Sirius B/Lemuria (Nuclear Blast)
by Martin Popoff
I hesitate to call this a plush, elegant, yet headbanging Therion set, two albums packaged as one, given the flow between the two musically, graphically, and even lyrically, each being a collection of tracks that spans the globe for spiritual, paranormal, and mythic disciplines to the point of offering a track in German plus fragments of both Spanish and Russian. With all sorts of hugely symphonic and choir-blessed folk/prog passages, and plainly chugging metal bits (loaded up with those same classical elements), Sirius B/Lemuria holds one’s attention throughout, the listener marveling in the background at the expense and effort it must’ve taken to pull this off. Another nice touch is the multi-dimensional male vocal presentation between lead Therian Christofer Johnsson (a bit o’ death!), Mats Leven (rough, distinct, thespian), and Piotr Wawrzeniuk (hilariously, intriguingly old school Swedish, like 800 AD old school). With all this, surprises routinely pop up, armchair quarterbacking the choices made by Christofer becoming a productive and entertaining game as we move from one lost world to another progressively, timelessly, in metal, in a community of musical voices across decades and disciplines, border-crossings and slippages through reality into fantasy. In summary, this is Therion’s most accessible, mid-paced, expensive-sounding, progressive album(s), the two-fer offering 100 minutes of kaleidoscopic myth-mad metal that dares to merge disciplines as only the long-reigning master can.