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Therion – Les Fleurs Du Mal

Mastermind Christofer Johnsson needed something truly special to celebrate Therion’s 25th anniversary rather than a boring greatest hits album. Despite the fact that many will think that a collection of covers of old French pop chansons might be an odd choice, the release of “Les Fleurs Du Mal” is an extremely exciting choice. Because this album will be controversial regardless of its incredible musical quality, the connection with Baudelaire’s notoriously forbidden poem seems appropriate. Considering how the metal scene tends to have stubborn and redundant musical boundaries, it is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to listen to something completely different.

While the main melodies of the original songs are perfectly recognizable, Therion delivers a very personal interpretation in symphonic/gothic metal style.

“Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son” (available in two versions) has a very energetic rhythm and a memorable melody emphasized by a majestic symphonic approach. Of course, Lori Lewis’s flawless performance is the main focus here and on several other tracks such as the decadently sweet “Soer Angelique”.

“Une Fleur Dans Le Coeur” is a semi ballad with a more dramatic approach and melancholic orchestrations.

“Initials BB” is simply addictive with intriguing sexy vocals and an intense French poetic attitude. There is a goth rock atmosphere but also a constant groove that makes this track very danceable.

“Mon Amour, Mon Ami” is a bittersweet romantic melodic piece. The vocals, particularly dramatic towards the end, are fundamental to fully express the gloomy feelings and enrich the vibrant guitar melodies.

“Polichinelle”, “La Maritza” and “Wahala Manitou” have a delicious unmistakably French retro sound that naturally embraces Therion’s symphonic style.

“Dis-moi Poupee” is a very attractive guitar driven tune that shines for Snowy Shaw’s irresistible obscure vocal performance and solemn operatic choirs.

Thomas Vikstrom is one of the most amazing and eclectic vocalist out there and his undeniable talent is consistent throughout the album.  On the hyper energetic fun rock n’ roll short song “Je N’ai Besoin Que De Tendresse”, Vikstrom delivers wild high pitch vocals. Yet, “J’ai Le mal De Toi” definitely represents his best performance. This must be saddest song ever written and Vikstrom’s deeply passionate theatrical interpretation is absolutely faultless.

“Lilith” is the one song that truly has a dark gothic melody as main musical core. Lori Lewis’s operatic vocal style perfectly fits the decadent mood.

In the end, Therion successfully manages to interpret vintage music in a contemporary fashion and “Les Fleurs Du Mal” feels like a very spontaneous well balanced album. Each and every song has its own raison d’etre and will be easily enjoyed by open minded libertine listeners.

 

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