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Therion - Deggial (Reissue)

Therion
Deggial (Reissue)
by David Hough at 28 October 2022, 7:13 AM

Deggial” was released in the year 2000, and it is THERION’s ninth full-length. Like their album, “Theli,” Cristofer Johnsson is accompanied by four other members. Unlike “Theli,” this lineup is completely different. I have reviewed two of THERION’s reissues, and both left a lot to be desired. Let’s dive into “Deggial” and see how it fares. The first track of note is “Eternal Return.” This one is standard early THERION fare. It has choirs of vocals, both male and female; the hook could be considered metal in some circles, and there are several string instrument sections. There is a metal interlude that weaves in and out of the song’s closing, and they even bring along some galloping triplets to close the song out. Unfortunately, there is very little aggression, and the metal elements are too few and far between, especially for a seven-minute song.

Then there’s “Enter Vril-Ya,” the next track. It starts out with a metal passage that quickly devolves into alternating operatic choir vocals. I also felt like this track could benefit from having longer parts with a singular vocalist. Nearly every word sung has a choir effect added in. Ultimately, this track failed to hold my interest. The lead guitar solo is captivating, but it has such a small part that it feels too little, too late. “Ship Of Luna” is more of the same. The introduction is symphonic and gives the impression that it’s building up towards something. After the build, the song changes entirely into a prog-rock passage that isn’t interesting. They add a lead guitar solo to inject some metal into the song, but everything soon returns to operatic/symphonic form. There is another metal build-up that ends with the same symphonic introductory melody instead of a boisterous metal crescendo.

The Invincible” is no different. There are slightly more metal elements added to the mix, but the song progresses slowly. There are triplets, but they are played slowly. There are plenty of things to love if you are into operatic and symphonic music. Still, I find it hard to see how THERION has managed to stay relevant enough to continue releasing and making albums. Hands down, the most fun track on “Deggial” is “Flesh Of The Gods” this is largely due to guest vocals by none other than Hansi Kürsch from BLIND GUARDIAN. This was a surprise to me. That has to be why this song is one hundred percent power metal from start to finish. It is actually the inverse of the formula on every other track on “Deggial.” This is mostly a metal song with symphonic accents. It would not sound out of place on any of BLIND GUARDIAN’s albums.

For “Via Nocturna,” they used every part of their symphonic kit. The song starts with a pipe organ solo, then a nice distorted guitar piece joins the mix. That is followed by Sami Karppinen playing a marching beat. Then comes the flute, recorder, tuba, etc. This track is so dynamic that I enjoyed listening to it. It has about as much metal as most of the other tracks, but this track actually goes somewhere. I didn’t even mind the alternating male and female choir vocals. If every track on this album were like “Via Nocturna” and “Flesh Of The Gods,” I would have enjoyed the album a lot more than I did.

I completely understand that THERION has a place amongst metal royalty. They just don’t do it for me as more aggressive music does. I wanted to like this album and went in with an open mind. It’s just the lack of traditional metal elements leaves me wanting more. “Via Nocturna” is epic and varied enough to hold my interest, and “Flesh Of The Gods,” with its pure power metal approach, had me enthralled. I wish I could say that about the rest of the album.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Seven Secrets of the Sphinx
2. Eternal Return
3. Enter Vril-Ya
4. Ship of Luna
5. The Invincible
6. Deggial
7. Emerald Crown
8. The Flight of the Lord of Flies
9. Flesh of the Gods
10. Via Nocturna (Part 1 and 2)
11. O Fortuna (Carl Orff Cover)
Lineup:
Christofer Johnsson - Guitars, Keyboards, Songwriting
Sami Karppinen - Drums
Kristian Niemann  - Guitars
Johan Niemann - Bass
Record Label: Hammerheart Records
     


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