Therion – Beloved Antichrist

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After 15 years the rock/metal opera project from Christofer Johnsson, guitarist from the Swedish symphonic metal band Therion, results in ‘Beloved Antichrist’, available as a 3-CD digipak (1 CD = 1 act) and as a 6-LP (2 LP’s = 1 act). This rock opera tells a story inspired by Vladímir Soloviov‘s ‘A Short Tale Of The Antichrist’.

At the beginning it was 50% based on Soloviov’s work, but as the songwriting proceeded we changed the story more and more. I would now say it’s rather inspired and partly based on it. Certain scenes are more or less exactly from the book, but most scenes have no connection with it at all. It is simply the main idea of the antichrist character that is very much based on the book. Stories of musicals and operas are either too political, too shallow or too complicated to be good. Those that are exceptions are also the successful ones. We have taken a great story by a classic Russian philosopher and modernised and perfected it into a great new story that could make it worthwhile for a very broad audience. In the book there were only male characters. So the first thing was to get a bit of balance in there. Both for musical reasons and to be able to improve the story. The main opponent of the Antichrist in the book is Elder John and he has a limited role and is a boring old man. So instead, I invented Johanna to take his place. She is like a Joan of Arc inspired character and has now the second most important role in the opera. To make things more typically opera, she is the sister of the Antichrist’s wife (called Helena, also a person we invented), who is trapped between two loyalties.

Explains Johnsson. 15 Swedish opera singers are involved in this project, representing all types of voice (soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, tenor-baritone, baritone and bass). The leading roles are played by Chiara Malvestiti, Lori Lewis, Ulrika Skarby, Lydia Kjellberg, Melissa Verlak and Thomas Vikström, whose daughter Linnea Vikström also participates.

‘Beloved Antichrist’ begins at ease with a choir, which is essential in an opera. After the entrance of the choir the first solo arrives. In opera you don’t question the skills of the singers because they already sing at the highest level. Of course you probably won’t like every voice you hear on this album according to your personal opinion. When you’re listening to this album and you start to wonder when the first song is about to end, you’ll notice you’re already at the fourth song. This is not another album with songs telling a story, this is an opera where the music continues untill the end. It is striking that this album is sung in English, which is different from a classical opera where they sing in German or Italian.

Another element typical of a classical opera is the use of an orchestra, which is also clearly present in this album. I personally hear the piano and strings (violin, viola, double bass and cello) most coming back in ‘Beloved Antichrist’ and I think that is no coincidence. In symphonic metal they will probably use a synthesizer instead of a piano, but they often use strings because they sound so well together with the guitars, the bass and the drums. It’s no surprise Therion used this golden combination in this rock opera.

‘Beloved Antichrist’ is a varied album. Using classic pieces combined with rock and metal sounds we are used to Therion makes the opera more accessible. With 46 songs, this rock opera lasts for 3 hours which is not unusual. Personally, I prefer to watch an opera because then I can fully engage in the story, which is harder for me when I can only hear the music. That’s why I’m very curious about Therion‘s plans to bring this album live. Christofer Johnnson reveals his plans in the next video.

Release date: February 9th, 2018
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
1. Turn From Heaven
2. Where Will You Go
3. Through Dust, Through Rain
4. Signs Are Here
5. Never Again
6. Bring Her Home
7. The Solid Black Beyond
8. The Crowning Of Splendour
9. Morning Has Broken
10. Garden Of Peace
11. Our Destiny
12. Anthem
13. The Palace Ball
14. Jewels From Afar
15. Hail Caesar!
16. What Is Wrong
17. Nothing But My Name
18. The Arrival Of Apollonius
19. Pledging Loyalty
20. Night Reborn
21. Dagger Of God
22. Temple Of New Jerusalem
23. The Lions Roar
24. Bringing The Gospel
25. Laudate Dominum
26. Remaining Silent
27. Behold Antichrist
28. Cursed Be The Fallen
29. Resurrection
30. To Where I Weep
31. Astral Sophia
32. Thy Will Be Done!
33. Shoot Them Down!
34. Beneath The Starry Skies
35. Forgive Me
36. The Wasteland Of My Heart
37. Burning The Palace
38. Prelude To War
39. Day Of Wrath
40. Rise To War
41. Time Has Come Final Battle
42. My Voyage Carries On
43. Striking Darkness
44. Seeds Of Time
45. To Shine Forever
46. Theme Of Antichrist


  • Music9/10
  • Lyrics/Vocals9/10
  • Production/Mix10/10
  • Artwork/Packaging7/10
  • Originality8/10
8.6'Beloved Antichrist' is vocally, musical and rhythmic a varied album. Turning the classic opera into a rock/metal opera makes this album accessible.