I saw Therion perform in Tilburg last year and, for the time I didn't find myself gazing at the preternaturally beautiful auburn hair of female fellow attendant in front of me, I was most impressed. It was a superb show, especially considering the presence of merely three guys and three ladies in the choral section. Be that as it may, Nuclear Blast have now released the perfect your souvenir in the form of "Live in Midgard", a double CD culled from a variety of performances throughout the world the past year.

In the studio, Therion tracks are always made to sound really full of sound, with plenty of classical arrangements going on and a lot of classical instruments. It's interesting to conclude that, most of the time, the band manage to pull it all off with a much smaller cast of players. Granted, you do miss the grandeur of classical instruments in tracks like "Invocation of Naamah". In general, however, they manage to pull it off extremely well. "The Raven of Dispersion" sounds remarkably complete sonically, even though the female solo vocals seem to falter a bit here and there. I understand Therion have performed with a full orchestra a few times, and I would love to have had a recording of that. Still, one can't complain with the obvious talent of these musicians and singers shining on almost every track. Especially "In the Desert of Set" and "Asgard" sound like they have at least a few dozen capable singers on stage with them. Amazing.

Remarkable, or at least as remarkable as it was during the tour, is the presence of a lot of their older tracks. You get "Riders of Theli", "Symphony of the Dead", "A Black Rose" and "The Return". It seems like it's almost an entirely different band, but they're interesting to hear nonetheless.

Except for the slight faltering of the female vocalists voice in "The Raven in Dispersion" and the presence of the immaculately performed but superfluously sounding "Seawinds" (which is probably a matter of taste) there is nothing negative to say about "Live in Midgard". Well, I'd love to have had "Balls to the Wall" on here as well, but isn't it written that "You Can't Have Everything"?



Written November 2002


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