This is an older album that most have heard, but I'm wiritng a review for those who haven't heard it sense it's a must hear. I'm also very bored. Therion hired the Prauge Philharmonic Orchestra to record this double album of 21 songs with them, and it adds musical depth to this that otherwise couldn't have been achieved. I'm lucky enough to own the limited 500 copy vinyl, and let me tell you it sounds amazing. If you can't find the vinyl but still want to hear it in high quality there is a torrent floating around on the net with a 1.6 gig version that's pretty close.
Sirius B - Side A
The Blood of Kingu - This song kicks off Sirius B pretty well. This song has a thrashy main riff going for it latent with triplets and grandeur choirs in others. Mats Leven does the vocals on this song with amazing quality. As with all songs on this album, you can hear the philharmonic orchestra adding their sounds, which don't stick out badly at all, and seem as natural in this song as the heavy guitars do. Background info on the lyrics comes from Sumerian mythology, which says all humans were derived from the blood of the monster Kingu when he was slain by Marduk.
Son of the Sun - This song isn't as heavy as the first, a bit more melodic and soft. A female singer does the lead vocals on this track, deeper male vocals are added slightly to the background of the chorus. There is a catchy guitar pattern that plays in between the vocal melodies, which are the highlight of this song. Lyrics are about the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, who was considered blasphemous because of he decided to worship the sun god Aton instead of the other Egyptian dieties, making his formal title Son of the Sun.
The Khlysti Evangelist - This is my favorite song in both albums, which might be why my current avatar is set to the book art from this song. It starts off with some Russian church choir being played over a radio, then heavy guitar riffs kick in followed by a slight chorus and then we're blasted by Mats vocals. There is a much darker feeling in this song than the others, and this along with Blood of Kingu are the heaviest tracks on the album. There is a solo about 2/3 through that's pretty awesome aswell. The song is about Grigori Rasputin, who has a bit of mysterious history surrounding him, mostly about his death. Khlysti was an underground sect of Christianity in Russia, whome Rasputin belonged to. I feel that in some parts they're over-dramaticizing Rasputin just a bit with lyircs like "feel the ecstasy when he inverts the world" but it doesn't detract from the song.
Dark Venus Pheresphone - We're back to a slower song again with lead female vocals. I think to mood of this song can be compared to walking through a cave, which is what the song is basically about, and you can sense the bit of despair in this. The slow stringed insturments perfect the sound theyre trying to get here even more. The song is about, you guessed it, Pheresphone from Greek mythology, and I'm not going to write about her because everyone knows this story already.
Kali Yuga - This is a two part song. I'm told there is a third part that exists but it's not on this album and I haven't heard it. This song is about the Hindu religion's version of Armageddon. The first part is the slower one, but still has heavy tuned guitars chugging along through most of it. The vocals sound distorted, I guess to go along with the theme of the song. The first part doesn't last too long though, just goes through the chorus a couple times. Part two kicks in with chaotic wailing guitars and the overall theme has become more bombastic and epic sounding, I'm assuming to give the feeling you are deeper in the doomsday. The chorus has changed now instead of being sung in an almost folkish way to being screamed in high notes. For some reason or another my favorite part of this song is the little arabian violin doodle in between the lyrics of the first chorus of part two, dissapointingly it is replaced with other insturments when the chorus comes back around a second time.
Wonderous World of Punt - A bit boring compared to the other side, a slow song with acoustics and male tenor singers. There are some rich choirs here and mandolins to be noted. The solo comes from what sounds like a pipe organ. The song seems to get slightly more upbeat at the end. An interesting thing I read in the booklet is that the church that supplied their pipe organ for this album decided to remain anonymous in the credits,
I wonder why. The song is about the city of Punt, which from what I understand, is something like Atlantis but located in Africa instead of under the Atlantic Ocean.
Melek Taus - A weird song about a giant bird. Musically it's fine, and is pretty peasant actually, with smooth guitars and grand choirs. It's the lyircs that do this song in, specifically when Mats Leven (I assume? although it could have been Christofer) opens up and sings "the Peacock God is here!" (wut?) and everything goes out the window. I'm sorry if I sound ethnocentric but I just can't take that seriously no matter how I look at it. The song would be fine if that one line was removed. Melek Taus is the main diety of the Yazidi (Kurds), who commonly takes the form of a peacock. And that's just silly.
Call of Dagon - Somewhat similar to the last song but more emphasis on guitars. Riffs play through the whole thing with more high noted choirs singing over them and fast heavy drumming. Dagon is Semetic a diety that was worshiped by the Amorites who lived east ot the Euphrates. Dagon is mentioned in alot of Lovecrafts books, and the Hebrew Bible as a major god worshiped by the Israelites enemies.
Sirius B - Po Tolo! Po Tolo! Po Tolo! Po Tolo! Po Tolo! Po Tolo! Po Tolo! Po Tolo! (repeat ad nauseam)
Voyage of Gurdjieff (The Fourth Way) - This song wraps up Sirius B and sounds almost like it could be used in a major hollywood fiction movie. There is some serious riffage going on at some parts, while others have light singing with delicate piano. Either way there is some great songwriting to be found here. Gurdjieff was an Armenian philosopher.
Lemuria - Side A
Typhon - I had to stop this song half way through and start it over with higher volume because this is some awesome shit here. Basically what "Blood of Kingu" was to Sirius B, the heavy song that starts things off. We get heavy riffs, a wailing solo, operatic choruses and Therion reintroduces the death metal growl. Put it all together and it's a recipie for one major ass kicking song. Typhon is from Greek mythology, the son of Gaia who tried to usurp Zeus.
Uthark Runa - This song keeps the pace, albiet without death growls. There seems to be a mixed choir here for the chorus "Hail! Hail! Hail the mystery!" Mats Leven rejoins us as the songs lead vocalist, with powerful shrieks and emotion as usual. The guitars keep the song upbeat and is helped along by the chants of the choir. This song is about deciphering runes.
The Three Ships of Berik, Part 1: Calling to Arms and Fighting the Battle - Fairy flutes, either love em or hate em, they open up this song and in my opinion work perfectly here to add the whole "high seas adventure" this song. We get treated to the usual riffs keeping the pace. Christofer (I think?) is throwing out some brutal death metal sounding vocals here, akin to Amon Amarth. It sounds like a weird combination but it all comes together nicely. Part 2: Victory is basically just a victory fanfare and nothing special.
Lemuria - The title track of this album, which this time is more than just one line repeated over and over. This song has a wonderful medieval sounding folkish melody but at the same time remains very calm with long notes held by the violins. The vocal medoldies complement the rythm held down by the guitars, there are some nice violin and flute sections here too. Lemuria is an ancient island of wonders that sank beneath the ocean, similar to the Atlantis myth but not as well known.
Quetzalcoatl - Eh I'm not really that impressed with this song sense it doesn't bring anything new to the album like other songs. It is basically just choirs and piano, very similar to Dark Venus Pheresphone. We all know who Quetzalcoatl was from freshman history in highschool, if you didn't pay attention then google it or something. This song is not about Cortes.
Dreams of Swedenborg - Continuing the slow trend of the last song, but more melodic and less chorus. Emanuel Swedenborg was a scientist and theologian from the 1700's who got visions from God through dreams, which he transcribed to wiritng to reform Christianity. He is famous in the fields of psychology and philosophy, hard to summarize it all.
An Arrow from the Sun - Starts off slow, and leads into some guitar riffs. The song is similar to Son of the Sun but more agressive and with male tenor vocals. There is alot going on here if you listen for all the insturments, don't write this one off if it doesn't grab you the first time.
Abraxas - There's some typical riffs trudging on here and some nice guitar melodies, but the main concentration seems to be the female vocals. Mats throws in an unexpected "yeaaaaaaaah" in this song but we don't hear him add much else. There is a cool little solo in here but it's pretty short. The letters ABRASAX are part of Greek alphabetic numerology and add up to 365, 365 was used to anoint certain spirits and dieties to the 365 circles of heaven radiating outward from the main god and the letters were carved on stones or pendants featuring dieties.
Feuer Overtüre/Prometheus Entfesselt - The final song on this album. The lyrics are in German, and translate to something about hailing Prometheus. This song sounds like Rammstein but with less suck and more culture. The Therion riffs are present in this song like all the others, but the focus tends to stay on the chorus.
PHEW! And that's the end.
This album should be heard by everyone and has room for lots of repeat listens. Each song deals with a seperate topic that you can literally spend hours researching if you have the time and then comparing what you've learned back to the lyrics to appreciate them even more.
So get yourself a good a quality copy and pour yourself a glass of wine, or maybe a lager if that's more your style, and give it a spin. You'll like this album...
I guarentee it!