Therion
Beloved Antichrist


3.5
great

Review

by manosg STAFF
February 19th, 2018 | 40 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Excessive and overblown or something more?

27 character roles, 15 vocalists, 46 tracks and 182 minutes of running time. Beloved Antichrist is probably as demanding to listen as it was to be conceived and materialized. Well, maybe not as much but listening to a 3-hour rock opera – or as Christofer Johnsson described it, a “rock/metal musical with opera vocals” – repeatedly is not a walk in the park. Considering the amount of information we are exposed to on a daily basis and the diminishing attention span which is a direct effect of this and the fact that new music is only a couple of clicks away, Christofer Johnsson’s decision to release this work now seems quite odd. But then again, as he admitted, Therion is no longer in fashion which might be quite liberating and may be the reason that he decided to record something so diverse, so deep in Therion’s discography.

Beloved Antichrist might not be as diverse as previous LPs compared to the transition from “Cthulu” to “To Mega Therion”, but it is unlike what Therion have released before. To begin with, it is more vocal-driven, less heavy metal and – like every opera – it has a storyline. Inspired by Vladimir Solovyov’s A Short Tale Of The Antichrist, the opera presents the story of a very religious man who has the ability to talk to god. Once he loses this ability, he decides to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff. However, he gets saved by the devil who offers him a dark gift which he accepts and then writes a groundbreaking book that contains groundbreaking concepts about humanity, politics, religion, and philosophy. The book is so important that he gets to become the world leader and under him, humanity prospers like never before. Nevertheless, it becomes known that he is the antichrist which divides the human race as some want him dead because of his “evil” nature while others support him because of how the world has flourished with him at the helm.

In terms of instrumentation, the first act is more like your typical rock opera, the second act is more characteristic of Therion as it includes their known formula of symphonic metal, while the third act is a combination of the two. However, the delivery (or libretto) consists entirely of operatic vocals which might put some people off and the emphasis is on creating a story which flows seamlessly. In addition, there are no big choirs or choruses like on previous LPs. In fact, if you are judging Beloved Antichrist as a typical symphonic metal album, you will be disappointed. There are no hooks and catchy riffs here but its cinematic nature is quite immersive and beautiful melodies are scattered throughout. There are no moments of building tension such as on Vovin for example, but each piece creates the platform for the next one and everything serves the story of the album. As such, individual pieces don’t work so well out of context which explains why the singles didn’t make the best impression when they came out before the official release of the album. However, “Forgive Me” is one of the most beautiful Therion tracks I’ve listened recently.

At the end of the day, it seems that Beloved Antichrist will probably be a love/hate affair deeply dependant on the time and effort one is willing to devote. Of course, fans of rock operas and Therion will find it easier to get into this behemoth of an album. It is easy to disregard a 3-hour opera as overblown and boring, especially nowadays that everything is free and two-clicks away. In fact, Beloved Antichrist as excessive as it may seem, is a breath of fresh air to the decaying world of modern symphonic metal provided that you give it the time it demands.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
2.6
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2018


18214 Comments


sheesh, that average though

Digging: Nina Simone - Wild is the Wind

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2018


9123 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Man, this album’s runtime is about 150mins too long. Can’t believe I listened to it twice

brainmelter
February 19th 2018


6067 Comments


this sounds massive, conceptually and literally. but I think I'll pass on this one, that 1.9 avg is pretty violent

Digging: Nosvrolok - Rare and Unreleased 1996 - 2009

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2018


11342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haha I can understand the average and why people are dismissing the album but what can I say, I was also very skeptic at first but really enjoyed it. It's going to be interesting to see whether other guys on here feel similarly.

EvoHavok
February 19th 2018


7663 Comments


Great to finally see some positivity for this. Sweet read!

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2018


11342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad you enjoyed, Evo! This is not half bad but it just needs a bit more effort than previous Therion LPs and most of us just aren't conditioned to function like that anymore. Hopefully, Therion fans will like it.

deslad
February 19th 2018


625 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very enjoyable and spot on write-up manos! As a fan of rock operas, I must say it is rather disappointing imho that this one has such a low average. It is a great album, but like you said it takes some time to grow on you.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2018


11342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed, des!

BlackwaterPork
February 19th 2018


4382 Comments


Excellent review my man

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2018


11342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Much appreciated, Pork!

Papa Universe
February 19th 2018


18562 Comments


Someone actually listened to it?

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 19th 2018


9123 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

A few people actually

DungeonBoy
February 19th 2018


5070 Comments


Awesome review man. Never really been able to get into these guys, their classical fusion has always been a bit too over the top for me. Not sure I would even have the attention span to digest three hours of them, but I enjoyed your thoughts.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2018


11342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers Dungeon, much appreciated. Yeah if their previous albums didn't do much for you, this one won't change your mind. Have you tried any of their death metal stuff?

DungeonBoy
February 19th 2018


5070 Comments


I have, but it's been a very long time since I jammed any of them. I never really connected with any of them from memory, I just remember it was more of a shock to me that they started as a DM band since I first checked them out in their more modern state.

budgie
February 19th 2018


6237 Comments


hey manos! could you name a therion album this is most similar too?

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2018


11342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey budg! Oh man, not easy to compare it to one previous album without being in danger of misleading you. Act 1 has no great similarity to any of the previous albums because it's more like a rock opera. Act 2 is more typical of Therion and more particular their less electric moments, maybe a much more inspired version of Sitra Ahra. Act 3 is a mix and max of the first two acts.

Willie
Moderator
February 19th 2018


17611 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

They just hyper focus too much on the classical side of the music and everything else is just so damn plodding. The only album where it really feels like they treated both metal and classical equally was Theli.

budgie
February 19th 2018


6237 Comments


thanks man. ill check it at some point no doubt, but yeesh 90 minute rock opera? whenever i get the therion bug i just listen to vovin, fixes me right up

Doctuses
February 19th 2018


1877 Comments


182 minutes wtf.



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