Therion's new release, "Vovin", has more in common with Cradle's "Cruelty and the Beast" than just the same approximate date of release and their making use of the vocal talents of Sarah Jezibel Diva. For "Vovin", too, expecations - at least mine - were perched incredibly high. "Theli" had arguably been a master stroke of genius, and those who like that album expected more of the same - or better.

Johansson's new mindchild is, thus is revealed upon the first listen, quite a bit less heavy than "Theli". Where Dan Swano took care of the vocals on its predecessor, "Vovin" features mostly choral or female vocals (the latter by women like Martina "Dreams of Sanity" Hornbacher and, indeed Sarah J.D.). Only one song, "The Wild Hunt", has male vocals; Ralf "Primal Fear" Scheepers takes care of the honours here and with it performs a rite of destruction on an otherwise fine song. No, "Vovin" is primarily a more quiet and obscenely beautiful album where solid walls of guitar get accompanied by plenty of orchestration. And it's available in a well-designed digipak version as well.

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Written July 1998


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