WORDS: Dean Martin
Sweden’s THERION have been active on the metal scene for nearly three decades now. The band have come a long way since their death metal roots, opting for a more symphonic style with more recent records. Kick starting 2016, the band embarked on a headline run across the UK, but did the band’s long career still hold up well live?
Russian rockers IMPERIAL AGE were first to grace the stage, opening for headliners THERION, at Manchester Academy with their mix of metal and operatic voices. Their symphonic metal gave the audience a taste of what was to come whilst, for Alexander “Aor” Osipov (keyboard and vocals), the UK stint of the tour was ‘”like coming home” having lived in the UK for part of his childhood before moving back to Moscow.
EGO FALL are a Mongolian nomadic metal band from China, who celebrate their origins through matching robes worn on stage, a Mongolian horse cello, and an impressive range of guttural vocals from Sunbori with seemingly minimal effort or movement. This was balanced with Chao Yu’s screaming vocals, creating a mix of genres that certainly work together. After their performance, Chao Yu came down to the barrier shaking hands with the audience, a nice touch to finish off a good set. If you’re looking for something a bit different, then this is the band to listen to.
LUCIFERIAN LIGHT ORCHESTRA (5) is a project of THERION’s founding member, Christofer Johnsson, who performs THERION songs that the band feel are too retro to play now. It also allows him to explore a side of music perhaps unsuitable for THERION. However, unfortunately, Mina Karadzic’s (lead vocalist) voice wasn’t powerful enough and became lost in the sound, the male backing vocals on the other hand, worked beautifully with the music. The sound was also more chilled than the previous support acts, unfortunately losing some of the momentum of the night.
THERION finished up the night with their symphonic metal, theatrical songs (one including Mina from LUCIFERIAN LIGHT ORCHESTRA), and a touching father/daughter duet from Linnea Vikstrom and Thomas Vikstrom (vocals, lead vocals). This show was part of their Best Of Tour and on the subject they said “we don’t have an album out, we’re just touring because it is fun and we want to meet you guys!” Their passion for their music shone through, especially when Thomas announced they were playing Dark Fairy, a song he had been asking Christofer to play for years, and was finally allowed to play. The audience’s enthusiastic singing confirmed this was a popular decision. They treated fans by playing five songs never played live before, and two from their rock opera. A good performance and an excellent night.