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Sitra Ahra

19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

2010 release from the Swedish Death Metal outfit, an epic musical odyssey of mysticism, Metal, and operatic elements of the highest caliber. It is this latest effort that proves the band continues to climb the ladder of innovation. On Sitra Ahra, the newest incarnation of the band continue their exploration of the occult and their affinity for over-the-top, bombastic orchestrations. This lineup includes main man Christofer Johnsson along with now permanent vocalist Thomas Vikstr”m (ex-Candlemass). Johnsson also recently recruited Christian Vidal (ex-The Road Vultures, ex- Cuero) from Argentina as the band's new guitarist. Comprising Therion's new rhythm section are Johan Koleberg (Animal, Zan Clan, Lion's Share) on drums and Nalle "Grizzly" P†hlsson (Treat, Zan Clan, Vindictiv) on bass.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nuclear Blast Americ
  • ASIN: B003Y4TSG6
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,502 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Spazmonkey on October 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The Lineup:

The band was dismissed and this album comes in with mostly new members. It has basically the same sound that therion always had except the new drummer sounds a lot more basic and simple compared to the previous melodic and progressive drummer (petter karlson). I do miss the old drummer in this album. While the drummer takes a step backwards, the new bassist is amazing.

Besides the fact that the amazing lori lewis is on this album, there really aren't too many female parts. It's mostly choirs and males with a few small parts for female vocals.

Album Background:

Therion writes a new album after Deggial but instead of making it they make Secret of the Runes. Over time they have enough material for 3 albums so they release 2 at once- lemuria/sirius b. They were going to release the 3rd album next, but instead wrote new material and made Gothic Kabbalah (though the first and last song on this album are the original songs for the 3rd album). So this album is actually mostly old material written at the same time as Lemuria/Sirius b.

Beyond that they recorded it so it would sound like an old album from the 70s. So it has that old analog sound. In some ways it is much richer and fuller of a sound, feels more eerie but in other ways a weak mix. Overall we can just say it sounds different from most modern releases.

The Sound:

Which gets us to time travel... take all of Therion's old albums (each one with a different sound, but still recognizably Therion) and put them in a blender and you get Sitra Ahra.

This is about as typical of a therion album as you can get.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Oliverio Casas on January 16, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Therion didn't invent symphonic metal, but after Theli's runaway success, Cristopher Johnsson (the band's only constant member and musical driving force during the band's career) became the father of this subgenre to most metal pundits, since that album was the first successful coupling of two very disparate musical camps and for once, the symphonic parts sounded like they were composed alongside the riffs and not added as an afterthought. After this seminal album, Therion kept repeating this winning formula with bigger budgets by replacing samples with real instruments and adding more opera singers in each subsequent album with varying degrees of artistic success. After reaching a second artistic peak with the Lemuria / Sirius B double album, Mr. Johnsson decided to go after a simpler, more stripped down approach on 2007's Gothic Kabbalah, which in hindsight proved disastrous, since Therion's signature sound is all about symphonic bombast, and frankly, without full classical embellishments, the metal element is kind of lame at worst and painfully generic at best.
Thank goodness then that with this album, Mr. Johnsson doesn't pull any punches and returns to the over produced classical bombast featured on Vovin, Deggial, Secret of the Runes and the aforementioned double album: aside from an 18 piece classical chorus, a children's chorus and a full symphonic orchestra, we get a top notch band that includes metal luminaries such as Thomas Vikstrom, Waldemar Sorychta and the legendary Snowy Shaw.
So ultimately, this album is just business as usual in the Therion camp: a nice addition to the band's signature, classical bombast heavy sound that's not really in league with its most celebrated works.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TC on December 24, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This is not a commercial-sounding proggy metal album like Gothic Kabbalah was, nor is it an epic plodding and coherent operatic work like Secret of the Runes. Sitra Ahra is more a mishmash of 70s Scorpions, King Crimson, Theli, and Lemuria/SiriusB, with some wild excursions like Unguentum Sabbati and Din which are more metal-like. So if you're mainly into technical, prog, death, and/or black metal then you may be disappointed. If you're okay with avant garde, retro, 70s rock, melodic metal, and indie/experimental stuff, then you may appreciate it more.

Sitra Ahra was intentionally recorded to have a 70s analog sound. This was done for artistic, honorary (to 70s artists), and experimental reasons. On the plus side, this gives it a more direct, personal, intimate sound. While that allows for good separation among the various instruments and vocals, for kicks I threw 20% basic plate reverb on the songs and it sounds friggin'awesome through headphones that way. The biggest surprise though was the Bass guitar tone ... wow!

Overall, the album is more focused on simple but elegant melody, catchiness, and groove than epic ambiance or technical prowess. The song composition itself isn't simplistic though, there's actually a lot going on and it's elegantly stitched together. Think of Scorpion's Virgin Killer album, which was a tight bundle of good catchy melodies. Same with Sitra Ahra.

The vibe on this album is more celebratory and euphoric with more astral/occult overtones than previous albums, slight Swing Diablo Orchestra vibe. Though I wouldn't call this music dorky unless you're some curmudgeon in corpse paint. For me it has good re-playability. In my opinion, Hellequin and Land of Canaan are the best song on the album. I'm giving Sitra Ahra 4 instead of 5 stars because it's only the beginning, and not the zenith, of the new lineup, and Amazon won't allow 6 stars for the next album.
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Topic From this Discussion
European release is Sept. American release is October. You can order the import from the Therion store for cheaper though. It's a pretty good album.
Sep 16, 2010 by Spazmonkey |  See all 7 posts
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