Therion: Orchestration To The Nation
by Martin Popoff

Christofer Johnsson and Therion are riding high on the success of their bold though methodical goal to successfully combine the worlds of classical music and metal. 1998's Vovin shifted 100,000 units in Europe alone, with Japan and the U.S. adding a total somewhere near 25,000. Those numbers indicate that the latter two territories are where Therion might see some expansion room. Still, it's been a fortunate validation of the man's mad mission.

In addition to a new line-up Chris considers to be somewhat permanent, the new record, Deggial, includes in total, an army of metal and classical types of fully 27 musicians, a situation that was affordable by the expanded budget dealt the project based on Vovin's success. Christofer remarks on being a grim metalhead and working with classical types. "The string players are the same ones we used on Vovin, so they are friends. They did the live appearance with us also. So with them, I mean, you can go out for a beer. The singers, I think were about 75 percent the same. It's really funny, because they come up with these spontaneous comments. You can improve this and that. I never asked them for their opinions, but they said some things that really developed my writing. It's nice to hear. It comes from a completely different world. I would say they are very open-minded, and they're also a bit younger. The ones we used on the Theli album, they were much older, from the North German Radio choir; they were about 50. Even though, they were quite open, they come from an old classical-minded culture. Germany is the number one classical market in the world. They have the most opera houses and classical halls in the world. Those that are into it are really proud of this ancient tradition."

Did anybody object to the lyrical content on the record? After all, Deggial is an ancient Arabic god-killer, a mythological being that has been foretold to return and replace god with man, the Nietzchean idea that man and his capabilities mark the highest spiritual form. "I'd say they didn't understand what they were singing. Most people don't. These are quite esoteric subjects. Even me, being a Swede, The Invincible from the prophecies of The Edda, I mean, ask somebody on the street in Stockholm, and they won't have a clue what you're talking about. I mean, everybody knows The Edda is some kind of old book, but nobody is really into it, or knows much about it. And for somebody in Germany, they would be like 'what!?' (laughs)."

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