Released on: 2000-01-31
Classical music combined with heavy guitars is not rare. But while other bands simply start layering a few orchestral tracks on top of their traditional metal brew, THERION mastermind Christofer Johnsson may look back upon a long history of working on his own organic fusion of those genres. The ‘dragon trilogy’ (HO DRAKON HO MEGAS, THELI and VOVIN – each title represents the mythical winged beast in a different language) documents this path towards a unique vision. The myths of old days, the secret sciences of alchemy or cabala are brought to life in more and more refined ways of mixing metallic hymns with the sublime art of classical composers.
DEGGIAL shows THERION arriving at a temporary conclusion (because ‘there is no absolute perfection‘, as Christofer states). Instead of stressing the traditional metal clichees even more by piling some poor imitation of Richard Wagner’s pomp on top, he is showing some more subtle influences. Old-fashioned riffs in the vein of old ACCEPT or SCORPIONS mix happily with grimer guitarwork in the tradition of VOIVOD and CELTIC FROST. This metallic gown is then draped around a structure that is heavily influenced by the greatest operas – Christofer would like it to be understood that his maybe amateurish, but nonetheless impressive attempts on the art of composition are meant as a tribute to the true masters: Guiseppe Verdi, Sergei Rachmaninov... DEGGIAL is his first album not to rely on synthesizers for any of the classical sounds. All instruments are authentic, all in all 27 musicians found their way into Hagen’s famous Woodhouse Studio to record this album, including a full choir, a tenor, strings, brass and woodwinds.
But this shouldn’t imply that the last bit of honest guitarmanship is drowned by the enormous effort that was put into the classical parts. Following the rather introvert VOVIN, Christofer desired a massive and gloriously heavy overall sound. This is not restricted to guitars though: The mighty metal hymn ‘Seven Secrets Of The Sphinx’ that opens the album has as much power as the closing (respectful and authentic) version of Carl Orff’s ‘O Fortuna’ (part of the famous ‘Carmina Burana’) – the latter being mainly classical with just a few gloomy guitars worked into the intricate rhythm of the original. DEGGIAL’s lyrical content mirrors this elaborate, yet more direct approach. Instead of the rather cryptic hints on the metaphysical studies Christofer and his lyric writer Thomas Karlsson perform under the umbrella of ‘Dragon Rouge’, it features clearly understandable journeys to the mystical places of our world. Thus the lyrics open the doors to a way of thinking that anticipates the coming of Deggial, the anti messiah foretold in ancient arabic legends that will free mankind of God to put us in His place.
|Track list||Total runtime|
|1||- Seven secrets||3:35|
|2||- Eternal return||7:10|
|3||- Enter vril-ya||6:38|
|4||- Ship of Luna||6:28|
|5||- The invincible||5:09|
|7||- Emerald crown||5:29|
|8||- The flight of the Lord of Flies||1:22|
|9||- Flesh of the gods||4:06|
|10||- Via nocturna Part I,II||9:33|
|11||- O fortuna||3:22|