Therion‘s17th studio album Leviathan was released on January 22nd 2021, and proved to be another success for the symphonic metal pioneers. It entered the charts worldwide peaking at #8 (Rock and Metal) in the UK, at #11 in Germany and #14 (physical) in Sweden, to name just a few. Yesterday, Therion released a music video for Eye Of Algol, a track taken from Leviathan. It refers to the ‘demon star’ Algol (“al-ġūl” means “the demon” in Arabic), a multiple star consisting of three separate stars that has an ominous connotation in astrology, which is also referenced in the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The video features performances by lead singers Rosalía Sairem and Thomas Vikström, whose voices can both be heard in the song, as well as mythical creatures, blood, fire and swordfights, picking up where its predecessors, Tuonela and Die Wellen der Zeit left off.
Grab your copy of Leviathan (click album cover image)
THERION have always been a band that have challenged themselves to explore new paths, while remaining true to their musical core values. For their 17th studio album Leviathan, mastermind Christofer Johnsson and his collaborator Thomas Vikström have created something that has been previously unthinkable to the guitarist and the singer. “We have done the only thing that was left of all the different angles to explore”, explains Christofer. “We have decided to give the people what they kept asking for. Leviathan is the first album that we have deliberately packed with THERION hit songs.”
When THERION came into being in 1988 by changing name from the already existing band BLITZKRIEG, which was founded a year earlier, Christofer had rather taken inspiration from SLAYER‘s Reign In Blood among other classic metal albums. At the beginning, the Swedes were firmly rooted in death metal, a genre which they helped to define, as witnessed by their debut album Of Darkness…. (1991). Yet even back then, there were hints of “something else” lurking beneath the rough surface.
The use of female vocals is another core ingredient of THERION today, which developed gradually. CELTIC FROST had basically introduced the female element to extreme metal on To Mega Therion in 1985. THERION began with both a female and male vocalist emulating a church like choir already in their sophomore full-length Beyond Sanctorum (1992). With Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas (1993) and Lepaca Kliffoth (1995), Christofer continued to developed his trademark sound by gradually drifting towards cleaner vocals and more keyboards. With Theli, the Swedes had firmly established a reputation of pushing the boundaries of metal in the 90s – among such acts as their compatriots TIAMAT, THE GATHERING, and MOONSPELL that were often referred to as “gothic metal” at the time.
THERION continued to break new ground leaving inspiration for others to follow in their wake: On A’arab Zaraq – Lucid Dreaming (1997), Christofer further explored the use of Middle Eastern music in metal which he had already begun in 1992, while Secret Of The Runes (2001) dared to have Swedish lyrics in some songs. While critics were left confused and fans challenged, THERION were often ahead of their times and vindicated in hindsight. Even the band’s 25th anniversary excursion Les Fleurs Du Mal has by now overcome the initial shock the album caused and is only beaten in terms of streaming by the classic Vovin (1998).
When Christofer faced the question of where to go next after the dramatic Beloved Antichrist (2018) had finally fulfilled his musical mission, his answer is Leviathan named after a giant sea monster from Judeo-Christian myth that has roots in Babylonic lore: THERION have created a giant hit album – and for the first time in the history of the Swedes, their fans are not asked to explore something new, but simply to lean back and enjoy the best from their band!