Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Christopher Johnsson: the new Ludwig van Beethoven - 98%

kluseba, April 7th, 2015

Two and a half years after the apocalyptic, gloomy and heavy conceptual record Secrets Of The Runes, band leader Christofer Johnsson and the Niemann brothers come around with two new releases which are available separately or together in a collector’s edition. Lemuria has a darker and more mysterious tone and the songs are consistent, short and to the point. The album uses a few instruments which are even unusual by Therion standards such as balalaikas, domras, mellotrons and Hammond organs. Sirius B has a lighter atmosphere, more commercially accessible tracks and the songs are a little bit more epic, progressive and symphonic. This album also adds some interesting instruments to Therion’s symphonic soundscapes such as gongs, mandolins and church organs. Both releases perfectly complement each other, deliver everything Therion stood, stands and will stand for and are absolute must have releases for any symphonic metal fan.

Lemuria opens with a big bang and a big surprise. The apocalyptic opener “Typhon” features distorted extreme vocals by Christofer Johnsson for the first time in almost a decade. His vocal performance sounds energizing, sharp and unique and the chorus is an outburst of bleak passion. He is supported by dramatic female and male choirs and a few apocalyptic orchestrations but the track is maybe the greatest extreme metal song ever written by the band. The powerhouse drumming, the mean bumblebee bass guitar sounds and the sharp yet variable guitar riffs are extremely dynamical. Christofer Johnsson cherishes us once more with his unique vocals in the fast and epic “Three Ships Of Berik” where he portrays the legendary king of the Goths who asked his troops to conquer the world. Next to a tight extreme metal performance, the orchestrations are top notch in the two parts of the song and the triumphant march music by fast brass sections leading to a victorious finale is maybe the most epic moment on the entire double-album. As a listener, you feel like you were on a battlefield with the gothic tribes. This masterpiece in two parts is epic war cinema for your all your senses.

The band also shows its slower epic side on this excellent album. The title track is so great that I can’t help but having tears in my eyes whenever I’m listening to it. The song starts with chilling acoustic guitars and angelic female vocals that beat all the Tarja Turunen’s on this planet. Appeasing and mysterious male choirs lead you to a forgotten magic land under the sea. Long-time collaborator Piotr Wawrzeniuk is in charge of the male lead vocals in this song and his performance is both epic and powerful. After a short bridge with a narrative passage, the track ends with the strong chorus over longing guitar sounds before elegant string passages and emotional flutes kick in. These flute sounds are absolutely hallucinating. They are so beautiful that it’s beyond words. Maybe this is the best song Therion has written since “To Mega Therion” that once ended in a similarly stunning way with powerful trumpet sounds.

The genius doesn’t stop there. “The Dreams Of Swedenborg” has slow and mysterious passages with another chilling lead vocal performance by Piotr Wawrzeniuk who delivers the best performance of his career, decent, elegant and elegiac orchestral passages and a catchy chorus where the massive rhythm section almost has a funky tone before the track ends with minute-long amazing guitar harmonies and solos. The great Piotr Wawrzeniuk returns for a third and last time in the masterpiece “Feuer Overtüre / Prometheus Entfesselt”. This perfect fusion of classical music and heavy metal is entirely performed in German. It features a mixture of classical music and choirs in the key of Richard Wagner, melodic heavy and power metal guitar sounds and a few almost narrative Neue Deutsche Härte inspired vocals. With one single song, Therion beats any similar past and future attempts at this style by Apocalyptica and Rammstein which are both outstanding and unique bands in my opinion. This just proves what kind of band Therion is. Christopher Johnsson is the contemporary Ludwig van Beethoven.

In conclusion, the Lemuria / Sirius B double-album is a must have for any symphonic metal fan. These two magic albums might change your life. There aren’t many records like these out there. Do yourself a favor and get them now. In addition to that, you should get the best live record ever released which is called Celebrators Of Becoming, including a whopping four DVDs and two CDs with a two-hour long concert in Mexico, an extensive tour report, an additional concert in Germany plus studio reports and finally a large historical section with more live clips made between 1989 and 2001. Ten years back in time from today, Therion were definitely solidly installed on the metal throne.

The Western Twin: power and leadership. - 100%

Daniel_2007_Pendulum, April 21st, 2008

"Lemuria", one of the two twin albums that Therion released in 2004, is definitely one of the best in their career. Along with "Sirius B", it's the proof that the band has left behind their "barbarian" beginnings and has moved on into something more mature, more delicate and doubtlessly more symphonic, but without putting apart the power and aggresivity that has always characterized Therion; and this time, "Lemuria" is the aggressive brother. So, let's check out the blue twin.

"Lemuria" is a very short album (it lasts only for 42 minutes), but includes all the elements a true metal album should have: aggressivity, harmony, delicate atmosphere and tunes, and very interesting lyrics. I call this album "The Western Twin" because the lyrics of the ten songs included on the album talk about legends, mithology, famous people and also prophecies and paganism of the western part of the world (Europe and America).

Not, let's talk about the songs. Each song is different from the other, both in rhythm and lyrics (and even in music), with the obvious exception of two songs that can be considered as only one: "Three Ships of Berik". A song divided in two parts is an element also featured in "Sirius B" (the song "Kali Yuga" is also divided in two). For example: "Typhon" features death/black metal voices on the chorus, and "Lemuria" and "An Arrow From The Sun" feature delicate, beautiful female voices; "Quetzalcoatl" (a song which chorus is wirtten in Spanish) is leaded by a female choir, and "Feuer Overtüre/Prometheus Entfesselt" (the masterpiece of the album, entirely in German) is entirely sung by a couple of different male voices (no female voices are featured in this song); "The Dreams of Swedenborg" includes a very few operatic voices; and "Abraxas" is practically entirely sung by them. As you can see, it's a very varied album.

Now, let's check out my personal ranking for each song of the album. Let's remember that neither "Lemuria" nor "Sirius B" include bonus tracks.

Typhon - 9.8/10
Uthark Runa - 9.7/10
Three Ships of Berik (both parts) - 9.6/10
Lemuria - 10/10
Quetzalcoatl - 10/10
The Dreams of Swedenborg - 10/10
An Arrow From The Sun - 9.9/10
Abraxas - 10/10
Feuer Overtüre/Prometheus Entfesselt - 10/10

Sirius's Rejects Still Rock - 90%

Sue, January 30th, 2008

Sirius B is so brilliant that even it's lesser afterbirth is one of the best metal albums ever. It too has heights, Abraxas, Quetzalcoatl, Berik, it's all great stuff. But it has a different tone from Sirius- It's the lighter material, the lesser material, songs of the same era but without the collective effect that their red covered counterparts took to such great heights.

There will be many who find the couple to be the other way around, that Lemuria is the real thing and that Sirius is lacking. So let me try to justify why I am of the alternate camp: Typhon and Uthark Runa are not nearly as memorable (catchy) as Kingu and Son of the Sun. The Album opens with loud strength but not the wild humor that Kingu cast over it's half of the release. Berik is no doubt comparable to Kali Yuga but it's not as hard, not as fast, not as epic or long or genuinely scary. In the battle of title tracks I suppose Lemuria comes out on top, but then Lemuria's softer works are plentiful and forgetable, where Sirius B even at its dullest is to be remembered. What is Abraxas or Quetzalcoatl when compared to the glory of Dark Venus or Call of Dagon? Where are the gloomy intros and the Stairway to Heaven for metal that was Wondrous World of Punt? I hate to belittle such great songs as Lemuria's, but they are the rejects, the lesser works of Therion's 2004 production.

But damn theyre good. If there were no Sirius B then Lemuria would be a worthy follow up to Secret of the Runes. But there is a Sirius B so Lemuria is in this reviewers view, the lesser half of Secret's superior follow up. In any case the music is great. Operatic vocals, Symphonic delights, wild metal riffs and dark near-gothic subtext all make Lemuria worth owning. It's also stuck to Sirius B's backside so you're buying it anyway. Enjoy it.

The other side of a golden coin - 94%

Observer, February 11th, 2007

And what a golden coin, people! It’s hard to begin this review since Lemuria is linked with its twin, Sirius B. Both were released at the same time but are also separated works which sum up more than 105 minutes of superb music. This part contains about 48 minutes of such masterful pieces and hell they don’t disappoint!

Unlike Sirius B, which had clean vocals and a lot of “catchiness”, Lemuria seems to be the experimental part of the pack, with things that may not appeal everyone. It’s an album that takes longer to get into.

Once again, get ready for a journey through dreamy, complex, intrincate, insane and poetic topics, including a song dedicated to a notable philosopher, Emanuel Swedenborg. Thomas Karlasson never fails when it comes to provide interesting topics to listen to. By the way, this album contains a lot of lines in many languages, ranging spanish to german so better be ready for strange accents, especially in the last song, “Feuer Overtüre”.

Album art is something that could be reviewed separately. It’s incredibly detailed and mysterious (“Lemuria” and “Abraxas” come to my mind) so another point for the wonderful visual treatment.

Going into the music (what really matters here), things kick in with the interesting “Typhon”. After a short operatic mix of orchestra and metal we are driven into what should’ve been a melodic chorus but it’s not. And thank all the divinities for that! This, along with “Three Ships of Berik Pt. I”, include death metal vocals, nothing to get really scared of for those that absolutely hate that type of singing. Moreover, it adds a lot of consistence to the songs, keeps your attention and, what’s better, it doesn’t make them predictable.

Riffs with all the power are all around. Guitars (oh, the guitars!) and vocals with distortions also say present, the bass is hopefully there along with a great drumming. It is pretty good to try and separate the orchestration and guitars to simply follow the rhythm of the drums. And the more you distinguish stuff, the more you find interesting things. The classical music soloists accomplish a great task at delivering an ominous ambience and the grandiloquent choruses simply end the work by exalting the intricate rythms and enforcing the lyrical lines. This can be quite notorious in “Uthark Runa” (which seems like something that should’ve been placed in Secret of the Runes… “Rise, Rise, from Ginunngagap!”) and “The Dreams of Swedenborg” with the distorted choruses between the conventional vocal lines.

This game of balance between metal vocalists and classical ones was also present in Sirius B but the songs there were more, say, blunt and direct. Here, the band gave more space to the experimentation mentioned at the beginning.

It’s worth pointing that two excellent vocalists from previous albums are also present: Mats Léven and Piotr Wawrzeniuk, both amazing singers that are always an honor to hear.

There is only a single moment that could be considered filler or a waste, and that could be the brief instrumental “Three Ships of Berik Pt. II” but it gives the orchestra a chance of taking control of the music and they develop a nice and short battle march.

The pace slows down at “Lemuria”, practically the only slow part of the album… but it’s also one of the best songs. Lyrics are full of strange melancholy, and this is reassured thanks to the voices of the classical soloist and Piotr.

It’s remarkable how Therion melded both the classical instruments along with metal and managed to get out alive and well (because it’s still metal of the good kind). They ended up making their own music, away from most standards and while the orchestra could’ve been used a bit more, that by any means lowers the final result.

So, these twins conceived by this musical beast that responds to the name of Therion are such a pair of great works that it’s bound that you won’t see something similar in years.

Extremely recommended!

Brilliant - 100%

a8o, June 19th, 2005

“Lemuria” must rank up there with the best releases of the decade so far: a landmark album. This album remains in high rotation and is one of only a handful of genre defining records released in my lifetime. Therion tone down the operatic quotient of earlier albums like “Voivin” and increasing the metallic elements to reach a perfect balance.

Balance is probably the best way of describing Lemuria. It’s paced perfectly, from the bombastic openers “Typhon”, “Uthark Runa” and “Three Ships of Berik (1 & 2)” which all feature sharp guitar work and varied vocal styles. The album settles down towards the middle – during “Lemuria”, “Quetzalcoatl” and the first half of “Dreams of Swedenborg” which boasts an absolutely brilliant guitar solo and is a definite highlight on an album so equal throughout. The album clears out on the positively brilliant trio “Arrow from the Sun”, “Abraxas” and “Feuer Overture” which brings the album full circle with a nice mid-tempo rocker. Also worth noting is the production which is also perfectly balanced so that no element of the music is overbearing, allowing the strength of song writing to shine.

Creating something this multi-faceted and cohesive, utilising the entire tonal spectrum with more than 171 musicians is an achievement in itself. Therion also obviously had a huge amount of material early 2004 when they set about recording their pair of albums. “Lemuria” in particular of the pair displays a strength of song writing fused together to create the rare kind of record where each track both fits together as a whole and can stand on its own. That is probably why “Lemuria” is so good and why isolating any particular track more than I have in this review would not do the others justice.

Another amazing album - 96%

Theli, April 5th, 2005

I purchased the Lemuria/Sirius B the day it was released in North America. The first thing worth pointing out, and the only flaw with the whole album, is the packaging. The albums are together in a case similar to most digipak CD cases, the big problem is that the lyric books for the albums are conencted tot he CD case itself, so you cannot remove it. That being the only flaw, and a minor one at that, you should already Have an idea of how great this album is.
On to the music. Christofer Johnsson revisits his death metal voacls on a couple of tracks, which in all honesty is a refreshing change of pace. Although the Lemuria is slighty based more on the usual rock instruments compared to Secret Of The Runes, it is still packed with really well developed and prominent operatics and symphonics. As a whole the album stays with a similar style as older Therion albums, no great leaps on this album, the only major difference with this release is the inclusion of pure death metal vocals mixed with a full orchestra.
Each song on the album keeps you on your toes, sometimes with death metal growls or pure thespian power metal screams, and at other times with the beautiful compositions, amazing choir and operatic vocal performances. My personal favourites songs of this album are: Typhon, Three Ships Of Berik I+II, and The Dreams Of Swedenborg.
If you like previous Therion albums, you will more than likely enjoy this as well, recomended to anyone into symphonic metal. Let's hope that subsequent releases will keep up with this one!

Woaah! - 97%

Corimngul, May 27th, 2004

I bought Lemuria in bundle with Sirius B (2CD digi...) for a lower price than I usually have to pay for a single album. And I bought it mainly because of Sirius B. Now anyway, Lemuria owns Sirius B in every possible way. Let's take a look at the songs:

The album has some killer start in Typhon, with growling vocals by Christofer Johnson. Then the only song which was solely written by another person than Christofer, Uthark Runa by Kristian Niemann. The beat and melody is simplistic, but just good. Oh yeah, those hails sound so cool. Three Ships of Berik has some atmosphere of the goths, not gothic music but the historic goths. Now, this is the third masterpiece in a row. It really makes me happy hearing the story about Berik gathering his forces for an attempt against the Roman Empire. And yes, some more growling here. The second part, Victory, of the song is a little bit annoying with all those wind isntruments, but the feeling of victory takes overhand the longer the song goes on.
Then it's the title song, Lemuria, basically it starts like a power ballad with a good melody, then it just gets heavier. And yes, here's some real cool chorus. But this is not the best song on the album. I wonder if they chose to title the album with this song because of no other song title did fit... Quetzalcoatl, the following song, is proabably the worst one on the album. I guess it's too orchestrated and has too weak choirs. But the rhythm and beat is really good anyway. The Dreams of Swedenborg begins really cool and is quite simply heavy and slowpaced. The choirs are a bit boring, but the lead vocals they are really good. The voice is just perfect to this song.
An Arrow From The Sun starts by some soprano singing, then a bass-barrytone takes over and they switches back and forth. Pretty cool actually. One doesn't hear much of what's the choir's singing except from 'Eiwar'. But 'Eiwar' is repeated often enough to sound cool... Abraxas blasts out with an intro beat just too good. All the way through the song, melody supported by bass, it's headbanging. And the choir singing seems to fit better than on any other of the songs. The last song, Feuer Overtüre/Prometeus Entfesselt is written by both Christofer and Kristian, and sounds in the beginning just like a film soundtrack. Then the metal guitars gets into it and spices it up. The text is in german as well. One can't help getting a Rammstein feeling listening to this. But of course, here are the vocals much better, so even if I feel Piotr Wawrzeniuks voice is the best choice, it's just fucking good.

So to sum up this, with the help of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra Therion has managed to do another masterpiece. I was afraid that the resource of 170 musicians and vocalists would make them overdo it, but I was wrong. The orchestration imbues everything, but is still very balanced. Perhaps they use the choirs too much but still it's just great.

Ok this is not Theli, but this beats any later work in orchestration. Deggial is a work of supremacy, but still, this is a lot better. And it should be, they stayed in that studio for nine months to prepare this!