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Therion – Sitra Ahra

September 13, 2010

I’ve always had a very mixed opinion on Therion. While clearly being exemplary musicians, they are on occasion known for writing some absolute toss. (Here was placed an incorrect piece of information about the band during the hiatus period in which members of the lineup changed. I do get it wrong sometimes, sorry if anything mislead you, for further information see the comments section- Alex)

As with the Therion albums after they began to stray away from death metal, they’ve begun to incorporate vibrant world influences and operatic elements into their sound. Some of it went disastrously wrong, and indeed, the title track opener doesn’t fill me with joy because of one of two cracks in the Therion armour. The first is the vocals; they’re either incredible or a pretty pants, clean vocals are very often the latter and Sitra Ahra is no exception to the more than occasional bollocks-up, to the point it leaves you wondering if they got the growlers to do the male clean just to save a bit of cash. The second of the afore mentioned flaws is that the songwriting team need to show some restraint and not try and shove every influence into every song they write, but as I like songs to stick to their guns, the more lateral thinking listener might enjoy the record because of the meandering variety.

Where Sitra Ahra lacks, it more than makes up in titanic guitar riffs. Hellequin dives straight into classic metal territory as the driving riffs tear across some of the best five minutes on the album. Even the operatic sections sound like they know what they’re doing, something that was horrendously out of place on Sirius B, but Cu Chulain is pure power metal and pomp rolled into one.

Additionally, Land of Canaan sounds like it’s sung by a bunch of pissed Frenchies warbling along to Orphaned Land.

So, there we have Therion, a very marmite band. Sitra Ahra is a very involving listen, and there is a depth to the songs that certainly require multiple listens. A meat and two-veg listener may find it a tad overwhelming, because let’s face it…Therion are fuckin’ weird sometimes.

5.5/10

Twaddlefish

5 comments

  1. Aprende a ser reviews aweonao!


  2. ‘Hi!

    In your review you are writing that Gothic Kabbalah was intended to be Therions final album and that the band had made a reunion. No idea where you got that silly idea from, as the band have never stated that, their label has never stated that and there has never been any rumours on the internet about that either. Quite embarressing for you that you state that sort of thing as a fact, so hereby you have been corrected so you can update the review.

    / Therion Store Admin’


    • Hi Mr Admin,

      Thanks for the comment. The ‘split’ I was referring to was the occasion when several of the then-established core lineup of the band parted ways with Therion. In particular news channels, namely the ones I get my information from, this was reported as the band splitting up and subsequently reforming later on. Thank you for correcting this, I rarely make an error but on this occasion it has happened, so please accept my apologies and pass it on to those concerned.

      It does mean, however, that I can look forward to seeing them live again.
      Regards,
      Alex aka Twaddlefish


  3. Then, maybe you would be so kind to send a link to those “news channels”? Just for the reference I mean.

    Also, was it those “news channels” that stated that Gothic Kabbalah was “intended to be the final album” by the band?

    Then I have a question for you. Who ever those “particular news channels” are, they are obscure enough to avoid Google. Do you find it professional to ignore the official band site and major news sites as Blabbermouth, the record labels news etc who all of them declared that Chris would be continuing the band. Even the statement it self from the band declared this very clear. Do you find it professional to not read any of those and rely solely on info from some obscure metal blogger (“news channel”) with possibly 150 readers a week? I guess your readers would find it fair to know…


  4. Mr Store Admin,

    As the comments that you have issues with were made sometime during 2008, I unfortunately no longer know the address where I got this erroneous information from. Like I said, I have made an error and have offered apologies which you seem to have ignored. Feel free to call me liar and sue me for libel, I’ll do my utmost to ignore you.

    In terms of professionalism, I would be very surprised that the core of Therion advocates a member of their online team lashing out at an admittedly smallish online publication because of a factual error. Hardly fitting of someone with ties to an internationally acclaimed band, is it?

    As you can see, I have now rectified the situation. I am disappointed this has taken a sour route, as I will always willingly accept correction from sources closer to the band than I, but there is no need for the kind of petulant, condescending comments here.
    Thank you for reading my work in any case.
    Regards,
    Alex aka Twaddlefish



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