Therion- Leviathan II Review

Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden symphonic metal mastermind Christofer Johnsson
along with the current line-up of Therion— consisting of Nalle Påhlsson onbass, Christian Vidal
on lead guitar, & vocal wizardry by (well, as in predominantly the “main” two vocalists— as there
are of course about a dozen other folks involved for the many choir parts!) Thomas Vikström
(also on keyboard!) & Lori Lewis— have recently finished the follow up to last years Leviathan
with yup you guessed it, the rather appropriately titled Leviathan II – and the results do not

With eleven tracks clocking in just barely over 45 minutes — the album starts rather
appropriately with all of the bands sonic trademarks present within the very first minute of the
opening track, “Aeon of Maat” — rich layered melodic choir lines are ever present (a signature
the band gradually morphed into around roughly the time of the Theli album— which has
remained intact ever since) with perfect brief pinches of shredding guitar lines paired with the
vocal interplay between Lewis and Vikström (a call and response-like feel) that makes for a very
powerful beginning from the get-go!

It’s the second track in though, “Litany of the Fallen” that could quite possibly be the most
memorable tune on the album (and with good reason, one can certainly hear and understand
why they chose this to be the single released 5 months in advance before the rest of the album!)
with it’s cinematic-like flourishing choir vocals at the beginning, then cutting the beat between
sections with the male vocals taking a brief front seat; creating a calm-before-the-storm effect
before then uplifting into the hook being backed by a supportive & blazing organ!

Leviathan II contains plenty of moments for longterm fans of the band to connect with:
the calm verses of “Alchemy of the Soul” along recall the vocal stylings of previous efforts like
the chorus on “The Blood Of Kingu” from Sirius B and it’s harmonized guitar melodic lines
between the vocal sections create for an interesting calmer third tune into the album. Then this
peaceful moment continues with the entering of the pizzicato strings before Lewis’s shining lead
vocal shines on “Lunar Coloured Fields” before the album revamps the tempo and energy with
“Lucifuge Rofocale” sporting its galloping guitar rhythm, growling monstrous vocal, & arpeggio
guitar leads.

“Marijiin Min Nap” has an introduction with a familiarity to it that hints at previous albums
like Sitra Ahra and launches into one of the most memorable guitar instrumental hooks on the
album with its dual harmonized attack before the tail end of the tune allows lead guitarist
Christian Vidal to strut his fretboard gymnastics! An interesting change of gears happens on
Leviathan II as this then heads into “Hades and Elyysium” with it’s twinkling keyboard line under
the soaring vocals; it’s qualities are very open and create a lightness to contrast with the energy
on Hades.

“Midnight Star” re-shifts the mood to chugging guitar, tempo changes, tribal-like tom drum
work layered with organ melodic flare. It’s glass shattering operatic female vocals are coupled
with male choir; the song also allows for a spot-light moment for Thomas Vikström. The
arpeggiated soft tremolo guitar with the low male choir vocals in Midnight brings to mind a
similar moment from the bands past tune, “Arrows of the Sun” and the song interestingly ends in
an almost film score fashion with the brief accordion melody and pulsing rhythmic piano chords

“Cavern As Cold As Ice” has a shimmering chorus with as close to pop as Therion may
have ever been (of course that crushing guitar to follow it would argue otherwise!) combined
with a rip-roaring guitar solo before bringing the song to an end; the catchiness to “Cavern As
Cold As Ice” is a very surprising moment in the context of where it happens on the album & witha hook so strong that Top 40 pop songwriters are probably kicking themselves with “I wish I had thought of that!”

As the album starts to end, “Codex Gigas” keyboard sprinkles in a theremin-like effect
and the lead vocal of Vikström commands your attention in this song as it rolls into the album
closer “Pazuzu”— which for a closing track on an album, could stand just as well on it’s own twofeet as a single with it’s pre-chorus vocal harmony tag before lifting off into a grandiose choir-lead chorus.

Leviathan II is a very strong follow up to the previous record— rather you were stumbling
on Therion for the very first time or a dedicated diehard fan, the album is full of melody, just the
right touch of virtuosic instrumentation, crushing riffs, and memorable hooks to please listeners
both old and new. Not only has the band succeeded in following up the first Leviathan, but
they’ve also now simultaneously set the bar quite high for what the third installment will contain,
which would make you wonder: can they possibly outdo themselves again?

Overal Score 8/10

Review by Miles Hoyle


We are an extreme metal site that focuses on reviews and interviews with bands all over the world! The more obscure, unknown and different, the better!

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