2012-10-01

Review: Therion - Les Fleurs Du Mal


Band: Therion
Album: "Les Fleurs Du Mal"
Style: Symphonic Metal
Release date: 2012-09-28
Origin: Sweden

Tracklist:
1. Poupée de cire, poupée de son
2. Une fleur dans le cœur
3. Initials B.B.
4. Mon amour, mon ami
5. Polichinelle
6. La Maritza
7. Sœur angélique
8. Dis-moi poupée
9. Lilith
10. En Alabama
11. Wahala manitou
12. Je n'ai besoin que de tendresse
13. La licorne d'or
14. J'ai le mal de toi
15. Poupée de cire, poupée de son
16. Les Sucettes

About ten years ago, I made the dreadful decision to actually tattoo symphonic/operatic metal band Therion's kliffoth-star on my right arm. Although the tattoo itself doesn't look entirely like horseshit, had I been given another chance, I sure as hell would have chosen another motif today. It is now obvious that I must have been drugged...
Anyway, me and Therion go way back and I have sort of enjoyed all their different phases during the years, some to a little less extent than others, but I've always managed to find something salvageable on each and every album they've done. That is, until "Sitra Ahra" was released in 2010 - because that album was one of the most boring experiences I've ever endured - the entire Opeth-discography included.

Well, now they are back with a new album, that apparently is self-released (without the help of a label) and is only being sold at concerts (as of right now at least). I have always been comfortable that Therion never does the obvious and I have been able to accept the weird choices they've done over the years. But I never imagined the band going completely bonkers and make an entire album (that's 16 songs and 45+ minutes) with only covers of 60s/70s French pop music! Sung in French!
But now here I find myself sitting and listening to an album called "Les Fleurs Du Mal" (which apparently means something like "Flowers of Evil") and I'm sure there's a really interesting concept behind it all, but I want to focus purely on the music - because that's what I did that summer back in 1996 when I first heard "Theli" and the music blew my mind away.

Therion 2012
First of all, let me point out that I have zero to none experience with the French language in metal music, but at least it's better than listening to an album sung in German. I am still haunted by the first time I heard (the otherwise great) Empyrium's "Weiland". Sometimes the French works, such as in the quick opening track but it becomes embarrassing on tracks such as "Initials B.B." where the female vocalist just "moans" the lyrics, making her sound like a drunken, horny 16-year old. And no, that's not meant as something positive... Oh yeah, there's apparently some English here and there, at least on track 10 where I can decipher the line "Up on the hill, in the cottonfield"(!)

As the case was with the band's last travesty, "Sitra Ahra", here they also try to cover as many spectra of music as possible and they're ranging from power metal to progressive to pop and just plain weird. There are some redeeming qualities here, such as the opening track which actually manages to sound a little bit like Therion and the beautiful "Sœur angélique" which kind of makes me want to hear the original. But there are way too many parts where you can hear that these tracks originally were pop music, thus draining the guitars or either just ends up sounding so far from metal as you can get. For example, "Wahala Manitou" does it's best to fuse jazz with metal and the result is plain dreadful. Thankfully, at least the songs are short - the longest clocking in at 4.35.

I can enjoy Lori Lewis' voice to some extent, but here it just becomes too much to hear the same operatic whining in track after track - especially when it's sung in French. Thomas Vikström is a very overrated vocalist and will perhaps always be best remembered for singing on the album that most Candlemass-fans dislike to this day. His voice works at some places, but for the most part he just sounds out of place, check out the dreadful track 12 for proof of that. Snowy Shaw makes a guest appearance on track 8, but what's the point in hearing a "fresh" voice when the music to said track are as exciting as watching seagulls fight over food.

I could go on and on about the embarrassing music on "Les Fleurs Du Mal" but I'll spare you the rest and proclaim this:
The biggest problem I have with the album is the fact that it is an entire cover album, even though it's a bit different due to the fact that the original music is French pop music from the 60's and 70's. Metal or no metal (and I am no stranger to other genres) still doesn't change the fact that the majority of these songs are plain boring and gives me very little sonic pleasure. Whether it's the songs chosen to cover or if the band's reworking of these is the main problem, I have no idea. All I know is that somewhere along the line, things went downhill very fast for Therion. The last truly good and consistent album the band released was "Secret of the Runes" and that was in 2001. You can easily die without shame not ever having listened at all to this crap.

RATING:
3.0/10


16 comments:

  1. the album is truly nice. they keep making good music in a way nobody else can today.

    however there are people with overinflated egos who cannot properly write reviews, what about having a break from it? besides your vomit & frustration, people don't get a hint about this album.
    one could easily die without shame not ever having read a word from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Poldy! Thanks for reading my blog. I will try and answer to all of your criticism about my review.


      "the album is truly nice. they keep making good music in a way nobody else can today."

      Well, I really disliked the album as you can see. I don't think it's truly nice. And I don't agree with you that they keep making good music either. In fact, I think their downfall started on "Gothic Kabbalah" (an album that I think has 2-3 decent songs) and has since continued.


      "however there are people with overinflated egos who cannot properly write reviews, what about having a break from it?"

      I'm assuming you're referring to me here.
      Regarding my ego, I don't think it's very "overinflated", but yeah - this is my blog (not a webzine or anything like that) and my opinions - so when you look at it from that angle, it has do with ego. But I think the same thing applies to each and every reviewer out there. Everyone gets an ego-boost if somebody says something nice about their work. Everyone does and I am not afraid to admit that.


      "besides your vomit & frustration,"

      Well, I never vomited while I listened to the album, I actually felt quite good. I guess it came out as a bit frustrated, but I was actually more bored than frustrated.


      "people don't get a hint about this album."

      I'm not really sure I understand this sentence, but I will assume that you're crying because you feel I didn't tell you how the album sounded. Is that right? If so, you will have to read the review again, as I point out how the album sounds many times in the text.


      "one could easily die without shame not ever having read a word from you."

      Ah, I see what you did there. Took my last sentence and warped it into your own. That must mean that you actually like my writing. It surely boosted my already overinflated ego even more!
      But yeah, I agree that you could die without shame having ever read a word from me. The fact remains - you read my entire review. Does that mean that you will feel ashamed when you die?

      Delete
  2. I'd almost think you've heard a totally different 'Les Fleurs du Mal' than I did.

    This is not a objective opinion on the album in any way, just a bunch of crap from a guy who tries to make your opinion the same as his, trying to be popular, and has truly no idea of whats going on AT ALL.

    I love the new Therion album, and think this is the best album in many years they've achieved. Sure 'Secrets of the Runes' is a true monument, but this album had the ability to do the same in a couple of years!

    I Don't reconize any of your words above in the album!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mr. Anonymous (who'll surely never read this)! Thanks for reading my blog. I will try and answer to all of your criticism about my review.


      "I'd almost think you've heard a totally different 'Les Fleurs du Mal' than I did."

      I think we heard the same. You seem surprised. Is this the first time you've ever read something about an album that you like and someone else doesn't? If so, welcome to the internet!


      "This is not a objective opinion on the album in any way"

      Well, that's always debatable. I find it objective. And remember that I used to be a huge Therion-fan and still listen to the band a lot these days. So yeah, it's not objective in the sense that I am a fan of the band.


      "just a bunch of crap from a guy who tries to make your opinion the same as his"

      Hell no! Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I love to discuss and dissect music with people who disagree with my thoughts (as I am doing right now). I most definitely never would to force an opinion on people. I am curious - where on my blog (still not a webzine for those who haven't figured that out) do you feel that I "want to make your opinion the same as mine"?


      "trying to be popular"

      Ehrm, no. If I wanted to be popular I would have given this album 10 out of 10 or started to praise indiepop music. Where on earth do you get the idea that someone who still listens to Therion, but really disliked their latest album and give it a low score wants to be popular? That makes no sense whatsoever.


      "and has truly no idea of whats going on AT ALL."

      Yes and no. I have no idea of why Therion chose to cover a bunch of French pop songs from ages ago. True.
      But I listened to the album and apart from 2 songs, I thought that it really sucked on the same level as "Sitra Ahra".


      "I love the new Therion album, and think this is the best album in many years they've achieved."

      Good for you! Of course, I disagree with you completely. But maybe you're just trying to be popular? ;-)


      "Sure 'Secrets of the Runes' is a true monument"

      True that!


      "but this album had the ability to do the same in a couple of years!"

      Well, time will tell (Therion-pun intended) but I highly doubt that.


      "I Don't reconize any of your words above in the album!"

      Yeah, that's because I didn't write any lyrics for the album ;-)
      But jokes aside, I think I understand what you mean and I guess that can only mean that we have different opinions.

      Delete
  3. How anyone can give this album a very negative rating is beyond me. It's clear that not everyone would love it, but a bad album sounds differently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mr. Anonymous 2 (who'll surely never read this either)! Thanks for reading my blog. I will try and answer to all of your criticism about my review.


      "How anyone can give this album a very negative rating is beyond me"

      Whoa! Really!? Then I must bid you welcome to the internet! You have seriously never read a bad review of an album that you really like? "Opinions are like assholes, everyone has them" - not familiar with that saying?


      "It's clear that not everyone would love it"

      Uhm, this sentence really, really, really contradicts what you just stated in the previous sentence.


      "but a bad album sounds differently."

      Naw, not in my OPINION it doesn't.

      To actually give people an example of how opinions work, here's one:
      One of my favorite albums this year (so far) is Vintersorg's "Orkan" which I gave 9 out of 10. And so far, I've read a couple of really negative reviews for that album. Some even gave it like 2 out of 10. Am I surprised? Nah, because you see I am content in my opinion that I really like it a lot. Am I pissed off? Nah, because an opinion is an opinion and I for one is so god damn pleased that not everyone agrees with mine.

      Delete
  4. Well, this album is not their very best, but I don't understand why you think it's crap. Is there nothing at all that you like in this album? How can you not like a single song or melody? I think you're a bit biased here. When someone writes a review, he should state both positive and negative facts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exact quote from my review:

      "There are some redeeming qualities here, such as the opening track which actually manages to sound a little bit like Therion and the beautiful "Sœur angélique" which kind of makes me want to hear the original."

      Delete
  5. Well, if you expected them to go back to their death metal roots or re-record an album like Secret of the Runes, you will ofcourse be disappointed. People have to accept that Therion has changed from Theli on and that every album has different and new things to offer. Therion is a symphonic opera metal band, so if you don't like operatic vocals, you can try your luck with some other band. As for the new album, it definitely isn't a regular album. It is very different than their regular discography,but it still has the Therion element in it. And by the way, horns up to Christofer Johnsson, for doing what his heart says, rather than going with the flow, to please his record label. I for one, find this album really enjoyable and I'm amazed by the way these covers sound. They really Therion-ized the songs. Although I, too, consider Secret of the Runes to be my favourite this is a nice addition to my collection and I surely don't regret bying it. Just give it another chance;)

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  6. With all respect, couldn't disagree more with the review.
    This is a cover album of french ballads and pop songs, and Christofer just turned them into Therion's style so well, that I think this album deserves not less than a 5. It has the BEST vocals I have heard in Therion in a long time. Lori's voice is just perfect. It takes balls to do what Johnsson did in here.

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  7. I don't like this album too much. I think Christofer bet big, but it went wrong. During their show in Madrid, he was asking people to buy the album, because he had spent so much money on it... :O

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    1. Christofer Johnsson05 December, 2012 21:42

      Too band if you don't like the record, but that's life.

      Just a correction of facts. I never ASKED anythone to buy the record at any of the shows on the tour. I thanked people who had bought it from stage.

      The album is selling really well and I'll breake even by January.

      Delete
    2. Glad to hear this! The album has grown a little bit :)

      And thanks for the clarification!

      Delete
  8. Damn is this review popular or what!?
    I've written better and more interesting reviews elsewhere on this blog - I suggest you go read them ;-)

    But yeah, all you Therion-fans have convinced me and I will be sure to give it another chance in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Henrik,

    Did you review it again?

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    Replies
    1. Heh, no I haven't. I haven't actually listened to it all this year.

      Sorry for the late reply - totally missed it

      Delete