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Another Therion live release, but I'm not complaining! 'Live Gothic' brings the show in Warsaw, Poland (February 14th 2007) to living rooms. There is no extra stuff on the DVD, except for a "drum battle" recorded in Holland on same tour. 2006 release 'Celebrators of Becoming' is the definite history session and package for every Therionist, so this newbie does not need any extras, to tell the truth. 'Live Gothic' also contains the audio version of the gig on two CDs.
The opening shot shows the good looking stage; candles burning, iron fences and cathedral background, bathing in beautiful lightning. The 16:9 picture is very sharp and camera drives and changes are very well thought out, usually showing exactly right person(s), but at times too hasty (basically, a generic problem with any show). The colourful lighting show is fantastically mood-setting and alternating, just like the music. The stereo-only sound is also sharp and very well balanced. So, I'm pretty satisfied with the technical side of this, but some of you might miss some surround sound shit, which in my opinion is not at all a live music DVD necessity. I mean I don't want to hear any crowd noises from back speakers. What's the point of that when a camera can also be positioned on the side of the stage. What would you expect to hear then? Some band crew babbling over how bad the dinner was?! Okay, stupid things aside, let's check out the songs.
There's plenty of 'em, 22 in total. Surely, loads and loads of the songs you want to hear are missing here, because of the band's huge and very varying discography. You really didn't expect to hear any death metal stuff, did you? Oldest songs on offer are from 1996 album 'Theli'. Anyways, you can get 'Celebrators of Becoming' for older stuff if that's what you want to see. Of course the setlist includes six songs from 'Gothic Kabbalah' (2007), and from all five albums between it and 'Theli'. The whole band performs incredibly, there is both energy and skill in play. The performance is truly capturing. It looks and sounds so bloody good. There's some small extra details throughout the show, e.g. a belly dancer appearing of two songs. It is also quite theatrical performance, especially by the vocalists, but not overtly so. Usual drum solo is spiced with a drum battle between Messieurs Levén and Shaw. Surely, a lot of backing tapes was used, so do not expect any violin, cello, flute or Hammond organ and such players appearing on-stage. In all, it's pretty different set-list when comparing to 'Celebrators of Becoming', and that's a big plus. I do not mean that 'Celebrators...' set-list is bad, no, but it is different.
The vocalists line-up is almost the same as on 'Gothic Kabbalah' album, only Aesma Daeva's soprano Lori Lewis replacing the other female lead vocalist. Mats Levén owns great heavy metal voice, which has so much edge and a hint of raspiness. He is one of the best heavy metal vocalist around at the moment. Snowy Shaw is one eccentric guy, let me tell you. He sings with both, low-toned and high-pitched voices. Lori Lewis is accompanied nicely by Katarina Lilja, whose voice isn't so symphonic-edged. This time there is no backing choir, but these vocalists themselves. Every vocalist gets his/her leading role, too.
New era Therion fans can't be but satisfied with this live experience. And one might become a fan if they see this, so well done is this. Surely, an interview with Therion leader Christofer Johnsson or something like that would have been a nice extra with the live show, but in any case the live show alone offers enough thrills. Sadly, the band have largely departed, leaving Mr. Johnsson with a big task to find equally good musicians around him (guitarist Kristian Niemann, his brother Johan on bass and skinsman Petter Karlsson, plus most of the aforementioned vocalists). So, this is one more reason for you to check out this fantastic act! By the way, there's a cheaper CD-case sized version available (which I have, and it is okay, coming with a bit lame booklet). I simply have no any kind of a con to point out about 'Live Gothic'. Junonisk!!!
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2008)