Style: Death Metal / Symphonic |
Year of birth: 1987
Views: 8941. Updated: 16 November, 2004 by Project Moderators
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Biography of Band
|Cited by many as the most adventurous Metal band at present. Christofer Johnsson's THERION present a sound swathed with huge operatic choirs and oriental orchestral arrangements. The band has over the course of its labyrinthine career employed some of the most esteemed female vocalists in the Metal world such as Sarah Jezebel Diva, Claudia Maria Mokri, Kimberley Goss, Martina Hornbacher Astner and Marika Schonberg to lend their distinctive touches.
Although starting life as a run of the mill Death Metal band, THERION, hailing from the Stockholm suburb of Upplands V?sby, has with each successive release wrung every ounce of adventurism out of each record increasing their status in Europe along the way. The roots of THERION lay in the late 80s Swedish band BLITZKRIEG, which featured bassist / vocalist Christofer Johnsson, guitarist Peter Hansson and drummer Oskar Fors. The group reformed as MEGATHERION in 1988, with a line up of Johnsson on vocals and guitar, guitarist Hansson, ex-CREMATORY bassist Johan Hansson and drummer Mika Tovalainen, shortly after the band shortened the name to THERION and replaced their rhythm section with bassist Erik Gustafsson and drummer Oskar Forss. Parallel to his THERION activities Johnsson was also holding down membership of Grind act CARBONIZED, recording no less than three albums with this group, 'For The Security', 'Disharmonization' and 'Screaming Machines'.
Initial THERION demos surfaced in 1989, 'Paroxysmal Holocaust', completed with the temporary services of vocalist Matti Karki, now of DISMEMBER, and 'Beyond The Veils Of Inner Wickedness', seeing Christofer Johnsson taking back the lead vocal mantle. This line up, minus Karki, recorded THERION's first mini-album 'Time Shall Tell', which was initially released as a limited edition of 1000 for sale through a local record store. However, subsequent pressings have been made.
Bassist Oscar Gustaffson left following the 1991 'Of Darkness' album and THERION took to the studio as a trio for the 'Beyond Sanctorium' follow up. For the 'Symphony Masses' album (released through Megarock in 1993) only Johnsson remained, adding guitarist Magnus Barthelsson, the HEXENHAUS credited bassist Andreas Wahl and drummer Piotr Wawrzenuik. Wahl and Wawrzeniuk, guitarist Johan Lundell and ENTOMBED bassist Lars Rosenberg also forged a 1993 side project titled SERPENT. The industrious Wahl also operated another side band CONCRETE SLEEP. Barthelsson subsequently formed Industrial band GRAIN.
Quite surreally Christofer Johnsson became embroiled in the machinations of the burgeoning Scandinavian Black Metal scene in rather an unusual way when a girl, claiming to be Count Grishnackh of BURZUM's emissary, tried unsuccessfully to burn his house down. When apprehended the female apparently informed the authorities Johnsson was "not a true Satanist"! Johnsson took himself out of Sweden for a time to ally himself temporarily with Swiss Death Metal merchants MESSIAH, touring with the band and participating in sessions for their 1994 album 'Underground'.
The group toured Europe in 1995 as support to Canadians ANNIHILATOR and the group drafted in ENTOMBED / SERPENT bassist Lars Rosenberg on a temporary basis for the shows.
Having signed to German label Nuclear Blast, 1995's Harris Johns produced 'Leppaca Kliffoth', recorded by the core of Johnsson, bassist Fredrik Isaksson and CARBONIZED drummer Piotr Wawrzeniuk, featured a cover of CELTIC FROST's 'Sorrows Of The Moon'. The album also saw contributions from vocalist Claudia Maria Mohri, who appeared on CELTIC FROST's 'Into The Pandemonium' album, and baritone Hans Groning. THERION gigged across Germany partnered with Canadian Thrashers ANNIHILATOR and toured South America during 1995, during which Rosenberg opted to leave ENTOMBED and join THERION on a permanent basis. In November the group added ex-UNANIMATED guitarist Jonas Mellberg. Wawrzenuik and Rosenberg also released the debut SERPENT product 'In The Garden Of The Serpent' to round off 1995.
As 1996 began THERION contributed a track to a Japanese IRON MAIDEN cover album on the Toys Factory label and entered a new stage of their career with the 'Theli' release, an ambitious amalgam of Metal and Middle Eastern influences all overlaid with choral vocals. This record, recorded at Impulse Studio in Hamburg, Germany, marked a pivotal career juncture for the band as Johnsson relinquished his main vocal role and THERION began to rely much more heavily on heavily orchestrated massed choirs. With the release of 'Theli' THERION undertook an extensive tour of Germany, supporting AMORPHIS. For these shows the group introduced AVERNUS keyboard player Kimberley Goss with former NECROPHOBIC keyboard player Tobias Sideg?rd acting as sessioneer. Although the record was hugely expensive to produce, at that stage the biggest budget ever granted by Nuclear Blast, initial sales proved positive and within a month 'Theli' had doubled the sales of its predecessor. Further dates saw the band, with bass player Andreas Wahl having returned and two professional classical singers employed, as part of the 'Out Of The Dark' festivals on a bill alongside MY DYING BRIDE and SENTENCED. Demand for the band was such that a third European tour, ranked alongside CREMATORY and LAKE OF TEARS was undertaken, the first to feature the CRADLE OF FILTH credited Sarah Jezebel Deva on vocals.
The 1997 album release 'A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming', originally planned as an EP, featured versions of RUNNING WILD's 'Under Jolly Roger', JUDAS PRIEST's 'Here Come The Tears', SCORPIONS 'Fly To The Rainbow' and IRON MAIDEN's 'Children Of The Damned'. For touring purposes the band morphed once again down to a core duo of Christofer Johnsson and Piotr Wawrzeniuk joined by soprano vocalists Joanna Holmgren and Sandra Camenisch ranked alongside session players guitarist Tobias Sideg?rd, bassist Andreas Wahl with Tommy Eriksson on the drums. The equally ambitious 'Vovin', issued in 1998, would be the first to feature female lead vocals from former DREAMS OF SANITY singer Martina Hornacher Astner. For the first time the band relied upon the services of a full orchestra in the studio. Session musicians bass player Jan Kazda and drummer Wolf Simons were taken on for the rhythm section. 'Vovin' would take the band to new heights of success, selling over 150,000 copies in Europe alone. THERION's band line up to promote 'Vovin' on the road, co-headling in Europe alongside MOONSPELL, comprised Johnsson, Tommy Eriksson, this time on guitar, Kim Blomqvist on bass and Sami Karppinen on drums. Singers were Sara Jezebel Deva on soprano, Martina Hornbacher and a girl called Cynthia.
The band would indulge in yet more covers with the 1999 release ‘Crowning Of Atlantis’ with a guesting Ralf Scheepers of PRIMAL FEAR making his presence felt on the bands version of ‘Crazy Nights’, originally by Japanese Metal band LOUDNESS. Also included were takes of MANOWAR’s ‘Thor’ and ACCEPT’s ‘Seawinds’, the latter seeing a return for Sarah Jezibel Deva. GRIP INC.'s Waldemar Sorychta donated lead guitar. Drums were on supply from Wolf Simons excepting the title track, which featured Sami Karppinen. Once again Martina Hornacher Astner made her presence felt on the album and on promotional videos for 'Wine of Aluquah', 'Rise Of Sodom And Gommorah' and 'Birth Of Venus Illegitima'. Falling pregnant, but still managing to tour with the band in 1999, she would subsequently depart to create a new act in partnership with MORBID ANGEL's Erik Rutan entitled ALAS.
THERION maintained their standing and scored impressive European chart returns with the 2000 offering 'Deggial'. Members of the band's fan club would be treated in 2001 with the rarities album 'Bells Of Doom', this release compiling archive tracks tracing as far back as the formative BLITZKRIEG days. In the present, and keeping with their l
eft field character, THERION contributed a version of ‘Summer Night City’ to a 2001 Death Metal ABBA tribute. The track would also turn up on their 'Secrets Of The Runes' album alongside a further cover- the SCORPIONS 1976 track 'Crying Days'. For this outing Operatic female vocals would be delivered by Marika Schonberg. THERION bassist Fredrik Isaksson would form part of the reconvened GRAVE during September 2001.
THERION would part ways with drummer Sami Karppinen during March of 2002. The band would cut a rendition of 'Fight Fire With Fire' for a Nuclear Blast METALLICA tribute collection. In September THERION's first official live album 'Live In Midgard' arrived as a double CD set recorded in Colombia, Hungary and Germany. October found the THERION triumvirate of guitarists Kristian Niemann and Johan Niemann with Sami Karppinen on drums performing as part of TIAMAT bassist Johnny Hagal's LITHIUM project. Johan Niemann also busied himself as part of the melodic Metal act TEARS OF ANGER.
In keeping with their grandiose reputation THERION issued not one, but two albums in May of 2004 - 'Sirius B' and 'Lemuria'. In keeping with Christofer Johnsson's grandiose vision no less than 171 people were to participate in the recordings. Instruments included the traditional fare of guitar, bass and drums as well as balalaikas, domras and mandolines. Also part of the mix would be a full symphonic orchestra, grand piano, harpsichord, opera soloists and a 32 strong choir all recorded in Prague. THERION also utilised an organ recorded at the oldest church of Copenhagen and finally they entered the Sun Studio with Denmark’s finest producer Lars Nissen to craft additional recordings of hammond organ and mellotron before reaching the final mixing stage. New members installed for live work would include drummer Petter Karlsson and soprano vocalist Karin Fjellander. The group would also rehearse with the TREAT, SWEDISH EROTICA, ABSTRAKT ALGEBRA and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN credited vocalist Mats Leven.
In addition to THERION activities Kristian and Johan Niemann made time to activate the Death Metal project DEMONOID. Former drummer Sam Carpenter (a.k.a. Sami Karppinen) re-emerged in 2004 with his new band MURGHATROID, a union with EBONY TEARS and EYETRAP singer Johnny Wranning. Meantime, THERION themselves hooked up with TRISTANIA and TRAIL OF TEARS for a mammoth Euro tour throughout the Autumn, taking in Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Holland, Austria, Slovenia, Hungaria, Italy, Switzerland, England and Spain.
Members of Therion
| Current Members:|
Christofer Johnsson. Role: Vocals, guitars, keyboards
Mats Lev?n. Role: Vocals
Kristian Niemann. Role: Guitar
Johan Niemann. Role: Bass
Petter Karlsson. Role: Drums
Jonas Mellberg. Role: Guitars & keyboards
Peter Hansson. Role: Guitars & keyboards
Magnus Barthelson. Role: Guitars
Tommy Erisson. Role: Guitars
Erik Gustafsson. Role: Bass
Fredrik Isaksson. Role: Bass
Lars Rosenberg. Role: Bass
Andreas Wallan Wahl. Role: Bass
Piotr Wawrzeniuk. Role: Drums
Oskar Forss. Role: Drums
Matti K?rki. Role: Vocals
Sarah Jezebel Deva. Role: Vocals
Martina Astner. Role: Vocals
|Demo: Beyond the Darkest Veils of Inner Wickedness (1989) Studio: Self-published. Tracklist.|
Demo: Paroxysmal Holocaust (1989) Studio: Self-published. Tracklist.
EP: Time Shall Tell (1990) Studio: House of Kicks. Tracklist.
CD: Of Darkness... (1991) Studio: Deaf Records. Tracklist.
CD: Beyond Sanctorum (1992) Studio: Active Records. Tracklist.
CD: Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas (1993) Studio: Megarock. Tracklist.
Single: The Beauty in Black (1995) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
CD: Lepaca Kliffoth (1995) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
CD: Siren of the Woods (1996) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
CD: Theli (1996) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
CD: A'arab Zaraq - Lucid Dreaming (1997) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
Single: Eye of Shiva (1998) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
CD: Vovin (1998) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
EP: Crowning of Atlantis (1999) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
Boxed Set: The Early Chapters of Revelation (2000) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
CD: Deggial (2000) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
CD: Secret of the Runes (2001) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
Best of/Compilation: Bells of Doom (2001) Studio: Therion Fan Club. Tracklist.
CD: Lemuria (2004) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.
CD: Sirius B (2004) Studio: Nuclear Blast. Tracklist.