Having recently purchased the 2014 remastered and expanded edition, I have fallen under the spell of the mighty THERION with their landmark album THELI. This album has become one of the greatest representations of just how well a death metal band can retain the pummeling ferocity of their roots while totally integrating the symphonic tenderness of classical music and the pompousness of classical opera, thus in effect totally reinventing itself without losing what came before. After all, their very name THERION is a Greek word for “beast,” and on this album THELI, which is the name of the great dragon in the ancient Jewish scripts of the Sefer Yetzirah, the band developed a totally new sound and although it can be a recipe that more often fails than triumphs, in THELI's case I would have to say it is an outstanding victory.
I think the reason why this whole thing works so well is because the band members didn't have the audacity to perform and create every new aspect of this music themselves. They incorporated a whole host of different players including not one but two choirs.... the North German Radio Choir and the Siren Choir. In addition to this we also get Dan Swano of Edge Of Santiy lending some guest vocals and many, many keyboardists covering a whole spectrum of sounds ranging from grand piano to symphonic progressive runs. Another wise decision was to incorporate the lyrical contributions of Thomas Karlsson as the sole writer of lyrics to provide the album with the esoteric feel that were derived from his mystical order called the Dragon Rouge. He would continue to be the lyricist from this point on.
On the remastered version we also get three bonus tracks, none of which are essential but pleasant as well as a DVD with the entirety of the album performed live in Budapest in 2007. A grand testimony to the efforts and ingenuity that went into the creation of this musical behemoth that hasn't aged badly at all and album that I love to listen to on regular basis. Mmmmmagnificent!