It’s a firmly-held opinion around the Sentinel Daily Office that Swedish operatic metal alchemists Therion hit their high water mark around the time of 2007’s monumental Gothic Kabbalah album.
Controversial, we know, but there you go. Purists will always favour the band’s death-tinged early ouvre, and you’ll not hear a particularly stiff opposition put up from SDHQ, but really for us there’s nothing to match the sheer grandeur to be found in the grooves of GK. The title track and the Fields of the Nephilim/Sisters of Mercy pomp of The Perennial Sophia are both jaw-dropping expositions of operatic gothicism at it’s very apogee, but the best track of the lot was today’s classic clip, Son of the Staves of Time.
As befits a song about lost theology, philosophy, runic mystery and Rosicrucian streams of thought, the video itself – when it’s not concentrating on the band grimly lip synching as a computer-generated monastery floor disintegrates below them – is equal parts mysterious and hilarious. Sometime King Diamond sidekick Snowy Shaw marches around, possibly in the guise of the song’s main protagonist Byrger Tidesson, possibly not, followed around by a man in a papier mache Baphomet outfit, both looking about as convincing as bit part actors in a daytime TV life insurance ad.
Clearly label Nuclear Blast’s ideas about the sort of budget needed for a metal promo vid didn’t match up with the band’s – they don’t even have enough in the kitty for a re-edit that saves the drummer some embarrassment when he drops his stick at one point – with the whole thing coming off as distinctly second division in the visuals department. Which is a shame because, as alredy noted, the song is and was one of the finest things ever to emerge from the Therion stable.
So best, possibly, to just sit back and enjoy the music…