Therion - A'arab Zaraq - Lucid Dreaming (1997) - Unstable compilation with many lengths - 48% (11/12/14)
In its long career, Therion has released two limited compilation efforts that are nonetheless considered by the band to be regular full lengths releases. The first of these has the weird title A’arab Zaraq – Lucid Dreaming. It was released as a ten year anniversary album, and is really for faithful fans and collectors only. Occasional listeners really don’t need this offering that is by all usual measures of the band, very sub-average.
The most interesting songs on this output are the first two, which are entirely new songs left over from the Theli sessions. Both songs are atmospheric gothic doom metal tracks but don’t have the symphonic majesty and the creative classical influences of the songs on the previous output. These tracks are still diverse and enjoyable enough to listen to, but don’t impress me as much as any other songs from Theli. The next couple of songs are cover tracks and re-recordings of Therion’s past efforts. The progressive take on the Scorpions’ “Fly To The Rainbow” is definitely the highlight amongst these, and one of Therion’s best cover tracks ever.
All other songs here are connected with a soundtrack to an obscure movie entitled “The Golden Embrace” that was directed by Per Albinsson. These tracks are mostly instrumental and have much more to do with pure symphonic and classical music with an occult atmosphere than with metal. These songs inspire images in my mind and develop a certain kind of dark but elegant atmosphere. It’s really the kind of thing to listen to in your bed at night with your headphones on. After a while, the tracks become more than a bit repetitive, and the orchestrations by the Barmbek Symphonic Orchestra sound artificial and limited, as if they were cheap keyboard sounds rather than actual orchestral passages. Maybe this negative effect is also due to a limited budget at that time, as the compositional efforts themselves are not bad per se.
In the end, this compilation offers only a handful of interesting songs. Later on, Therion combined the best material of this release with the greatest songs from the other compilation entitled Crowning Of Atlantis, which was to be released in 1999. This combination, called Atlantis Lucid Dreaming and released in 2005, is worth a purchase if seen for a reasonable price. Otherwise, this record was only an appetizer for the growing fan base between the brilliant records of Theli and Vovin. This release is for die-hard fans only.
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