|Review: Therion - Secret of the Runes|
|Secret of the Runes|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2001
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: September 25, 2002
Reviewed by: Steel Warrior
for:Secret of the Runes
Rated 4.1/5 (82%) (30 Votes)
Upper class people often say that classical music and opera are the elite of all musical arts, and thus incomparable to all other musical genres. So, if you have enough guts to tell Mrs. Tipper Gore that a mix of Vivaldi, Beethoven and Camilla Burana with heavy metal music would sound awesome, for sure she will yell at your face before fainting and convulsing. Since Metal Music is perceived to be so "mundane and vulgar" that pretending it to be married with classical music and opera would thus give birth to the worst of all bastard children.
This marriage of metal with classical music/opera has been the recipe of all Therion albums since their groundbreaking 1992 release "Symphony of Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas". And with their latest release, "Secret of the Runes", another bastard child of truly evil and huge proportions had been born. On "Secret of the Runes", Therion continued with the successful formula of year 2000 masterpiece "Deggial" employing the heavy 80’s Maiden guitar riffs and melodies surrounded by sopranos, tenors, and monumental choirs and classical music passages.
Besides their music, another thing that impresses about Therion is their lyrical concepts. The concept of "Secret of the Runes" is based on ancient Nordic tradition. In this tradition exists a world tree called Yggrasil. This tree consists of nine worlds on which the album is focused on and each song describes each of the worlds. The word "rune" (or "runa" as it is called in Swedish) means "secret", and therefore the meaning of the title is "The Secret of the Secrets." The secret hidden in the concept of runes is that they are more than just letters to be used in writing; they are also magical signs that each has an esoteric meaning. Runes have existed in various forms and in different traditions.
About the music on this album, there is not much to say, just only one word: Monumental!!! As on "Deggial", classical arrangements this time are also Wagner influenced. And the fact that Wagner themes were also based on Nordic tradition, the overall result of lyrics and arrangements on "Secret of the Runes" surpass the epic proportions. Also, the album was mixed at famous Finnvox Studios, giving the overall sound, specially the drumming, a heavy compact feeling. So if you are tired of the typical "verse-bridge-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus-solo-chorus" format and consider yourself enough open minded, Therion is the perfect choice. "Secret of the Runes" will take your hand and will make you join a ride through the mystic and dark lands of the most hidden parts of your mind. A monumental release from a truly monumental band. Enjoy.
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Interview with Christofer Johnsson (Guitar) on February 22, 2003 (Interviewed by Barbara Williams (Crowley))
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