Total Time: 45:38
Label: Nuclear Blast
When you fulfil 30 years of incredible career with 17 (!!!) studio albums through which you have experimented and played almost anything you could in the sound barriers you are moving, then for sure there aren’t many things left to do and manage to impress your audience. Or this isn’t the case yet?
After “Beloved Antichrist” of 2018, a rock opera that lasted more than 3 hours (my deepest sympathies to the album critics back then), it looks like it was time for the band top simplify things again. According to the last remaining original member and mastermind Christofer johnsson “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.”
Maybe this doesn’t sound really good when you read it, so let’s check exactly what our beloved Swedish artist really means. By pressing the play, “The Leaf Of The Oak Of Far” starts abruptly and loud surprising the listener, but soon the classic operatic elements and vocals enter so all things are normal again. Things are getting interesting with “Tuonela” (just a coincidence) with Marko Hietala (ex NIGHTWISH) as a guest being the first highlight and single of the album, a beautiful and melodic, classic THERION anthem. The album titled track that follows reminded me the older first days when the band started to experiment with all this operatic and orchestrated stuff, showing the never-ending love of Christofer for the marriage of classic music with heavy metal, something that goes on the epic ballad “Die Wellen der Zeit” the follows up and brings to mind battled from the middle ages, forests and fires, particularly shown in the beautiful video that was released recently. Then we get “Azi Dahaka” a song full of influences from the Middle East, alternating male and female vocals etc. but I’m afraid it’s not very interesting, it comes and goes pretty quickly as it last around 3 minutes only. The “Eye of Algol” that comes next is much better, heavier and fulfilling I could say, draws your attention instantly and it’s definitely one more highlight of the album. After that, “Nocturnal Light” goes relentlessly with its orchestra on the back, the male and female vocals plus a pretty slow and melodic tempo makes you feel that it was left out of a rock opera or something, good track but nothing more here. “Great Marquis of Hell” lasts less than 3 minutes and it’s a shame that’s it’s the only one in that style here, I wish we had more like this, classic heavy metal, europower I may say, brought to my mind bands like HELLOWEEN or STRATOVARIUS, do you think that it was just a blast from the past ? After that with “Psalm of Retribution» and «El Primer Sol” I really started to feel boredom but fortunately the closing track “Ten Courts of Diyu” is much better, slow, orchestrated, with Far East influences allover, a very good choice to end in the classic THERION style.
So, after listening to the album a few times, we only need to see if we can answer the question if the band has fulfill their purpose, which was to make an album with “hit songs” as they stated. It’s hard to just say yes or no, the certain thing is that they created an album “compilation”, but with new songs. By using the term “compilation” I mean that they gathered all their influences and those elements that made them a great band through the years, put them all together and presented us a pretty remarkable album that is addressed to their fans of all periods. Except from that, it may sound un usual to say but also “Leviathan” is a record that I could definitely recommend to someone who hasn’t heard the band yet and wants to meet them for the first time. I think this is enough to understand what we are dealing with here, a very good record that is recommended for many pleasant playbacks.
Editor: Antonis Livanios
Related Link: THERION – Official Page