Vera : Therion mastermind Christofer Johnsson has been dreaming about writing and making a proper (rock) opera for ages. As always, he has worked it minutely out, with an eye for every detail, but what will be released early February can simply be called a megalomaniac project. And this is only the beginning, since Johnsson’s main intention happens to be performing this live on stage. But for now we have enough to fathom with the music only. More than ever operatic chants prevail, but fortunately there are also loads of similarities with earlier stuff and songs one can consider as typical smooth rocking Therion.
It is true, there is a lot to digest: more than three hours of music that often goes way beyond your regular metal/rock idiom, with 28 guest vocalists. Amongst them we find familiar faces like Thomas Vikström and his daughter Linnea, Chiara Malvestiti you might know from live gigs and Lori Lewis; but also a famous Swedish opera baritone Markus Jupiter. With such a large amount of singers, it speaks for itself that this album is very vocal oriented. The band does not see this as the next new Therion album, but as a project, coincidentally created by Therion. Do not expect a rock opera in the vein of Ayreon or Avantasia, because this is completely different. Actually you can call this the mother of all rock operas, because let us put one thing straight: Therion never delivers half work. Giving a score to this unique enterprise is really impossible. Everyone should sit down, relax and take the time to dig deeper into this wealthy musical experience and decide for themselves. ‘Beloved Antichrist’ will be a masterpiece for some, for others it will be too focused on opera, so that rock and metal gets snowed under. Suggestion: the third disc is the heaviest and sounds most familiar. Anyways, this is another evidence that Johnsson happens to be a unique artist.