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More personal. Something was changing... - 87%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, April 17th, 2009

The second Therion album, Beyond Sanctorum, more or less follows the same style of their death metal debut because that period was not yet influenced by symphonic metal. A few traces can be already found but they are just for some breaks and the rest is easily labelled “death metal”. The early Swedish conception of death metal is heavily present, so prepare to be attacked by violent riffs, obsessive drumming and a voice from the caves.

The first track is called “Future Consciousness” and it’s immediately fast. The old grindcore remnants are always present for the blast beats sections and the putrid riffs. The classic up tempo is present too as the vocals puke their contribution to the darkness for this CD. The mid-paced moments are somehow less impulsive but always heavy and dark thanks to a more dominating atmosphere by the lead guitars and the keyboards. “Pandemonic Outbreak” is mid-paced but the riffage is heavy as fuck and the vocals parts here are demonic. The different vocal lines clash together to raise that dark atmosphere, as the galloping riffs come for the middle parts, giving more dynamism. The overall atmosphere is spirited and really gloomy.

“Cthulhu” is a long instrumental track with an incredibly heavy progression and some dissonant riffs, following partially what a group like Carbonized did for the debut album For The Security. The influences are strong, also when it comes to the dark noises under the more mid-paced parts. “Symphony of the Dead” shows a higher use of the keyboards and somehow now the band’s approach is more melodic and dark with clean male/female duets and gothic style arpeggios. The second part degenerates because it explodes in blast beats and schizophrenic riffs. The title track is full of syncopations, dissonant breaks, fast restarts and growls that come out from nowhere even if the dark touch isn’t altered.

“Enter the Depths of Eternal Darkness” is grooving, deep and dark. When the tempo increases its speed, the grind elements are clearer for the guitars and for a few drums blast beats. Once again, the riffs seem spirited and the thrash metal style comes with the following “Illusions of Life”. The up tempo is dynamic but soon we return to the mid-tempo and the gloominess that comes from. The long “The Way” is again weird for the dissonant riffs and the various drumming to sustain grotesque lead lines. The keyboards sustain the horror atmosphere, while the heavier breaks are always welcome to give variety. The last “Paths” features ghosts-like voices and it’s really dark, as the growls enter too and we rest on mid-paced tempo till the end.

Well, all things considered, this is a far more personal album by Therion. The debut was far more canonical for its classic approach to the swedish death metal and this one already showed a few signs of change. The atmospheres here are far more important even without forgetting the heaviness this album deserves. A good, forgotten work.