The dawn of Symphonic THERION glooming at the horizon, yet still drenched in Dark Metal execution!
Though it was their fourth full-length, and we had been given a sampling of their symphonic/gothic direction with “Symphony Masses:
Ho Drakon Ho Megas,” “Lepaca Kliffoth” might remain the most memorable masterpiece of the band’s career along the follow-up “Theli.” A transitional phase between the band’s Death Metal roots and the hybrid of symphonic, gothic metal which they would carry forward for the rest of their career. This is an extremely dark album. The band retains their fascination with obscure occult magick and prophecies within the lyrics, and the music revolves around killer midpaced Metal riffs drenched in the vocal libations of Christofer Johnsson.
The album starts off strongly with “The Wings of the Hydra,” and from there on the serpent has snaked about your spine. An addictive piece with an obvious Celtic Frost influence, chanting vocals, simple synth tones and arabesque guitar melodies which evoke the mythical age of the song’s namesake. The album’s ‘hit single’, “The Beauty in Black” is glorious and gothic, it uses a pair of operatic vocalists (male and female), a sort of predecessor to the revolving door of guest musicians the band would use on their later albums. Other excellent tracks include the charging “Riders of Theli,” the crushing doom of “Black” which would have fit almost perfectly on “Into the Pandemonium.” The rest of the album is equally dark and enchanting, with other standouts being the title track and “Evocation of Vovin.”
Synthesizers, flutes multiple vocalists, and the core of the band are all clear and precise throughout, yet it still carries a very raw and dark, ominous tone to it which trumps the later studio efforts. This may not be quite as symphonic as many Therion fans demand of their material in recent years, but it clearly marks the point where this band transformed from an innovative Death Metal band into the Gods of Gothic Metal. There are very few parallels to something like this, and it belongs in the collection of any fan of quality Occult Metal.
Read our review here.