There’s a movie every rock/metal fan has seen, and if you haven’t go out and watch it immediately, it is of course Spinal Tap. There’s a scene where the guys in the band get told about a review of their album Shark Sandwich which only contains two words: “Shit sandwich”. I’m tempted to do a two word review of the gig tonight and it’d read “Fucking Awesome” although I’m not sure how happy our editor would be with with that.
This is a night I’ve been waiting eighteen years for, which was the last time Therion played in Glasgow with Anathema and Moonspell. Before the gig tonight I interviewed founding member Christofer Johnsson and asked him why it took so long to come back. Check out the interview here for his reply.
Imperial Age were the first band on tonight and I have to extend to them my apologies as unfortunately I missed their set, which by all accounts was great according to those I talked to afterwards. Unfortunately I was interviewing, then catching something to eat, with Therion’s Christofer Johnsson. I hope they return to Glasgow at some point and I’ll catch them then.
Ego Fall describe themselves on their Facebook page as a “nomadic metal band from Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, China”. They were formed back in 2000 but have managed to slip under my radar and this is my first experience of the band. They are quite a striking looking bunch with the members wearing what could possibly be traditional Mongolian outfits: black tunics with ornate gold borders (I believe the tunics are called Mongolian Deels but I could be wrong). Singer Chao Yu reminds me very much of Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen with his waist length dreads and vintage square metal microphone. He’s a great front-man and encourages the audience to interact at every opportunity when he’s not busy bouncing around the stage and moshing away to Ego Fall’s unique style of music. At one point he announced to the audience “I think you will go to Mongolia as it has very beautiful grassland” which got quite a few bemused cheers. The band have a great energy about them and look like they’re having great fun which is infectious as it doesn’t take them long to get this Glasgow crowd moving, nodding, and clapping along with them. The venue hasn’t quite filled up yet but a decent amount of people have turned up to see them and everyone seems to have been won over. Their music invokes quite a happy party atmosphere with its high energy and nice use of electronic sounds reminded me slightly of Blood Stained Child in places, but only slightly. I was very impressed with these guys and if you’re going along to see Therion on this tour make sure you get in early and catch them. Good fun band and I hope they come back to Scotland again in the future.
I have to say I generally don’t have very high expectations when it comes to musicians side projects. By and large I find myself generally disappointed by these ill advised ventures so it was with some relief that when I first checked out Luciferian Light Orchestra I found them to be not only not disappointing, but actually a very strong musical force in their own right.
Through dimmed lights Luciferian take to the stage with a backing track of sound effects and the sound of evil cackling. The band launch into “Dr Faust on Capri” to cheers from an audience who are obviously looking forward to seeing them. The band released their debut album last year and it’s from this that they unsurprisingly draw most of their set from tonight. It’s a fantastic album and the songs work equally well live. Singer Mari Karhunen sounds great and her sultry snake like dancing, twisting and turning, compliments the dark 70’s style doomy music perfectly. This is definitely a change of pace from Ego Fall’s high energy metal and instead the Luciferian Light Orchestra take a more laid back and mellower approach. The third song “Taste the Blood of the Altar Wine” is probably one of the highlights of the set for me but they played so many great songs tonight it’s hard to choose. Singer Mari Karhunen has the crowd clapping along to “A Black Mass in Paris” and we even have a sing along to the bands final song “Dante and Diabaulus”. This is definitely a band that you need to check out if you haven’t already done so. I enjoyed it so much I bought the CD and t-shirt. Great band, great debut album, and a great set.
- Dr Faust on Capri
- Church of Carmel
- Eater of Souls
- Where the Lilies Grow
- Venus in Flames
- Taste the Blood of the Altar Wine
- A Black Mass in Paris
- Dante and Diabaulus
The lights lower and the into tape, known to most as the “2001 Space Odyssey” theme, introduces the main band for tonight. The venue is now jam packed with fans. While there was a good turnout for the previous bands it looks like some people just turned up for Therion, which is a shame as they missed out on same great support acts.
“Ginnungagap”, from the album Secret of the Ruins, is the first song of the evening from the lengthy best-of set-list. It’s a great opener building on the epic atmosphere of the intro tape with its almost Sabbath’esque riff at the beginning. It’s a great sound at the Audio tonight, every voice and instrument sounds clear and Therion sound as colossal as I remember them from eighteen years ago. It’s amazing that all seven members of the band manage to fit on the venue’s small stage and not get in each others way.
On “Schwarzalbenheim” Christofer Johnsson, dressed in his familiar steam-punk apparel, and Christian Vidal swing their guitars in time with the music Scorpions style. The whole band look like they still love playing live even after all these years, however it’s new addition to the band, Chiara Malvestiti, that blows me away. Everyone that does vocals in Therion is stunning but Chiara has such an incredible voice I actually get goose bumps listening to her.
While there are other bands that have been tagged with a “Symphonic metal” label there really isn’t any other band that comes close to what Therion do. On “Neifelheim” there are no less than four different vocal parts interwoven producing a sound that you’ll never hear from any other metal band. As this is a best-of tour a variety of songs have been taken from the bands extensive back catalogue and we are treated to some classics and some songs that have been rarely or never been played before. Thomas Vikström, wearing his black leather cap with goggles, tells us that he’s been nagging Christofer forever to play “Black Fairy” and tonight he gets his wish and Glasgow gets to hear this rarely played track.
It would be too much to describe every track played tonight. Suffice to say no-one in Glasgow was disappointed. Therion are an incredible band that really deserve to be seen in a larger venue than the one we were in tonight, but for us die-hard fans it’s great to get so close to them and we enjoyed an intimate evening with one the best live bands in Europe.
All in all it was an awesome night. Therion alone are worth the price of entry but to have three other great bands on the bill is amazing. Even though this is my first gig of the year I’m having trouble imagining anything being better than this in 2016. A lot of smiling faces left the Audio in Glasgow tonight, I just hope we don’t have to wait another eighteen years before we see these operatic masters of metal again. If you have the chance to catch a date on this tour then you should jump at the chance. You don’t want to miss this.
- Melek Taus
- The Beauty in Black
- Invocation of Naamah
- Cults of the Shadow
- The Siren of the Woods
- Wine of Alugar
- Morning Star
- Black Diamond
- Black Fairy
- Mon Amour, Mon Ami
- Kings of Edom
- Dreams of Swedenborg
- The Invincible
- Son of Staves of Time
- Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah
- To Mega Therion
All photography by Lara Vischi © ishootmetal.com