The fifth full-length album by legendary Swedish Symphonic/Operatic Metal band.
Therion’s "Theli" may be the most essential Symphonic Metal album ever released. It’s the kind of work that is necessary to listen to at least once in a lifetime of fandom. It’s an album worth exploring thoroughly for Therion fans. What makes Theli stand out among other ambitious releases is the consequent will to fuse Operatic and Symphonic elements with Doom, Gothic, and even Power Metal in equal parts to invent something extremely courageous and completely unrivaled in originality. It’s something new from an intellectual point of view, but also from an Atmospheric and Technical approach. This album features sophisticated tracks including dark and raw vocals, full choirs, gripping riffing, vivid rhythm work, and the crowning keyboard orchestrations. Classical music and Heavy Metal have rarely come into such close contact as on this release. At a time when the Metal scene seemed to be waning in power, bands like Amorphis, Moonspell, and Therion kept an entire scene alive with their determined approach to inventing and reinventing themselves with each new release.
Most of old fans first listened to Therion’s "In Mega Therion" when it was included on a double DVD collection as part of Nuclear Blast’s “Monsters Of Metal” series. There are a very few precious moments in your life when you listen to a song and realize that it will change your perception of music. Listening to this song was one of those moments. The beauty and the beast mixture of heavy riffs and powerful raw male vocals with male and female choirs was special enough. When the incredible solo with dueling guitar and keyboard came up, followed by a section of sacred-sounding choirs, you got heavy goosebumps and a racing heartbeat. The conclusion kicked in, with enchanting piano and trumpet, and you had tears in your eyes. Choirs, pianos, violins, and even trumpets in a Metal song? This was something completely new to all Metalheads, and it shook up their world. Thanks to Therion, much of Metalheads started to listen to and to appreciate Classical Music at that young age. These long-haired Death Metal musicians had just reinvented a whole genre with a song!!
It’s hard to believe it, but the most amazing thing about "Theli" is that the rest of the album is just as amazing as the opening “Preludium” and “To Mega Therion”. The relaxing bass and the mysterious keyboard tones of “Cults Of The Shadow“ immediately will grab your intention, and the song becomes a catchy, yet diversified Symphonic Metal anthem with two different gloomy male vocalists in addition to the grandiose choirs. This song is very easy to approach and catchy from the beginning onward. The following “In The Desert Of Set” comes around with an obvious Egyptian feel. From the intro on, guitars take control and lead into passages where gracious female and male choirs interchange with both clean and harsh male vocals. The song surprises with its impressive structure that includes a short bass guitar interlude, recurring Folk elements, majestic grand piano, and faster orchestral parts. Therion put more ideas into this single impressive song than most others put into entire albums or discographies. “Nightside Of Eden” continues to convince with more Progressive, almost Space Rock-infused sounds a passionate ending with guitar solos of the highest quality. “Invocation Of Naamah” is the only faster track on the record that goes musically back to the band’s early days. The fast Melodic Death Metal verses meet the band’s typical Orchestral elements and operatic vocals for most of the rest of the song, and the final result sounds refreshingly balanced. “The Siren Of The Woods“ is by far the longest track on the record, and it’s a very appeasing and elegiac song that delivers more mysterious keyboard sounds, sacral chants, and an Epic atmosphere. It is mostly instrumental, and features almost no Metal instrumentation whatsoever. The soothing female vocals will make you think of new age music, but they also have a tender Asian Folk-like touch to them. The calm male singing that complements the female performer could have come straight from an Italian opera. Among many very impressive songs, this one is definitely Therion’s most courageous and radical, as it nearly breaks with any expectations held by critics and fans, as well as Therion’s own Doom and Death Metal ridden past. It’s very symbolic to choose exactly this title as a single. It shows the world that with Therion, you can only expect the unexpected. Despite its length, this floating lullaby definitely has its very own charm. It’s a perfect track to peacefully fall asleep to.
This was the last album on which Christofer Johnsson sang, and the final album to include any Death Metal growls until their brief appearance on 2004's "Lemuria".
There is no questioning that "Theli" is a revolutionary record!
Have fun with this mind blowing masterpiece!!
Nuclear Blast GmbH, 1996 (NB 179-2). Made in UK. Re-press.
1. Preludium 1:43
2. To Mega Therion 6:35
3. Cults Of The Shadows 5:14
4. In The Desert Of Set 5:29
5. Interludium 1:48
6. Nightside Of Eden 7:32
7. Opus Eclipse 3:41
8. Invocation Of Naamah 5:32
9. The Siren Of The Woods 9:55
10. Grand Finale / Postludium 4:05
Total playing time: 51:34 min.