Therion - Les Fleurs du Mal
End of the Light
15 songs (45'16)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Olivier

Let's be honest about this: Therion's 15th album is a very peculiar one, and an extremely difficult album to rate. For Les Fleurs du Mal - entitled for some reason after Charles Baudelaire's famous masterpiece although it actually has almost nothing to do with it - is an effort entirely made of 60s/70s covered French songs. You will not find a single second of Swedish metallers original material here. Only good old tunes delivered the Therion way. And I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this, and honestly the best advice I could give you is to listen to samples on Youtube for instance, and make up you own mind. Here's why.

As previously said, all 15 songs + the bonus track (a word on the latter later...) are covers and thus sung in French, except for a few words in English here and there. Artists such as Serge Gainsbourg, France Gall, Sylvie Vartan, Léonie Lousseau (among others) were chosen here, most probably for the lexical field they use. Love, friendship, seduction, happiness, melancholy, sorrow and bitterness all form the collection of themes which are dealt with in this album. Let it be noted that this (French) reviewer was pleasantly surprised to hear the words almost always properly pronounced - which is quite not always the case with metal bands, for instance Megadeth's A tout le Monde or Manowar's Courage (French version) were almost insulting - and was happy to rediscover some long-forgotten tunes.

On the music now: it's more often than not slow, and often not really a metal effort. You certainly will find a few metallized songs: the power metallish Je n'ai besoin que de tendresse which could fit in Heavenly's discography comes to mind immediately, but also the more symphonic Poupée de cire, poupée de son (a song which starts and ends the album, with a slightly different orchestration in the second one), the darker, bitter and very good En Alabama, the Tyr-like Wahala Manitou or even the almost neoclassical and operatic Polichinelle. But overall, this is more a rock-opera album than anything else. We are here a billion light years away from early Therion (of course), and very far away from up-to-Gothic-Kabbalah Therion. This album feels like a side project of the band, and should certainly be considered as such to be enjoyed.
Also, a word on the bonus track - Les Sucettes -, a Serge Gainsbourg cover which made me laugh as hard as one can. To put it bluntly, the whole song is in fact a facetious allegory on fellatio (Annie aime les sucettes, les sucettes à l'anis / Annie loves lollipops, aniseed lollipops is a pretty much legendary chorus here), and was probably the last song I had thought of being interpreted by this band. The fact that it is a bonus track shows the guys perfectly knew what the song is about and therefore: thanks for the laughs, les amis!

To conclude, this album really should be considered as an effort aside from Therion discography. This is a cover album, and not always a metal one, but overall a pretty good one. This is also a very difficult album to rate. Many people will call it boring and uninspired (well, a cover album hardly can be "inspired"...), others will like it for what it is (a solid rock-operatic and themed collection of revisited old tunes), and a few more will love it (because it definitely is special). And as always but even more in this case, everybody would be equally right. So in the end, try before you buy... but definitely try.

Killing Songs :
Poupée de cire, poupée de son (both), Initials B. B., En Alabama, Je n'ai besoin que de tendresse stand out, but all are great... if you are into the concept.
Olivier quoted no quote
Other albums by Therion that we have reviewed:
Therion - Leviathan reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Therion - Beloved Antichrist reviewed by Goat and quoted 30 / 100
Therion - Vovin reviewed by Jared and quoted CLASSIC
Therion - Of Darkness.... reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Therion - Sitra Ahra reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
To see all 11 reviews click here
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