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Review: Therion - Gothic Kabbalah
Gothic Kabbalah

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2007
Duration: 85:17
Tracks: 15
Genre: Epic/Symphonic Progressive Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: January 24, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Gothic Kabbalah

Rated 3.48/5 (69.66%) (29 Votes)

After the double albums Lemuria and Sirius B back in 2004, I began to wonder if Christofer Johnsson had any limits to his ego at all, and now I know he doesn't. He's like the James Cameron of metal: he demands more from his label and his fans than anybody else, but he has too much talent and genius to just ignore him. No matter how bloated and overdone his music seems to get, it's too good to dismiss. Gothic Kabbalah is the 11th full-length in Therion's long and extremely varied discography. By now everyone knows that only their early albums were Death Metal, and now Therion occupy their own country, and nobody else really sounds like them. Indeed Johnsson's refusal to be confined by genres is what has made this band's career both delightful and frustrating.

Like all recent Therion releases, Gothic Kabbalah is very hard to categorize. It's very melodic and in places very heavy. The lack of a single vocalist adds to this confusion, as once again Therion use choirs, sopranos, and clean vocals (largely provided by Snowy Shaw!) in a kaleidoscope of sound and inflection and mood. Also like all recent Therion releases, it goes on too long, and could have been cut by about a third. There are some very strong pieces on this album, like the opener "Der Mitternachtlowe", the title track, the rocking "Son Of The Staves Of Time"…I could go on quite a bit, as there is a lot of music on this album, and some of it is excellent. But as usual, throwing this much paint at the wall, not all of it sticks, and I have to say I think Johnsson's major failing as a songwriter is that there is no one handy to tell him "enough already". But still, the only real abortion here is the dreadful David Bowie-ish breakdown that spoils the otherwise decent "Wand Of Abaris".

Gothic Kabbalah is a good album, and fans of Therion's recent works will enjoy it, but it could easily have been cut down from a good 85-minute album to a really excellent 50-minute album. More is not always better, and this album would be much stronger if somebody had tightened it up a little. Another impressive album from Therion, but if nobody reins in next time, we'll soon be staring down the barrel of a 3-disc album, and that kind of scares me.

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Interview with Christofer Johnsson (Guitar) on February 22, 2003 (Interviewed by Barbara Williams (Crowley))
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