238 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Along with Secret of the Runes, this is the only Therion album I've ever heard. I don't know if it's better than that one, but this is a great album from a symphonic metal band I actually tolerate, much less like. Great review, Jelle.

superpeer
July 7th 2006


257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks.


*Bump* :mad:

Neoteric
July 7th 2006


3243 Comments


Nice review babe.

superpeer
July 10th 2006


257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, I thought Therion had more fans though...

Serapheus
July 10th 2006


251 Comments


I've heard Sirius B and Lemuria by Therion and they were fucking amazing.

superpeer
July 12th 2006


257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I haven't heard that, but most Therion I've heard was quality.

Riva
July 12th 2006


61 Comments


Ah, a good review, Jelle. This is one of my favourite albums, perhaps the 3rd or 4th favourite. Brilliant stuff.

Dethtrasher
February 8th 2007


2211 Comments


Knäckebröd är ju asgott

BallsToTheWall
May 24th 2008


44613 Comments


All I can say is this album fuckin rules. To Meha Therion is pretty much one of the greatest metal songs i've heard in recent times. Rest of the album is amazing as well.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

Altmer
May 24th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty wicked album but I never get round to playing it

TheFlightOfTheNazgul
August 16th 2008


55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool Album...
Cults of the Shadow is my Favourite...

Sabottheory
July 26th 2009


355 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Gaudy. Plenty of good ideas put together with even more bad ideas.

ConorMichaelJoseph
July 26th 2009


1870 Comments


I completely agree with you

moonbreed
December 5th 2009


18 Comments


Theli is an amazing album.Because:
1.it is the first that introduced the new fresh style for them.
2.each and every song is great
3.the lyrics are truly dark and occult.
4.it was something really new in the metal scene back then in 1996.

It is one of the best metal albums in 1996. top 5.

KILL
January 9th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fules

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

manosg
March 2nd 2013


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album. If it had less "normal" vocals I would rated it even higher.

Digging: Acrimony - Tumuli Shroomaroom

FenixZero
August 12th 2013


385 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is one of the reasons why I love metal so much. I'm not even picky about the vocals. I love all the elements they bring into their music and blend them perfectly. It's just so good. This is one of the albums I fell in love with when I was 19 and getting into metal (25 now). This album and Sound Track to Your Escape opened so many doors for me. Going to always be one of my favs. Great review, super accurate, echos my thoughts. Nicely done.

TheInmortalVermicide
August 12th 2013


234 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album has the siren of the woods, that's a reason to rate this with 5. Anyways , this is not my favorite one. Vovin has my favorite tracks of this band and it has a skilled singer like martina astner. Is curious that I this band is not very loved here.

EvoHavok
February 9th 2014


1444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed.

Digging: At the Gates - At War with Reality



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