Celebrators of Becoming (Nuclear Blast)
by Mike Delano
How you feel about Therion depends largely on your tolerance for hugely melodramatic, pretentious opera metal. Not just your average metal fan’s DNA-encoded tolerance for Dio’s dragon-slaying shtick, or even the chain mail-wearing cheese of Hammerfall, this is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink pile of styles, from Maiden-worshipping riffery (their biggest influence, admitted or not) to Priest’s straightforward swagger, all coated with a heavy dose of broadsword-swinging Euro power metal (operatic female vocals, delivered in full medieval regalia, most certainly included).
Such an insanely busy sound at least means that Therion is never boring. If one style rubs you the wrong way, just ride it out: The odds are good the band will call up a few more before the song’s over. The band has skills to spare, but while they all have the chops to pull off their grab-bag metal, they sacrifice personality for the sake of their all-things-all-the-time-approach.
Even so, it’s hard to imagine a better way to experience Therion than this six-disc box set. Hardcore fans will eat up the thorough, professionally-shot 23-song “Live in Mexico City” DVD as well as the accompanying pair of audio discs. Add to that an additional three DVDs of various live footage, studio reports, sound checks, and video clips, and it’s enough to make you spit out your mead. And while the overabundance of material on Celebrators of Becoming might seem like a turnoff to those with just a passing interest in Therion, it’s actually the best way for newbies to get acquainted with the band. Rather than slogging through their entire discography or trying to find one disc that encapsulates all that the band is about (doesn’t exist), the wealth of material here is easily navigable and a great overview of a band for whom six discs seems like just the beginning.