Therion are back. And this restitution can be surely called not “triumphal” or “epic”, but monumental, because other epithets will not so fit for their new metal opera ‘Beloved Antichrist’.
Frankly speaking, this album was the most expected for me in 2018, and I regularly frazzled out my chief editor with a question “do you have a promo?”. But when I got this mastodon in my hands, I was feared to open it a little for three reasons.
First of all because of high expectations. You always expect masterpieces from Therion, and when it’s not happen, the disappointment grows bigger. And here we got six years of no releases at all with the previous album ‘Le Fleurs du Mal’, which had good arrangements, but was not so Therion.
Secondly because of its length. Three hours of opera, even it is metal, it’s too much. And nowadays, when there is too much information and too few patience (if we skip even ten seconds Youtube videos) – even more so.
And the last one is the book, on which this opera based: not many Russian-speakers have read this work from Vladimir Solovyov. Although ‘Beloved Antichrist’ went pretty far from the book (here Christofer Johnsson very justifiably tells why he did so), some fears still remained. The one thing is Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber with his operas – everybody know the plot of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and listened to ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ (at least they heard the main theme), and it can’t be compared with the book from XIX-XX century Russian philosopher, which not every bookworm heard about. On the other hand The Who, Avantasia, Ayreon and even Green Day wrote rock operas on their own themes, and that was good. Anyway, all these fears began to disperse with the first track “Turn From Heaven”.
Before I start to tell about an opera itself, I want to warn all the people that expect for “that old good Therion“, this will hardly happen. Although, if someone will tell me, on which album “the good one” Therion ended and started “the bad one”, I will be sincerely grateful. Because the opinions are very different: from ‘Vovin‘ to ‘Gothic Kabbalah’.
And now to the album. So, ‘Beloved Antichrist’: three acts, three hours of music and 46 songs. Despite the “frightening” genre (metal opera), the music is perceived quite easily. No, it’s not some poppy crap or four country chords. Although there was a place for rich and lush arrangements, heavy guitar sound, and, of course, diverse classical operatic vocals in the album, there are not any very unusual musical solutions, broken rhythms and 20 minutes prog-solos.
The album is full of catchy moments, which are diverse also. But if we’re talking about catchy songs from the beginning to the end, there are hardly ten of them. But don’t forget that ‘Beloved Antichrist’ is an opera (in the full sense of the word) and not some stadium chants.
The mood that the songs transmit is also variable – here can be found typical metal moments, epic, gothic lugubriousness, everything that Therion is famous with. And, of course, the wide range of emotions, which are transmitted with music and singing, especially when it’s hardly possible to parse the words (sometimes classical operatic vocals are also illegible like extreme).
And one more thing: ‘Beloved Antichrist’ is very solid and consecutive. We have an acquaintance with the heroes, a culmination, an outcome and a sad end (spoiler alert!). But with this, every track is a finished work. It’s worse to listen to and album, at least one time from the beginning to the end, but some songs you’ll want to listen again, and not for one time. Some kind of music “Devastator”.
To sum up, take your headphones and dive into the world of this metal opera. Maybe it will not catch you from the first time, maybe will disappoint with something (we are talking about expectations again), but it will impress precisely.
‘Beloved Antichrist’ will be released on February, 9 via Nuclear Blast.