Review Summary: A journey encompassing great songwriting and variety.
When the sailman's sailing away
He shows that the dream of Lemuria is true
A land lost he will find again
Being one of Symphonic Metal’s powerhouses and considered “the most adventurous metal band”, Therion decided in 2004 to surprise its listeners yet again by releasing two albums simultaneously, Lemuria and Sirius B.
Lemuria’s most remarkable aspect lies in its variety, given by numerous influences, including Death Metal, Progressive Rock, Gothic Metal, Jimi Hendrix and Neue Deutsche Harte, all fused with Therion’s typical symphonic elements. Not only do these apparently unrelated genres work surprisingly well together, but they also manage to create a flow instead of hinting at a mere disjointed collection of songs.
Choirs, operatic male and female vocals, diverse styles, provided by changing singers (including Mats Leven - Candlemass, Krux, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) create an ethereal atmosphere, backed up by the consistent instrumentation. Although melody is the centrepiece, the musicians bring forth a fair share of guitar solos, memorable riffs or thundering drum sections. Whether it’s the hard hitting opener “Typhon”, the frantic “Three Ships of Berik”, the beautiful and calming title track or the Rammstein-like “Prometheus Entfesselt”, all members succeed at their job flawlessly. The orchestra and additional instruments hint further at the epic scale of the album without overshadowing the Metal basis, due also to the solid production that maintains a balance between all elements.
The album is not centred around a certain theme, as the lyrics tell about journeys, conflicts and events based on mythology and occultism from different cultures. Ranging from Greek to Aztec civilizations, they stray away from the frequent Medieval/Tolkien-style fantasy used by other Metal bands and bring a sense of authenticity.
On the downside, “Lemuria” has a shorter runtime compared to the other albums of the band’s symphonic era, with its abrupt closure at 42 minutes.
Ambitious and varied, yet never pretentious and always pleasant, filled with excellent vocals and instrumentation, urging the listener to become part of the adventure, “Lemuria” represents a fine Symphonic Metal album and one of Therion’s best works.