Therion are a Swedish symphonic/operatic metal band and this is their seventeenth album.
Where do you go after a three-hour metal opera marathon such as 2018’s Beloved Antichrist? Well, in Therion’s case, you condense, you prioritise arena-friendly catchiness, and you produce 46 minutes of thoroughly enjoyable material.
Yes, this time around Therion have focused their attention on crafting crowd-pleasing, song-based tracks, and the album is full of catchy choruses and memorable songcraft. These new tracks are operatic/symphonic power metal songs, with bombastic atmosphere and rich arrangements. The songs are easily accessible for fans of power and symphonic metal, and have clearly been designed to appeal to a broad base. This is no bad thing at all in this case, as the music has an authentic, honest quality to it that belies its ostentatious nature. Balancing instant gratification against replay ability well, these new songs hit the mark very nicely indeed.
The songs show good diversity within the musical framework that the band use, with a good selection of blood-pumping anthems, heartfelt ballads, and atmospheric pieces deployed, as a few examples. The music is as well-written, arranged, and produced as you would expect for a band of Therion’s stature, and there are plenty of earworms here to keep drawing the listener back, (Psalm of Retribution is a particular favourite of mine).
There’s a great variety of vocals and vocal styles on display across the album, as is the norm for Therion, from power metal singing to full-blown operatic vocals and choirs. Guests appear too, including the male ex-singer of Nightwish, (who has a voice I always love to hear), and current/ex-members of Scardust/Candlemass.
The album reminds me much more of mid-period Therion than Beloved Antichrist did, (think Vovin to Sirius B), so if that classic run of albums does it for you, then you should find much to enjoy on Leviathan.
I really, really enjoyed this album. Despite having a certain nostalgic quality to it, it stands tall in its own right by building on a classic era of the band’s discography and delivering a very fine collection of metal songs. If you’re a fan of symphonic power metal, why wouldn’t you seek out Leviathan‘s many charms?
Very highly recommended.
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