Back when I was first discovering extreme metal, I mean really getting in to it, I was like a kid in a candy store and I just wanted to try everything. The floodgate had been opened and there was no closing it, ever. One of the bands that popped up and changed my perception of metal (again) was Therion. I don’t know if they’re the first band to do the symphonic/operatic metal thing, but they were the first I heard, and that shit blew my mind. I quickly found other, similar operatic bands, most super cheeseball, but I was hooked on that stuff for a good while before giving way to heavier, darker and more rambunctious types of metal.
So Therion fell out of my play list and I lost interest in the band even though they continue to put stuff out. I didn’t find out to much later that they were more of a traditional death metal band when they first started back in Sweden in the early 90’s. Back then that didn’t do much for me, but more recently with my love affair of Swedish extreme metal, it means much more. My buddy Ben recently shared with me their first three albums so it’s about time I dug in these.
Beyond Sanctorum is the bands second full-length album, and if you came into the band like I did, at their most symphonic, you probably wouldn’t even be able to tell this is the same band. This is straight up, early Swedish death metal, and it’s fucking awesome. It’s a bit more melodic then their contemporaries at the time and the symphonic/operatic beast slightly rears it’s head with some operatic keyboards and female vocals. One could even argue the songs are written in a more classic style but I’ll leave that to people much for fluent in that sort of dialect. Those moments do shine and give Therion something to distinguish them from crowd, but for the most part it’s some solid as fuck death metal, and in that Swedish vein that is oh so rewarding.
To my ears, I’d rather listen to this than their later work. There’s merit in some of their later albums but this intrigues me much more. It’s actually like two different bands so if you’re interested in how bands evolve, or just want to hear some fucking fantastic Swedish death metal, try some of this early Therion on for size.