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4.14 | 39 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1998

Filed under Symphonic Metal


1. The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah (6:45)
2. Birth of Venus Illegitima (5:15)
3. Wine of Aluqah (5:04)
4. Clavicula Nox (8:50)
5. The Wild Hunt (3:49)
6. Eye of Shiva (6:19)
7. Black Sun (5:10)
8. Draconian Trilogy, Part 1: The Opening (1:28)
9. Draconian Trilogy, Part 2: Morning Star (3:34)
10. Draconian Trilogy, Part 3: Black Diamonds (2:58)
11. Raven of Dispersion (5:57)

Total Time: 55:15


- Christofer Johnsson / Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
- Tommy Eriksson / Guitars
- Wolf Simon / Drums

- Javier Zapater / Vocals (Bass)
- Jochen Bauer / Vocals (Bass)
- Heike Haushalter / Violin
- Monika Malek / Viola
- Gesa Hansen / Cello
- Alois Kott / Double bass, Contrabass
- Petra Stalz / Violin
- Jan Kazda / Conductor (Orchestra & Choir), Bass
- Max Cilotek / Vocals (Tenor)
- Gregor Dippel / Vocals (Tenor)
- Anne Tributh / Vocals (Alto)
- Waldemar Sorychta / Guitars (Additional)
- Siggi Bemm / Guitars (Additional)
- Lorentz Aspen / Hammond Organ ( Tracks 8, 9 & 10)
- Ralf Scheepers / Vocals (Lead) (Track 5)
- Martina Hornbacher / Vocals (Soprano), Vocals (Alto, Solo & Duet)
- Sarah Jezebel Deva / Vocals (Soprano), Vocals (Alto, Solo & Duet)
- Eileen Küpper / Vocals (Soprano)
- Angelica Martz / Vocals (Soprano)
- Dorothee Fischer / Vocals (Alto)

About this release

Released by Nuclear Blast, May 4th, 1998

Thanks to DippoMagoo, UMUR for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
THERION emerged from the cauldrons of the extreme world of death metal in its early beginnings and then slowly transmogrified itself incrementally through a series of early albums that resulted into the complete blossoming of an entire new category in the metal universe now tagged as symphonic metal. With its 5th album “Theli,” THERION went for the gusto by adding two massive choirs to the metal instrumentation of guitar, bass drums and keyboards and along with some classical programming and epic compositions to paint their musical canvas upon, a new style of metal swept the globe and put THERION on the map. While many metal bands have tried to duplicate this feat including Metallica’s disaster “S&M,” nobody has done this sort of musical Frankenstein better than THERION.

With a massive tour and a robust work schedule to craft such lofty visions, the pressure found many of the musicians jumping ship leaving founder and band leader Christofer Johnsson to once again pick up the pieces and reinvent his baby with a whole new collection of hand picked musicians to bring his ambitious cross-pollinating musical visions come into fruition. To fill the gap and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the band’s formation as well as the obvious cash run, THERION released the album “A’arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming” which contained leftovers from “Theli,” a few cover tunes and the non-metal soundtrack for Johnsson’s own crafted indie film. While chock full of interesting musical gems, this was a mere supplemental stop on the THERION highway.

As the sole captain of the ship, Johnsson admits that when crafting the next true release VOVIN, he basically wrote it as a solo artist and merely employed the musicians to record however as the sole songwriter for past albums it is just one of many cases where a single member of a band is actually the true brains behind the project but with the band leaving every album or two it becomes more public and undeniable. VOVIN pretty much continues down the path laid down by “Theli,” in this case meaning eleven tracks mixing the expected heavy metal bombast with the symphonic classical instrumentation and choirs. Although basically a solo project in the development process, VOVIN hosts eight guest musicians, another eight members of the choir and still five more members of the Indigo Orchestra who adapted the orchestration.

Thematically, VOVIN follows the interests of Johnsson’s fascination with the occult and is more evident once you learn that VOVIN means dragon in the Enochian language which is a language used in the occult and was known to be the language of choice in the journals of John Dee who was a magician at the side of Queen Elizabeth I. In many ways VOVIN takes the THERION sound laid out on “Theli” to its logical conclusion with no expenses spared to craft a lush epic sound that finds the simplicity of classically infused melodies spun into sophisticated orchestrated splendor. The major difference in terms of sound between “Theli” and VOVIN is that the former was much more energetic by delivering those famous Iron Maiden inspired guitar gallops while VOVIN is a much mellower affair slowly drifting by on simmer for most of its running time with feisty metal bombast only occasionally finding its way into the mix such as on “Wine Of Aluqah” and “The Wild Hunt,” the latter of which is on full speed metal mode.

Despite the large number of participants on VOVIN it surprisingly sounds sparse and never for once feels like there are too many chefs in the kitchen. While engaging in sophisticated classical grandeur, THERION crafts a sound that finds many of the moving parts in unison with subtle harmonic overtones that create a much larger than life sound rather than engaging in knotty polyrhythms or angular avant-garde excesses. For all the excesses of sound, VOVIN is a very smooth sounding album where each microcosm is an extension of the next and although the metal bombast is set to simmer for the most part, even in the lushest softness of the acoustic guitar arpeggio led segments, the vocals are led by the soprano divas Martina Hombacher and Sarah Jezebel Deva whereas the vast number of others follow suit. A few tracks like “Mourning Star” and “Black Diamond” are pure magic.

Overall VOVIN is a strong album with no bad tracks however it’s the lack of metal heft that leaves this one sounding a bit too mellow for its own good. While “Theli” cranked out all the metal fury, VOVIN is set on a more laid back tone and also has more of a gothic feel to it rather than any connection to the death metal roots or even the classic 80s metal sounds of Judas Priest or Iron Maiden with the exception of a few tracks. For that reason this one just doesn’t rock my boat like the albums that bookmark it. Still though, VOVIN delivers a stellar cast of seasoned performers who craft an interesting network of metal / classical fusion sounds into easily digestible catchy hooks and after all it’s the vocal choirs of THERION that really shine and on VOVIN that is no exception. It’s just that with a title that refers to a dragon i’d expect a bit more fire striking fear into the populace below but with the lack of the metallic fury as heard on “Theli” this one sounds a bit too safe for the majority of its run. Still though, other than that slight gripe, VOVIN is a strong instantly lovable album. Think of “Theli” as metal triumphs over opera and VOVIN as the exact opposite.
Having fully blossomed on Lepaca Kliffoth and Theli, Therion then hit a transitional phase as they drained their music of its former death metal influences and worked to put in a more gothic foundation for their particular brand of symphonic metal. The end result is an album I can't help but find less immediately arresting than its two predecessors, though it's a competent enough job and when it does work it's an interesting continuation of this particular musical direction. Still, I can't help but feel that underneath the undeniable polish Vovin is just a bit more vapid than the preceding albums, relying slightly too much on orchestral pretensions without bringing sufficiently meaty material to the table to justify them.
Therion had one more great work in them before they turned into a metal muzak producing unit, While Theli marked the end of their creative progression, Vovin is a solid confirmation of their quality standards. Even though the music is very straightforward, the huge symphonic arrangements, operatic voices and pleasant melodies could easily win over many prog-heads.

While every song is most pleasant, the continuous slow place and generic approach bogs down the effect somewhat. The Wild Hunt is the only up-tempo track that stirs things up a bit. Another weakness is that it is really too sweet and smooth all the way through. It's sure done tastefully, neither kitschy nor excessive (which is quite an achievement in this style), but sometimes I'd really like to kick their butt hoping they would put a bit more adventure in their work.

Therion used to be a unique and ground-breaking metal act in the 90's. Vovin easily proves that. But I used to be more overwhelmed by it at the time it came out. Since then it hasn't survived repeated critical listens all that well, I only play it occasionally now.

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