2021’s Leviathan was one of my favourite records from that year. How it didn’t end up on my end of year list I’ll never know, and it remains a massive oversight on my part. Suffice to say it’s an absolute killer record, and I love its ostentatious charms. In all honesty I don’t think I’ll have the same long-term reaction to Leviathan II, but that doesn’t stop it from being a damn fine record in its own right.
So, once again we’re treated to a feast of completely over the top symphonic and operatic power metal. It’s big, bold, flamboyant, ornate, and ridiculously luxurious. I can’t help but fall for it. After all, what’s not to like? This is orchestral metal taken to the nth degree.
Therion’s confident delivery and songwriting ability shines through brightly. The love of simple heavy metal enriched with operatic vocals and orchestral layers wins through, and Leviathan II is easy to like and enjoy.
When compared to Leviathan, Leviathan II has less of a focus on classic-style metal songs, and more emphasis on operatic grandeur and atmospheric immersion; there are less lead heavy metal vocals, more layered opera singing, and it delivers less instant-gratification, instead concentrating on building mood and atmosphere. Of course, the record still has elements of both approaches, and still has plenty of catchiness and hooks, but this new album is less direct overall, and requires more time to work its magic to the fullest.
So, another storming release from Therion. Although I believe that my personal preferences will continue to have me favouring Leviathan in the long run, Leviathan II has more than enough strengths to keep me returning to it in the future.