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Therion: Les Fleurs Du Mal

Symphonic Swedes go overboard on operatics

Nightwish did it with movie ballads and now Therion are pushing the cheese-ometer up to 11. Les Fleurs Du Mal is pure ear-wormery. We’re talking 15 reworked classic French pop songs that have been embraced by a title that comes from a controversial, 150-year-old poetry anthology. Wait, come back!

Despite what you might be thinking, this album is seriously addictive and really lives up to the Swedish band’s high standards. Bold and unashamedly brash, Les Fleurs Du Mal is an operatic power-metal project to beat all others. Admittedly, not all of the band were entirely convinced by it – vocalist Snowy Shaw only pops up on two songs – and the collective’s metal label Nuclear Blast chose not to release it, fearing that these bombastic reworkings would be too much of an acquired taste. And they weren’t wrong.

Opening with Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son, Therion lift the ludicrous 60s Eurovision winner to new heights of campness with beefy guitars and Lori Lewis’s soprano vocals. Short but explosive songs are reinterpreted with the band’s trademark melancholy and it’s all been carefully tweaked by legendary remixer Stefan Glaumann (Rammstein/Apocalyptica).

Les Fleurs Du Mal is a crazy concept but it’s paid off – this is a superbly executed album that’s a must for all fans of operatic metal.

Natasha Scharf

Dark prog (and chocolate) fan Natasha has been a Prog regular since 2009. News Editor between 2014 and 2019, now Deputy Editor, she is the only member of the team to have appeared on Prog's cover.