Album: "Les Fleurs Du Mal"
Style: Symphonic Metal
Release date: 2012-09-28
1. Poupée de cire, poupée de son
2. Une fleur dans le cœur
3. Initials B.B.
4. Mon amour, mon ami
6. La Maritza
7. Sœur angélique
8. Dis-moi poupée
10. En Alabama
11. Wahala manitou
12. Je n'ai besoin que de tendresse
13. La licorne d'or
14. J'ai le mal de toi
15. Poupée de cire, poupée de son
16. Les Sucettes
About ten years ago, I made the dreadful decision to actually tattoo symphonic/operatic metal band Therion's kliffoth-star on my right arm. Although the tattoo itself doesn't look entirely like horseshit, had I been given another chance, I sure as hell would have chosen another motif today. It is now obvious that I must have been drugged...
Anyway, me and Therion go way back and I have sort of enjoyed all their different phases during the years, some to a little less extent than others, but I've always managed to find something salvageable on each and every album they've done. That is, until "Sitra Ahra" was released in 2010 - because that album was one of the most boring experiences I've ever endured - the entire Opeth-discography included.
Well, now they are back with a new album, that apparently is self-released (without the help of a label) and is only being sold at concerts (as of right now at least). I have always been comfortable that Therion never does the obvious and I have been able to accept the weird choices they've done over the years. But I never imagined the band going completely bonkers and make an entire album (that's 16 songs and 45+ minutes) with only covers of 60s/70s French pop music! Sung in French!
But now here I find myself sitting and listening to an album called "Les Fleurs Du Mal" (which apparently means something like "Flowers of Evil") and I'm sure there's a really interesting concept behind it all, but I want to focus purely on the music - because that's what I did that summer back in 1996 when I first heard "Theli" and the music blew my mind away.
As the case was with the band's last travesty, "Sitra Ahra", here they also try to cover as many spectra of music as possible and they're ranging from power metal to progressive to pop and just plain weird. There are some redeeming qualities here, such as the opening track which actually manages to sound a little bit like Therion and the beautiful "Sœur angélique" which kind of makes me want to hear the original. But there are way too many parts where you can hear that these tracks originally were pop music, thus draining the guitars or either just ends up sounding so far from metal as you can get. For example, "Wahala Manitou" does it's best to fuse jazz with metal and the result is plain dreadful. Thankfully, at least the songs are short - the longest clocking in at 4.35.
I can enjoy Lori Lewis' voice to some extent, but here it just becomes too much to hear the same operatic whining in track after track - especially when it's sung in French. Thomas Vikström is a very overrated vocalist and will perhaps always be best remembered for singing on the album that most Candlemass-fans dislike to this day. His voice works at some places, but for the most part he just sounds out of place, check out the dreadful track 12 for proof of that. Snowy Shaw makes a guest appearance on track 8, but what's the point in hearing a "fresh" voice when the music to said track are as exciting as watching seagulls fight over food.
I could go on and on about the embarrassing music on "Les Fleurs Du Mal" but I'll spare you the rest and proclaim this:
The biggest problem I have with the album is the fact that it is an entire cover album, even though it's a bit different due to the fact that the original music is French pop music from the 60's and 70's. Metal or no metal (and I am no stranger to other genres) still doesn't change the fact that the majority of these songs are plain boring and gives me very little sonic pleasure. Whether it's the songs chosen to cover or if the band's reworking of these is the main problem, I have no idea. All I know is that somewhere along the line, things went downhill very fast for Therion. The last truly good and consistent album the band released was "Secret of the Runes" and that was in 2001. You can easily die without shame not ever having listened at all to this crap.