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Therion: Live Gothic

Always an impressive idea in the musical sense the one and only Therion have paused between studio albums to deliver to us Live Gothic, an album that captures the band onstage and focusing on their previous studio epic Gothic Kabbalah. Those who have known about the band are already aware of the very big production that they put on and this combination double CD and DVD film bring you right into the crowd at a spectacular show performed in front of a diehard audience in Warzaw, Poland. The release that this tour supported had a very stage performance feeling to it, and I don't just mean in the quality of its songs but also in the manner in which I felt it was being delivered. To me this was as much a Symphonic Metal album as it was something akin to the Broadway stage so when it was announced that there would be a live DVD film for it I was rather excited. The performance while done in support of the Gothic Kabbalah album only features six tracks from the release and chooses to mix up a wider number of songs from the bands earlier years. This appealed to me as I was a latecomer to what they could do in their music so hearing any older track performed live was quite the treat. Fans know that the core membership of Therion is Christofer Johnsson (guitar/core composer), Kristian Niemann (guitars/keyboards), Johan Niemann (bass/acoustic guitar) and Petter Karlsson (drums) and these players are always joined by a company of singers and sometimes additional musicians as necessary. With the live recording we find four singers present in Snowy Shaw, Mats Levin (both male vocal) and Lori Lewis and Katarina Lilja (both female vocal). Watching the concert on the DVD is great because we get to see the interplay between the singers, and like a true stage performance one will walk on while another enters dramatically or switches off verses with another – truly this was a well thought out piece of music and not something thrown together haphazardly. There are amazing angles used in the filming and the overall sound of the production is top notch. There isn't a buzz or hum anywhere and the show makes you feel as though you were a part of the screaming audience. The new release by Therion is not as over the top musically as some of their older more revered stuff, but it is a different kind of album and one that really focused on the vocal parts. That alone makes this an inspiring piece that will defiantly educate younger musicians who sing on how they themselves might be able to work within such a context. Therion has never been anything less than creative and the manner in which this film and audio CD have been put together show that they continue to maintain their levels of excellence.

A booklet is included and it shows various photos from the performance and not much else. There are the thanks and liner notes but nothing really super detailed to sink your teeth into. Normally that would depress me, but in this case I didn't seem to mind. The three discs seem very affordable and that makes this a must have for your collection even if you are only hearing about them for the first time. Without the influences of Therion to set some standards, the likes of bands like Nightwish, Epica and even After Forever might never have existed. How does that strike you as a scary alternate musical reality? Just think of it, everything could have been Daughtry and that scares the life out of this Metal fan. Aren't you glad that we have Therion to keep inspiring the masses who continue to come up on their own after them? I know I am.

CD: The release also features two individual CD's, and these collect the entire concert video in audio form for those who wish to load it up to their music player of choice. Given the track list is the same we shall not reprint it here. If you are one of those listeners who have successfully loaded their entire collection to their player and might need additional room, I suggest you delete some lame stuff or get a new player for yourself.

I caught the band in the Fall of 2007, about seven months after this film was made and as expected it was extraordinary to witness the way this group does things in concert. The difference between our attended show and the one on this film was that singer Mats Levin had already chosen to move on to other adventures while his role in the ensemble was capably filled by Thomas Vikstrom. While I enjoyed Vikstrom, I am a big Levin fan and would have liked to see him once again. The show was also much less in the way of stage décor and that made watching the DVD almost like seeing it for the first time as opposed to reliving the show.

If you are one of the worldwide followers of the band and caught this Gothic Kabbalah tour then you are lucky because not long after it completed it run, founder Christofer Johnsson chose to release all current members from duty leaving only himself as an official member of the group. He has maintained that Therion would continue but only time will tell who exactly will be working with him for it. Either way, I have faith in his vision as he has not let us down in the past.

Track Listing
1. Der Mitternachtslowe
2. Schwarzalbenheim
3. Blood of Kingu
4. Falling Stone
5. Arrow from the Sun
6. Deggial
7. Wine of Aluqah
8. Perennial Sophia
9. Son of the Sun
10. Son of the Staves of Time
11. Birth of Venus Illegitima
12. Tuna 1963
13. Drum Solo
14. Muspelheim
15. Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah
16. Ginnungagap
17. Grand Finale
18. Lemuria
19. Wand of Abaris
20. Nightside of Eden
21. To Mega Therion
22. Thor (The Powerhead)

Added: December 21st 2008
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Therion Website
Hits: 4449
Language: english

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