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Yesterday, I reviewed Therion's latest album and mentioned that despite thinking it was great, I preferred their earlier heavier work. An album that sums up this era for me is Beyond Sanctorum, released in 1992, it is the band's second full album and it doesn't get the critical acclaim it deserves, the album has the sheer power of their earlier work with awesome death metal riffs typical of Swedish Death Metal bands in general but it also throws in some of what was to come on the band's later albums, more melodious symphonic stuff and some clean vocals from both Anna Granqvist and Fredrik Lundberg on two tracks.
Gone are the almost punkish themes of violence, death and anti-corporation lyrics, replaced by occult themes such as the Lovecraft influenced "Cthulhu", the band roar through the album with the power and anger displayed by the generally growly vocals, the speed of the drumming and the fast tight guitar riffs but slow down regularly into a dreamier calm, the band sneak in Persian folk elements, something that works well with metal and hadn't been used very often when this album was released.
Symphony of the Dead is the track that typifies the album from my point of view, combining moments of pure power with eerie vocals and melody that makes it feel like a battle at sometimes and a haunted forest where a hideous crime has been taken place at another.
Something noticeable on this album and it may be to do with the producing is that the vocals sound slightly distanced and remind me of the major enemy in a futuristic war game, it's a great touch and adds a nice element to the album.
It still sounds superb 18 years on, at the time of release it was groundbreaking melodic death metal.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Future Consciousness
2 Pandemonic Outbreak
4 Symphony Of The Dead
5 Beyond Sanctorum
6 Enter The Depths Of Eternal Darkness
7 Illusions Of Life
8 The Way
10 Tyrants Of The Damned
11 Cthulhu (Demo Version)
12 Future Consciousness (Demo Version)
13 Symphony Of The Dead (Demo Version)
14 Beyond Sanctorum (Demo Version)