Therion - Sitra Ahra song-by-song review


27. Nov. 2010, 18:52

Im trying to spit out some of my annoyingness, about the latest Therion album Sitra Ahra, with this rather quick review sum up! Allright it actually turned out pretty long... I've liked all the Therion records i've listened so far to some extent. Except of course A' Arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming. Somehow Sitra Ahra reminds me most of A' arab Zaraq... Even though it's not as bad, it just has that definite something which feels wrong. (Hmm, I think I actually even digged at least Down the Qliphothic Tunnel (Therion Version) last time I listened A'arab a long time ago).

Introduction/Sitra Ahra

Very promising beginning. Epic material. Classy and original Therion stuff. Certainly suggests great things to be ahead.

Kings of Edom

Nothing groundbreaking but keeps the hopes up of this being a solid album. Especially the acoustic break at 3.10 and the shredding starting from 5.30, turning into wild west-like acoustic melody and wicked guitar lead after that, are stuff that hint the listener that Therion still has it. Too bad the latter break ends in lame fashion turning into some kind of chorus-kind-of-thing which isn't really a chorus or neither really good, as a thing.

Unguentum Sabbati

Flows by being good. When the symphonic part first kicks in at 2.10 for the first time my thoughts exactly were: "There's my Therion good boy, good boy" This is impressive indeed. Even though it sounds awfully familiar. Maybe too familiar, where is it from? Hmm? Luckily the symphonic part is repeated at the end and even better than before. What a way to end a great track!

And when Land of Canaan starts you are in 7th heaven. After reading a few reviews about the album and listening this for the first time I thought. How can they go wrong with this one? The beginning is really catchy and if this is the main verse, most of the track will be epic. Yeah... If it just was the verse and not some kind of an intro leading into obscure-mess. The best section of the whole track, the first 2 minutes is never repeated again. Very close to best moment of the whole Sitra Ahra. After 1.50 the song just turns into "ok thats pretty cool"-kind of melody, followed by "ok thats pretty cool, but not as cool as the melody before"-circle. Leading to a narrow downhill with a few upsides here and there until the finale comes and you are baffled: "how did it come to this artificially cheery sounding finale that lacks almost everything, wasn't the song killer and then stellar and after that ok, what? Though I can't really remember anything after the beginning."

At least they really made an effort on this one... Though if I was un uncivilized person I might state: "Nice effort assholes: throwing away the best melody in the whole album after 2 minutes and adding 8 minutes of rather sucky progressive-influenced mess". Fortunately, I am not an uncivilized person and will merely say: "Good try boys, good try..."


the user: Mephisto_NL said it best on Hellequin's shoutbox: " Wow. This is bad." Only things I like are the bass guitar patterns and the bit Leonard Cohen-like bass-singer Marcus Jupither. Also the one second "growling" part cracks me up everytime. If this had been a review by Angry video Game nerd he would have yelled "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?"


Isn't the whole 2012 subject kind of covered... I find it obscure that a band that revolves so much around mystical subjects to cover this kind of mass-phenomenom. Oh yeah, the end of Mayan calendar WOULD be very Therionish unless nowdays it was totally Hollywood. Yeah, i know Therion had mentioned 2012 before the Hollywood took it under it's wing (at least on Chain Of Minerva and Quetzalcoatl). But really for me this is the "Simpsons did it"-syndrome. Lyrical rhymes like:
"The mayan calender says 2012
It is the end

A prophecy

won't sound good even though you add all the mythical Haabs and Tzolkings, Quetzalcoatls and Kukulkan's and damn Colitis Ulcerosa in it. Don't get me wrong, listening Therion I love googling all these historical creatures and oddities. But I hope they'd be left alone in their place and time in their own songs...

After all this criticism, on the positive side this is an ok track when you just ignore the lyrics. Too bad really that the apocalyptic atmosphere doesn't really shine through cause of all this 2012 crap. It's also refreshing to hear traditional heavy metal singing amongst all this opera. Even though I usually loathe traditional heavy metal singing (mainly the high-key shrieking-style). Here it works anyhow.

Cú Chulainn

This is not what i want to think when someone mentions the classic Irish hero Cúchulain. My first touch to Cúchulain was only recently as i read a classy book "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt. The main character is an Irish kid who hears stories about Cúchulain and grows up thinking him as the strongest and most influental person in the Irish history. Not the main point of the book but it made me google Cúchulain. When I saw the song title by Therion I was really excited, also read a review at: (in Finnish). The review deems Cú Chulainn as one of the heaviest tracks Therion has ever done! WHERE exactly is the heaviness?! I think the reporter must have downloaded or sorry I dont want to suggest anything illegal, spotify'd a falsified version. A heavy beginning and a few heavy riffs here and there is what this has to offer with a really annoying chorus and finale that turns into artificially cheesy strawberry mush again....

And really, the chorus sounds like "New Orleans, New Orleans, I think New Orleans, even death you defy". Quite fitting really.

This makes the beginning of Kali Yuga III sound very promising. Though you need to turn up the volume up to get the atmosphere really going on. It seems the volume goes automatically down whenever Cú Chulainn is playing. I assure, I don't ever remember touching the volume. Kali Yuga III, delivers certain doomsday atmosphere which blends into thrash-kind of riffage. Very good, dooming and chaotic. Unfortunately that atmosphere is lost a bit at just before 1:40. Losing it for about a minute until they luckily this time remembered to REPEAT the good stuff, instead of throwing it in the bin and leaving the listener hungry for more. Hey, i don't want to rewind the first 2 minutes of Land of Canaan again and again... Maybe I should just edit the rest out and forget it ever existed. Brilliant idea. Hell, I might as well edit 52 minutes out to make this a really killer single.

Anyway I dig this. To be honest I don't find the track really worth listening alone, but in THIS album it's one of the lesser standouts.

The Shells Are Open

Whats up with the off-tuned violin? Did they finally run out of money on their budget
so they just had to nail it quickly without tuning it? It doesn't sound classily Avant-garde in my book. It sounds just like they they hired their neighbour boy to play it. This song also lacks something, it never seems to really start or spark interest. Flows past you without a notice except that the vocalists seem to have severe hardships in singing in key, especially at 2.21. Hey, if someone had made a violin intro like that and then expected me to perform well after that...


Maybe they just just turn back to death metal and add the symphonic elements? As this is a really good apart from the amateurish melody popping first at 0:31. The keyboard part after it is blasphemously good turning into a really dramatic choir plus blastbeat. Ahhh! Doesn't go into symphonic death-eclipses of Dark Lunacy's Varen'ka, but which song could?

This is probably the one Imperiumi-reviewer (mentioned up there somewhere) meant as one of the heaviest Therion tracks... Solid riffs and attitude. The atmosphere and heaviness along with the lyrics: "They're breaking the vessel Creating Sitra Ahra", kind of brings the concept of Sitra Ahra into fruition. If only for a short while.

Children of the Stone: After the Inquisition

Quite good atmosphere and the children-choirs don't sound too bad. Melodies aren't bad. But it's just pretty boring, lacks something. A mediocre way to end the album in which most songs tend to amaze or annoy OR amaze AND annoy you.

This is a major disappointment for me. Eventhough I wouldn't say Gothic Kabbalah to be any better than 7-8/10 it still had a really big first kick where it really addicted me. Now listening it again in a while, almost every track alone is definately stellar. Sitra Ahra only had the first kick in some songs and some started to annoy me right away. Well, Im still very eager for their live performance in Helsinki 3.12. If they choose the right tracks from Sitra Ahra, they should be nice additions to their setlist. Just have to hope future has more for store from them. Many bands have broken up after an album like this...

Loved tracks:


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