Monday, October 8, 2012

Therion - Les Fleurs du mal

Therion stand beside Amorphis as one of those early death metal bands that decided somewhere along the way to just smash their way out of the box and go wherever they wanted to go, regardless of how people wanted to classify it. The Swedes are now a symphonic metal band, notable for their constant evolution and creative mastery. A couple weeks ago they released Les Fleurs du mal.

Hmm, an album of cover songs? That's not a terribly promising start, but it's been done before and it's not a guaranteed disaster. But a metal album exclusively covering French pop oldies? Yikes. I kind of wish I'd known that going into it, but alas, I had not been warned.

There are some upsides to this record. Therion fans can't possibly be particularly concerned with the group's metal-ness, so the fact that this hardly qualifies as metal shouldn't bother them. And as an expression of the band's creative tendencies, this stands up; Therion are willing to to take chances and try different things, nobody can fault them on that count. Additionally, these guys are polished masters of their craft at this point, so every flowery operatic note and delicate orchestral passage is executed to absolute perfection.

That's where my compliments come to an end, though. As I said before, this is really not even metal anymore. The band has, at least on this release, dropped even the pretense of performing metal. What it really is, honestly, is a bunch of old French pop tunes turned into a ballet soundtrack that happens to have some electric guitars playing quietly in the background of a few tracks. And while I commend Therion's willingness to step outside the box, I feel I have to point out that doing weird crap just for the hell of it isn't always a good decision.

Grade: C-
The band are talented and inventive, but I think in this case they've just invented something kind of stupid.

1 comment:

  1. I think I will be avoiding this. I almost picked it up the other day, but something about it struck me as odd and I didn't.