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Therion - Beloved Antichrist album review

Symphonic Swedes unveil a rock opera extravagance writ large

Cover art for Therion - Beloved Antichrist album

Everyone knows rock operas should be grandiose and overblown, but even by the epic standards of such beasts, Beloved Antichrist is massive, ambitious and pompous – in the best possible sense. Inspired by Russian mystic Vladimir Soloviev’s 1900 story, A Short Tale Of The Antichrist, which foretells of religious intolerance leading to the rise of the Antichrist, this is a work Therion mainman Christofer Johnsson has been fermenting for three decades. Now, spread across three and a half hours, it has 29 vocalists and a vast choir to bring his vision to life, those voices woven into a tapestry melding metal power with classical majesty. The scope and scale of this undertaking is awesome. The uplifting yet forbidding music escalates to crescendos, then temporarily dips before rising towards the monumental climax. A work of beauty and fear, befitting the story it relates.