Two years after the impressive box set “Celebrators Of Becoming” (4 DVDs and 2 CDs) the Swedes of THERION are back with yet another live set (1 DVD and 2 CDs), a clever move to generate more fans or a dumb one, because they are trying to oversaturate the market? Well, given the fact that the box set was not cheap, another release like this makes sense and also the fact that the set up here is somewhat different might make this a worthy collection to get after all.
I have seen the band live before, on the “Secret Of The Runes” tour, with six choir singers to the left and right of the drum kit and I must say that this does look quite a bit different, far more dynamic, the fact that we only get four singers, which actually are in the middle of the fray on stage makes a big difference and while some of the operatic opulence might have gotten lost a little, the bigger interaction and the a little heavier reliance on the guitars still works very well for the songs, which show a bigger focus on the last few releases, but still also feature some tracks as far back as the legendary “Theli” album. Mainman Christofer Johnsson was supported by Kristian Niemann on guitars (damn, this guy can play!), Johann Niemann on bass and Petter Karlsson on drums, whereas the vocals were handled by Snowy Shaw, Mats Levén, Lori Lewis and Katarina Lilja.
Both the DVDs and the 2 CDs contain 22 tracks overall and I watched the DVD, as we get the best of both worlds here, and I must say that I was amazed! Recorded on February 14, 2007 in Warsaw, Poland, the guys made the full use of the stage, with a visually very appealing setting, an opulent light show and despite spanning eight releases, the flow of the show is brilliant and there is not a single song that could be singled out as being a weak point throughout the 180 minutes of this show. Now who knows THERION knows that the songs are not exactly and straightforward, but the sheer precision that the band and singers perform the compositions is nothing but astounding (of course the orchestra elements come from the computer, but there is a limit to what you can bring on tour with you). For the uninitiated, THERION play the maybe ultimate mix of Metal and classical music, extremely symphonic, heavy yet orchestral, catchy yet technically high standing, go read the other reviews to get an idea what this band is about!
The sound is clear and powerful, the camerawork is excellent, so I do not see any reason whatsoever not to wholeheartedly recommend this collection to any THERION fan or anyone, who would like to become one. On a related bit of news, right now Christofer Johnsson is the band, as all singers and other musicians have left the band, mostly due to difference of opinions concerning the musical future of the band, well, Johnsson has been at a point such as this one many times before and I am sure that he will be able to gather more high-end talent around himself for the future!
(Online August 24, 2008)