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Therion – Beloved Antichrist album review

A Night At The Rock Opera.

For anyone who has ever listened to Wagner’s The Ring Cycle and thought, ‘This is great, but it could be longer and more dramatic’, here’s Therion to set you right. This is a rock opera that doesn’t hold back on the latter part of that equation. Spanning three and a half hours, Beloved Antichrist features 15 different vocalists, each playing at least one character in Christofer Johnsson’s musical adaptation of Vladimir Soloviev’s A Short Tale Of The Antichrist, published in 1900. Symphonic metal singers such as Epica’s Simone Simons bring a classical approach, but everyone has that particular operatic style that is heavy on technique to hit each note perfectly, occasionally sounding stiff and formal. Johnsson might have done well to release this in three separate volumes as consumed all at once it becomes exhausting, and despite the legion of singers, there’s little variation in tone. Johnsson’s arrangements keep everything grand, though. Hail Caesar! drips with pomp and ceremony, while Shoot Them Down is an energised rocker. There’s a strong single album underneath the excess here, but clearly excess is what Johnsson thrives on.