Therion - Vovin
Nuclear Blast
Symphonic Metal
11 songs (52'10'')
Release year: 1998
Therion, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jared

If you started to listen to Therion from 1996 and on, you would hardly believe where they sat genre-wise five years ago. The symphonic metal powerhouse they are known as today completely obliterates the death metal style they were in the past and leaves many bands who attempt this genre left in the dust. The album Vovin was probably one of the most exciting discoveries in metal for me when I was younger. Believe it or not, I grew up only listening to a lot of orchestrated pieces, especially centered on big time movie composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer. As nerdy and unlikely as that may sound, I did associate myself with bands such as AC/DC and ZZ Top which were introduced to me by my father. However, none of them ever hit a home run with me. I would have to say Rammstein’s Mutter first propelled me into the metal scene because of the song Mein Herz Brennt which had some clear symphonic influences that immediately caught my attention. A few years later I made the unearthing of Vovin. For me, it was a match made in heaven as some might say. Taking an astonishing orchestra, epic choirs, and ambitious metal into the mix, Vovin to this day constantly impresses me with its flawless musicianship and creative motive.

Much of the creative motive for this beautifully grasped symphonic album was happening two years prior. Therion’s album Theli was a turning point for the band in which the left behind much of their death metal roots to establish a newer sound. Theli could be argued as a classic as well, as it is historically a huge change and risk that the band had decided to journey through. Theli was only the beginning. The album dipped its fingers into the use of choirs and relied heavily on symphonic keyboards while still keeping a small amount of death metal alive. Vovin was written and recorded at a much grander scale. Of course upon discovering this album I had one hell of a time finding anyone who would appreciate such a grandiose piece. It wasn’t until I took a college course in music and gave a presentation on the great band itself that someone finally took interest.

Vovin is the grandest form of symphonic metal I have ever heard. The opening, The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah, enters with pure orchestra. The first time I listened I couldn’t help to ask myself the question, is this really metal? Once the intro was decorated with a heavy toned guitar, I was immediately sold and enthralled. The song had a rather galloping rhythm accompanied by a most robust choir. It’s quite repetitive, but done correctly. It’s the only song on the entire album that focuses on the repetitive formula. All the songs are beautifully crafted and very thought-out pieces. It’s hard to imagine the time, effort, and creative energy that drove this work to its completion.

Vovin thrives to be a metal album, but presents itself as being something more. Of course there are many riffs that chug along with the orchestra, but acoustic guitars serenade many of the songs and clean guitar parts almost sound as pure and majestic as any cello and violin that is played on the album. The guitar solos are also not to be overlooked. All of them have a clear classical influence. If Beethoven or Mozart were alive today, they would probably have no problem throwing up the horns to many of the solos. Ridiculous as that may sound; I have noticed this album’s popularity among an older crowd in my experience. It’s much easier to present to others due to its sophisticated manner.

The choir on Vovin is most spectacular. The singing of the choir is mainly concentrated on an operatic style. Occasionally, it’s not uncommon to hear a single soprano deliver what they do best. There are times where the choir can feel uplifting and truly marvelous at the magnificent scale, but there are also times where the music will take a darker approach in terms of voice. Black Sun, one of my favorite tracks, opens with an exceptional keyboard introduction and then delves straight into a classically haunting choir. The choir rightly is the highlight of the album for me. Although the entire album is done so well at every corner, nothing beats the commanding presence the choir portrays.

Vovin is a constant reminder to me why metal truly is the greatest music today. Metal artists constantly bring so much innovation and talent to music that it’s hard for me not to refer to some of the great metal musicians as “the Mozarts” of this generation. It’s easy for me to say but for people who only know metal as being “the devil’s music” or the reason for the loss of ethics in the world’s youth, they might exceedingly disapprove. On behalf of anyone who ever told you that metal is unsophisticated, play Vovin for them. It is truly a marvel.

Killing Songs :
Jared quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Therion that we have reviewed:
Therion - Leviathan II reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
Therion - Leviathan reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Therion - Beloved Antichrist reviewed by Goat and quoted 30 / 100
Therion - Les Fleurs du Mal reviewed by Olivier and quoted no quote
Therion - Of Darkness.... reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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