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I really like this album. After the brilliant "Lemuria/Sirius B" double album and the still solid "Gothic Kabbalah" which had its lengths and strengths, the band is now back and presents their best album since the innovating "Theli".
But attention, dear metal heads: While "Theli" was an album build on 75% on heavy and death metal and 25% symphonic and classic music, it is now the opposite on "Sitra Ahra". The "Miskolc Experience" and the line-up changes seem to have influenced the band to go even further in their connection of metal and classic. I was already afraid that the line-up changes may destroy the uniqueness of the band and make it go in another direction, but I am very happy to see that those line-up changes have been a fresh rebirth for the band and that Therion continues its journey towards the perfect symbiosis of metal dynamic and power and classical and symphonic intellectual elegance. When you listen to the album, you feel that this band exactly knows what they are doing and where they want to go. And that's why this album isn't a copy of the previous works as "Gothic Kabbalah" already began to repeat the style of "Lemuria/Sirius B", but a really fresh new beginning for the innovating and creative Swedish band.
Only the still brilliant opener "Sitra Ahra" which connects metal and classic equally and the darker, heavier short old school song "Din" remind a lot of the old style of the band.
Medieval, choral-influenced traditional songs as the harmonic "Hellequin", the Celtic and very powerful and happy "Cu Chulainn" or the on Arabian and Persian folklore based epic monster piece "Land of Canaan" - to just mention to 10 out of 10 songs - represent what Therion is today: an open-minded, cultural, historical classic band who plays well developed symphonic mini-operas with some minor metal influences.
The album makes its listener voyage and discover ancient cultures and their folklore and he or she becomes the stunning tourist who admires the amazing sightseeing tour. And after the tour, you have gotten so many interesting insights that you automatically want to voyage again and again and watch the photos of what you have seen over and over again. Once you have listened to the first four songs, you are not able to not finish this album, you get sucked into a maelstrom of exotic impressions, hypnotic melodies and the music creates a lot of images in your head. Therion makes you dream and even if the songs are very complex and elaborated, they have are so light and soft that you don't need more than one try to adore this album, to get into its atmosphere. The album is diversified and progressive without being complex, complicated or mixed-up. It is easy to listen too, but you still discover more and more elements after each hour of pleasure and the album grows more and more on you. Even the "weaker" songs on the album like " Unguentum Sabbati" which has the lack of the famous certain something or "2012" which begins brilliantly but never comes to the punching highlight after its brilliant introduction, fit perfectly with the rest of the album.
This harmonic album is surely nothing for the average metal fan, but Therion has never been a band for that kind of metal head. This album is for the more intellectual people who are not afraid of discovering classical opera and symphony elements, strange languages and exotic cultures and who really take their time to listen to an album as a whole work in peace and harmony. You must listen to it while you are lying on your bed, dreaming, discovering, taking your time, it is surely no music to listen to on your mp3-player on your way to the job in the morning. It is just like an opera: The music creates something visual and wants to tell a story and this album is more than just music, it is a concept, it is a compilation of images and words in perfect harmony, it is a voyage into the past: It is a piece of art and works as a whole. And it is certainly already now the best album done in 2010 to me.