Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Therion : Les Fleurs Du Mal

It's safe to say if you are waiting around for something really brutal to happen on aTherion album then you haven't been around for sometime. Where their last album " Sitra Ahra " wasan outlandish occultic caberet, their newest effort, is less Andrew Loyd Weber and shoots for Puccini . It's too romancitc and delicate at times for the more metal comparisons of say Wagner. the emphasis is more on the symphonic than the metal though the songs are more concise and plentiful with sixteen tracks .though the first three sound all like one song to me though,give me a another listen and I'll get back to you on that.

I really dig the sultry turn the female vocals take on the song " initials b.b " the song has more swagger to it than you would expect Swedes to be capable of.  The bulk of this is duets some stellar bass playing. The guitar on this does remind me a little of  " dr feelgood " .  The song pretty much sticks to one groove and a lot of the keyboard. Parts reming me of the opening theme to " Game of thrones".

Winter is not coming so soon, as they back off for some moonlight contemplation. The female vocals draw Nightwish comparisons and not unlike the last album it's in the same territory of metal though mostly darker and if I say goth its frilly shirt Theater of  Trajedy variety not Sisters of Mercy flavored

"Polichinelle" is  more operatic, though it has the slight feel of Sigh , when the solos parade in, this song has a "fiddler on the roof" feel as it stil has movement rather than being an aria for the sake yodeling.

While they are not going to be everyone's cup of  tea, the operatic female vocals sound very genuine and do what they do better than even Tarja Turunen's pseudo diva warbles. How many time have you read in reviews that some one is a trained opera singer ? Just Becuase your voice teacher has you sing out of one of those fifty Italian songs for the female voice doesn't mean you are trained to sing opera. The catch here is even her best dramatic soprano begins to make her parts all sound the same.

I miss Snowy Shaws  vocals even if he was only on one Dimmu album, he has a quirkiness to his tone which negates the power metal cheese leaning.  He could have really off set this album and I don't feel he is being utilized enough here.

The guitar work on the last album was more interesting, the solos had colors of their own to add to the musical land scape being laid out. Here it seems obligatory much like Transiberian Orchestra where it's almost like they are trying to say.

" oh yeah , did I mention we are also a Rock band, so don't let that other Yanni non sense fool ya"

After repeat listens the song " Mon amour, mon ami" grows on me as it is dark enough where a lot of these other arias are a little too much like one of Sarah Brightman's albums where she is pretending to be an opera singer because she was in a musical about one. Metal with classical aspirations can be done effectively as long as the band is not apologetic about being a metal band, Therion's problem is they try to hide this fact,allowing strings to take a more dominate role than what is most effective. So it end sup being mediocre classical music with guitars doubling what a bass section would be doing. The guitars are often too low in the mix which clues me into the albums guilty conscience. At their most present the stay on a night wish chug never building up to the needed gallop.

"dis moi poupee" starts with goth affected vocals ans then waltzes off into middle of the road opera territory. The guitar solo is rather decent in this one, but the build swell of the chorus chiming in distracts from the rest of the song.

With a song entitled "Lilith" I wold have expected something a little darker, which is a reoccurring theme with this album. Theres some nice bass playing on it and the chorus of layered vocals is not as intrusive here.

"en Alabama" gets off to a good start but the male vocals cock block the chorus. The song has a good slink to it otherwise but it's almost like a lacuna coil thing where the males vocals come in and spray a canister of hard on begone.

Snowy Shaw's thunder get stolen after he delivers a Ripper Owens quality yodel, things get happy and feel like they devolve into a Blind Guardian song. If you think that's a good thing you don't know that I view that flavor of power metal as randy eld music, and elves are way less metal than dwarves or even hobbits.

The arias keep coming with more divas than devils at this party is a misstep, by the last two songs I begin to think this might have been better branded under a different name. When a gallop does resurface it lacks any real drive, perhaps this is a production mistake? Granted this was one I was surprised to see had come out so it's not like my expectations were very high or it is an album I eagerly anticipated, so I'm pretty objective here and in fact trying to make allowances for what they they are trying to do. I will go ahead and give this one a 4 , if you like flowery power metal that is more Sarah Brightman than Manowar you might even add a point, not sure how Therion fans will react to this offering as metal is less of a color than the powdered wig feel to the majority of the album.

n the last album.

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