Therion – Beyond Sactorum Review

All important bands to Metal music have interesting and defying stories. Some of them are straight, some of them are tortuous. Some bands as Motörhead have a pivotal moment when they turned themselves in what they got famous for. Those moments can be tranquil or violent depending on the paths the band has chosen. Changes can be only an evolution of the band’s music as it happened to Iron Maiden. Other bands had a violent and decisive moment in their careers. The bands that underwent for fast and striking changes in their careers as numerous. Too numerous to address them all here. Therion, as many of us know, had two distinct lives. One when they were a Death Metal releasing two albums 1991’s “Of Darkness” and 1992’s “Beyond Sactorum.” From 1993’s “Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas” things changed drastically and the band went on a Symphonic path. As a matter of fact, it was Therion that kind of pioneered this subgenre. In very short it’s this.

Well, when I received those three albums as reissues from Hammerheart Records I got very interested because Therion to me means a lot. Funny to think of it because I haven’t heard too many albums from the band. As a matter of fact, I guess I heard only 1999’s “Crowning of Atlantis” and 2021’s “Leviatan” which I reviewed here. Therion were important because my first contact with the band was back than in 1998 when I heard it for the first time. It was also the first I heard that kind of music. I had never heard a Symphonic Metal with both kinds of vocals the gutural and the female soprano. Unfortunately, I don’t know which album was that I heard that time. I really don’t why I didn’t bother to ask. Those unexplainable things that happens in our lives. I knew Therion had this other life as a Death Metal band but truely I never wondered how it was. One very important detail is that the three albums are schedulled to be released on April 08th, a date when I have already piled up many albums to review. My first reaction was to do the same thing I did with Tankard, Skid Row, and Overkill which was to write only one review for all the pack. However, when I started to listen to the material I noticed that only one review wouldn’t be enough to catch all the changes the band went through. Moreover, this review would get so long that it would be the same length as if I decided to write three of them. So, in order to better honor Therion and their importance to Metal music I’m writing three reviews.

For the record, “Beyond Sactorum” was recorded via Active Records, “Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas” via Megarock Records, and finally, “Lepaca Kliffoth” is the first of many with Nuclear Blast Records. By the way, as my dear child of the night may have noticed, Nuclear Blast Records wasn’t responsable for the band’s cchange of hearts. Changes happened before.

Therion were able to see the wave shifting from Death Metal to some kind of music that would get more melody and more classical music elements. That’s their main achievement. Pioneers are people with vision. They see what no one is able to see. For the time being.

Ok then, now we can go to the first album of this very list.

If my dear child of the night pays very close attention it’s in “Beyond Sactorum” that Therion begin their wind of changes. I strongly recommend my fan to go right to fourth track “Symphony of the Dead” a track where the band exercized some of the features they would use in the future. Some elements as the choirs wth female vocals and the keyboards emulating classical music. Even playing Death Metal Therion were different from their peers. “Beyond Sactorum” delivers elements that in 1992 weren’t common around Death Metal bands. There is a distictive scent here if my dear fan pays close attention. Again. The slow and cadenced movements of “Enter the Depths of Eternal Darkness” are much related to Doom Metal than to Death Metal. The changes of pace inside the song are another distinctive element. As many of their peers, the album is opened with a killer fast track called “Future Conciousness” with what I call machine gun drumming. I guees my dear fan can wonder what kind of drumming of effect this is. Little by little the album goes slowing down with more paced tracks as following track “Pandemonic Outbreak,” – hey, what a minute! Any kind of fortunetelling? There is other feature that calls the eye that is the prominent bass as in “Cthulhu” with its diverse and frentic rhythm. As I said before, in this album there are some slight references of what would come in the forwarding albums. “Symphony of the Dead” has the taste of Scorpions in the first years as in  1972’s “Lonesome Crow” and 1973s “Fly to the Rainbow .” But the most amazing and out of the box track – hey we’re talking about 1992 – is the eleven minute “The Way” with all the features that would be known as Progressive Death Metal.

So, “Beyond Sactorum” isn’t a fans only album. Not only for the ones who are interested in knowing Therion’s initial albums. It’s much more than this. To be continued…

Therion “Beyond Sactorum” will be released on April 08th via Hammerheart Records.

Track Listing:

  1. Future Consciousness
  2. Pandemonic Outbreak
  3. Cthulhu
  4. Symphony of the Dead
  5. Beyond Sanctorum
  6. Enter the Depths of Eternal Darkness
  7. Illusions of Life
  8. The Way
  9. Paths
  10. Tyrants of the Damned

Watch “Pandemonic Outbreak” official video here: