Some might wonder why it has taken me so long to bring this review online, but I just didn't want to review a CD that has only two full tracks, while the rest has been faded out. Well, now I have the full album, in a noble, embossed DigiPak and with two bonus-tracks, now that was worth the wait, wasn't it?
After the two previous albums "Vovin" and "Deggial" had featured some reduced heaviness in the guitar-department, the band around mastermind Christofer Johnsson now is fishing in some heavier waters again, not reaching the intensity and furiousness of "Theli", but I don't think that they even want to reach that one. Instead they have concentrated on making the arrangement even rounder and more to the point than ever.
And they truly have succeeded in this endeavour, because THERION never have sounded this compact and round than on "Secrets Of The Runes". Connected by a concept about the Nordic trilogy the songs form a variable journey through just this, in different languages, Swedish, English, German...
There is hardly any solo-singing, but the majority of the songs lives off the choirs, where especially the male choirs create a so very dense and intense atmosphere that you can hardly elude. For some this, along with the classical elements, might be a little kitsch, but if you advance openly, then you will realise which brilliant arrangements Master Johnsson once more has created.
If you just listen to the opener "Ginnungagap", "Midgård" or the German-lyric "Schwarzalbenheim", then you quickly realise the compository class of THERION. Heavy guitars meet a whole armada of classical instruments, above which multi-voiced choirs duel and walk hand in hand with a dreamlike ease over the path that the music has formed.
Oh, yes, the two bonus-tracks... "Crying Days" by the SCORPIONS and "Summernight City" by ABBA are offered to us, two cover-versions in the THERION-style, which always is something very appealing. The SCORPIONS-one is not bad, but nothing really exciting, while the ABBA-version is very good, you'd never think it is ABBA, if you didn't know...
And you also get something more, something that you only very rarely get these days: absolute originality, because I know of no other band that sounds like THERION! Even though they have not reached "Theli" (I doubt that they ever will again), so "Secret Of The Runes" undoubtedly is an album that every open-minded Metalian should at least have heard!