THERION Dragon of the sea in the wide and dark deep

After so many years of absence Therion has return with a brand new record Leviathan. Technically they have made a record that could be marked as a sort of return to their well-known style after several records which were obviously out of their well-known style. Truly speaking Leviathan brings nothing new but its more of the re-visiting some old stuff from Lemuria or Secrets of the Runes or even from Deggial if you like, but anyway the record has its quality, there’s no doubt about it so each Therion lover would dig it.. I took some time and have a really nice and longer chat with Thomas Vikström.

First I would like to give you my compliments when it comes to brand new record,
I really didn’t expect such a good record to say so, you know, comparing to Sitra Ahra
it’s much better.

In my opinion as well. Yeah

Yeah. But okay, since I’m quite a lot, you know, into Therion, I listen to Therion since,
what 25-26 years, you know, 25, how would you, since you have recorded the album, there
are obvious links with a few albums as well. Like, people will say Lemuria, Sirious B,
Gothic Kabbalah as well. Even Secrets of the Runes, etc. So, especially when it comes to
thematics. So how would you, since you are the one who is, you know, who was writing
material and composing recording, how would you label the record

Yeah, I was there. I would, you’re very accurate, actually. Because, you know, we have
done the previous album, or albums was a rock opera called Beloved Antichrist, which
was a theme album and a story really. And before that, we did a cover album with French
songs. So me and Christopher, were talking, you know, we said, let’s go back home, you
know, and make a normal album, a normal Therion album. When I say normal, I put that in
inside this

Okay, but I understand it. Yeah.

So we started to write songs, we started to write just before the pandemic broke out,
you know? And we were sending files to each other with ideas, you know, and can you make
something out of this? And can you put an intro to this and, and so on. I mean, the
amount of megabytes or kilobytes or terabytes we would have used between our computers
must be some kind of a record. But um, anyway, as I said, before, we were going back and
revisited, just the album’s you said, to look at not to copy exactly like we used to that,
as we discussed before, not to copy the past, but to create or capture the essence and
spirit of those records, and put them into 2021. And I think that we accomplished that
pretty good, especially when we listen to the fans comments, you know, they say the same.

Yeah, so yeah, just, was it actually complicated to record this one, since on the one hand,
the music of Therion is always like, it’s more complex compared to other bands. But this
album is not so complex, for example, like, I don’t know, like Theli, Vovin, etc, etc.
if you get what I mean?

Yeah. Well, I can say that the most, If I speak for myself, the most complex album I have
ever recorded with Therion or with any band was the French album because I don’t speak
French. You know. So it took days longer than it should have done, you know, but because
of that, but this recording was very special, because we had to record it in eight separate
countries. Yeah, so the first plan we had was to record everybody in Malta that we were
going there, where Christopher lives, but since the world closed, and you know, everybody
has to restriction we had to do it in, in every country that we that we were at that time.
So I recorded my vocals here in Spain. The guitars are recorded in Argentina and Malta,
the choir in Israel, the orchestration in England and so on and so on. Marco Hietala’s
voice in Finland, you know, so, but with the technology that we have today, it works.
The only thing you really miss is the to hang out, you know, and have that direct
conversation with with the producer while you’re doing the work.

When it comes to music, you know, since I would like to stay on this
territory as well, we could say you know that this is a sort of what I would call modern
Therion comparing to 90s Therion and if you get what I mean whatever from Lepaca Kliffoth
to Vovin, etc so you actually attended to create a sort of classic but still modern Therion
album so to say?

Yeah, I mean, we try, what we try to accomplish is to do as good as we can and at the at
the at the time you know, this is what we felt like now and it just happened you know,
you can have a plan when you start writing but you never really know what you get until
it’s done. You know, that’s also the charm of it. But I agree it sounds more up to date
this album than the previous ones. That’s what I mean, that’s what I mean when I say we
were not trying to create the past but we tried to take the the the soul of those songs
you know and put, put them up to date

Well, when it comes to cover artwork, it’s also look like modern design of whatTherion has done for example, with like Lepaca Kliffoth, for instance. So do you share
my opinion? Or what, what actually, would you like to express with the cover artwork?

Well, Leviathan is it’s pretty simple. It’s the Leviathan is a sea creature, really.
So it’s not more complicated than that, that we wanted to find a cool picture on that,
you know, and we use the same guy that we have used for as long as I have been in the band,
you know, who does the artwork. And it’s a friend of Christopher.

And do you think actually that these cover artwork pretty much goes with the music when
it comes to style? I think so.

Yes, I think so too. And I think that the guy who makes the artwork listen to the songs
and he gets images you know, when he creates what he’s creating, so, so yes, I think
you’re accurate in that.

Definitely when it comes to that. Also on the other hand,
when it comes to lyrics if I’m correct I didn’t haven’t seen them them so far, all the
lyrics, okay, I get some ideas from the titles on the scene, there are mixtures, there
are some like Tuenela, more Nordic stuff, Leviathan, and some there are some other songs
from the eastern. So do you agree with me if I say that they are now mixture?

It’s a total mixture and i, i don’t know why that happens, I think it becomes it we are
influenced by because we visit so many countries and we live in so many countries, we are
influenced by everything you know. And personally I love to make fusions between different styles. You know, for example, to make a song and bring in some for example, Serbian feeling in it, you know, kind of listen to that what can I add from Serbian folk into this traditional music? It makes it it becomes often very interesting, I think.

Okay, I would like to ask you one question when it comes to brand new record of Therionwhich was actually a hard for you this time to sink or easier when it comes to, you know,
the entire recording process?

Well, the recording, no, I wouldn’t say that I was in a very good studio here in a city
called Alicante here in Spain. You know, but I have I have big experience, when I go into
the studio. I’ve done it so many times. And I like it, you know, and I was working with a
very good, good sound engineer called Danielle, who recorded you know, like, every major
artist in Spain, and we had fun and it was kind of kind of an easy and I did know what I
should do when I got in, you know, because I have had it planned out with Christopher.

And since you are a part of Therion where for a very long time time and you
know we all know the Therion changed many times. But I would like to ask one more or less
personal question when it comes to older Therion records you know, especially these from
90s for example, Death Metal phase which I really also like as well. Yeah. What is your
opinion about these particular records? Do you like them? Do you have any favorites when
it comes to for example, so to say 90s Therion ?

Well, I’m not a big fan of death metal I was never because probably because I’m jealous
because I cannot grow or sing like that. But and I have asked Christopher actually, we
should do some of those early stuff and you can sing those live but he refuse, you know

So it’s like you know, but what do you for example, Theli and Vovin were
particularly very interesting albums at that time etc. And there are really major records
when it comes to Therion, what do you think about these two records as well?

I love them. Yeah, I absolutely love them. I think…. Did you ask if you say Theli it’s
the most iconic, probably record of Therion if you listen to it the production is pretty
poor actually. But it doesn’t matter because it came something new out of that. That’s,
that’s the flagship of symphonic metal as we see it today, I think, almost, I think it’s
a iconic album.

On the other hand. So do you have any ideas, what… But still yeah, maybe it will
be interesting for the people who will read your interview if you have any ideas what
songs would you like to play on the next tour?

The next tour I would of course like to play some of the new songs from this album o
which we which we have to do even if we don’t want we have to, but yeah, from the older I,
I love to do for example I liked love to do Sodom and Gomorrah we will play we will always
do that. But I from Theli I want to do In the Desert of Seth, I really like

That’s actually very interesting question, Therion is very popular in South America. Okay.
As a matter of fact, this is really fact, you know? And how would you like to, for example,
since you have there, you know, many shows to South America, etc. How would you like to
compare, you know, the people from South America, you know, if you get what I mean and the
audience for example, in Europe?

It’s very different. Yeah, there. Yeah. Because the South Americans are so, and I don’t
know, I’m not an ethno expert or anything, but they are very, as, as people, they are very
physical and very temperamental. Not in an angry way, but in an emotional way. If they cry,
they don’t do like this. They do like oh!, you know, and everything is bigger in all
emotions, you know, and that shows in the audience when you play live. And sometimes you
are knocked out by the by the screams when you go on stage here, you know, you’re like,
what? So it’s a big difference. I’m not saying it’s better than Europe because we have
another way of approaching a live concert. It’s just two different ways, but it’s
definitely calmer to play in Switzerland than in Mexico City, that’s for sure.

I share your opinion as well. Yeah. So one thing is for sure sign of return. Finally,
we will see Therion more lived and we can use to during the last five years

Yeah, I mean, when a record is new is kind of a like a love affair. Yeah, you love every
song but if I have to choose like three, I would say Eye of Algol, Nocturnal Light,
Aži Dahāka.

Do you have any idea why, I guess that you will play some of the songs here?
I really hope so. Eye of Algol I’m almost sure that we will play. Northern, oh,
Nocturnal Lights. It’s uh, yeah, it’s probably because I made the demo here in my home
studio. And I called it Leviathan from the beginning. It was Le-vi-ah-tan dadadada.
And, but I think that Christopher wanted to write the title track. So they changed
into Nocturnal Lights. But I think it became very good and I’m very happy with the result.
Often when I’ve made a demo, a song demo It comes out, I sometimes get a little
disappointed because it didn’t sound like maybe really exactly as I wanted it. But this
time it sounds better than I than I expected.

Yeah, definitely, I have to say I’m really, you know, satisfied with the new record, you know, it’s like, it’s that we are, you know, it’s like, natural, natural step after
you know, Gothic Kabbalah. It’s like natural completely, like the time just stopped, you
know, and after 15 years time just stop and now we have the new record.

Very, very well put. Very well put.

Yeah, you know, and time has stopped and now we have, okay, Leviathan and even even the
cover artwork somehow goes with a with a, you know, like Lemuria, Sirius B, the
Gothic Kabbalah. This is this is the next step, you know, and everything, you know,
when it comes to… Well, also, what do you expect, actually, from the people, I see that
since you were not in the business for a longer time, in one way or another because of the,
but there are still people who love Therion, especially, you know, now people older,
definitely, you know?

Yeah, sure. But why? It gets better with age.

But do you see that there are fan base, if you get what I mean? Strong fan base, do you
still have them?

Yeah. I mean, if you check Facebook, and the social media, there are groups, it’s Therion
fans Bolivia, and Therion fans Mexico, and Therion fans Poland, they all have these pages
in the internet, and I’m reading what they think and and I always say 95-90% are
extremely positive to this new album, you know?

You know what I mean. So definitely, you know, is Yeah, definitely,
people are really liking and still nourish it. You preserved fan fan base. So to say.

Yeah, absolutely. And there with this album, they recognize Therion again, I think.
But I in the same time, I understand Christopher that he wanted to discover other
mountains to climb, if you know what I mean. We’re doing this French stuff and this
opera that he has been dreaming on forever. And, Sitra Ahra. That was a little different.
I understand that he has the curiosity to try other stuff. But also that he likes to the
feeling to come home, also, you know where we are now?

This is home marching after so many years. Do you feel actually since you are like 50s in 50s now and cetera, you know, in the very beginning, Christopher,
perhaps you I don’t know… Do you feel now is it harder to record an album? Or it was
like 10 years before or 15 years ago?

No, I wouldn’t say it’s any difference at all. It sounds like a cliche, but I still feel
like, I still feel like 25 you know, I never realized that, I’m 52, actually.

Yeah, so definitely, you know, it’s not a problem at all for you

No, not at all so far. I mean, the voice might change in a couple of years. That’s that’s
natural. It happens to everybody. But sooner or later, but so far, I don’t see any major
difference in it.

Thanks, thanks a lot for the answer as well. Well, and one of the
last question, what what is actually the message that you would like, you know, to bring
back since Therion always was sort of band which was very popular by the messages if you
get what I mean, you know, you want always to send the sort of message to people that
listen to band, etc. So what is the message with the brand new records? You know, did you
would you like to send to people? Music wise, lyric wise, cover artwork wise, visual wise…

Well, for you that missed the the old Therion I wouldn’t say that It’s the old Therion is
back, but it’s the Therion that you recognize that is back. And as soon as possible,
we will come out and play it live for you. And I hope everybody will love the album as
much as we do

Interview by Marko Miranovic

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