Therion mastermind Christofer Johnsson has never recovered from hearing the choir come in at the end of Ozzy Osbourne's "Diary of a Madman." While 2002's Secret of the Runes, a conceptual work celebrating the nine different worlds of Norse mythology, was technically flawless and endlessly atmospheric, its orchestral and choral wall of sound seemed pasted on rather than successfully integrated into the electric onslaught. After a two-year hiatus, Therion return with not one but two records, the blistering, elegiac, and overall stunning Lemuria/Sirius B. This time around, the Scandinavian heavy metal equivalent of the Moody Blues eulogizing a Viking funeral have mastered their dark art and created the finest record of their career. Fans of the group's early, orchestra-free death metal period, as well as those converted by the band's forays into classical and opera, will find common ground here. The bombast of tracks like "Abraxas" -- its solemn trumpet intro sounds infinitely more Morricone than it does Metallica -- and "The Dreams of Swedenborg" is balanced by the brute force of more traditional power metal numbers like "Uthark Runa" and the electrifying "Sirius B." However, it takes a song like "Quetzalcoatl," which integrates these two worlds so effortlessly, for the listener to understand fully the scope of this polarizing band's vision. It takes balls to mix mandolins, Hammond organs, opera singers, and a full symphony with the testosterone-fueled slam of heavy metal, and it's even harder to do it without the slightest hint of irony, a feat Therion has more than achieved on Lemuria/Sirius B.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2