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Therion, Swedish kings of symphonic metal for some 30 years, have realised an ambitious release. Beloved Antichrist is the dream of their guitarist and founder Christofer Johnsson. Part melodic metal, part opera, part neoclassical extravaganza, Johnsson and company present a 46- track mammoth release spread over three CDs and three and a half hours. As a metal opera, Beloved Antichrist works through a menagerie of motifs and musical developments that will require some stern attention and is not for the faint of heart.
It’s an album of intense delivery. The Arrival Of Appollonius bottles meaty metal riffs alongside massive orchestral swells, Turn From Heaven sends out lush female vocals and choral work, but even at this point in the first CD, it’s been heard before and lacks interest. What’s more, you can’t dance to this production. Well, presumably the opera’s characters could dance if they so wished, but Therion fans and inductees to their sound are going to be surprised and possibly disappointed by the lack of anthemic tracks available.
Beloved Antichrist stands alone, one of a kind – all that operatic caterwauling however, may put off even the most diehard of Therion fans. Are they ready for such a marriage of sound?
This release is intensely involved. Quite why Johnsson has likened this release to Jesus Christ Superstar in recent interviews is baffling. The only likeness Beloved Antichrist has to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical great is that it’s a rock opera. Sort of. In terms of thematic persuasion, choral development, delivery and the very important presence of heavy metal provided by Therion, Beloved Antichrist stands alone, one of a kind – all that operatic caterwauling however, may put off even the most diehard of Therion fans. Are they ready for such a marriage of sound?
Points for ambition and creativity, points for enthusiasm and for bravery – but points lost for longevity and an incoherent marriage of two genres that paired with slightly more coherence and the loyal fan in mind, otherwise demonstrate great potential.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Temple Of New Jerusalem, Night Reborn, Turn From Heaven
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Apocalyptica, Richard Wagner, Carl Maria von Weber