The musical voyage of Therion, that led them from a pure, but atypical Death Metal band to a multi-layered and creative musical chameleon has been spread over four albums, with each one of them taking the band a step further away from their formative roots and into more melodic territories. Therion’s fourth album, ‘Lepaca Kliffoth’, can be seen as their last warming-up record before they got into the Symphonic/Gothic Metal juggernaut they became with releasing the ‘Theli’- and ‘Vovin’-albums in the mid 90’s (quickly forgetting the weird album of ‘A’arb Zaraq – Lucid Dreaming’, which is commonly referred to as Therion’s worst album).
So, with ‘Lepacca Kliffoth’ Therion continues their ambitious journey they started with ‘Beyond Sanctorum’ in 1992. Ridding themselves of the very last bits of Death Metal and making this a typical transitional record. Something like an in-between-record. As with ‘Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas’, this album is not much of an easy one to get through either, as it is a bit of a mixed bag of styles, ideas and intentions. Of course, it has the 90’s Gothic dancefloor hit ‘Beauty In Black’, which got regular play in clubs and appeared on various (Gothic) compilation CD’s from halfway the 90’s, but other than that, ‘Lepaca Kliffoth’ is quite a hard pill to swallow. The symphonic elements are more prominently present but do not come yet as naturally as on ‘Theli’ and at the same time, the ‘metal’ sounds a bit forced and sometimes even out of place. And once more, the vocal limits of Christofer Johnsson becomes increasingly apparent – of course, that can be a matter of taste and perception, but to me his forced way of singing always sounds so outright non-fitting.
What is significant, is the Celtic Frost-cover, ‘Sorrows Of The Moon’, about halfway of the album. Celtic Frost released it on their avant-garde ‘Into The Pandemonium’-album from 1987. This was a period in which the band also explored new musical territory, much away from the primitive roots of their debut album, let alone the origins of Hellhammer (which was actually based on Venom’s ‘In League With Satan’ 45 RPM 12” played at 33 RPM). And just like Hellhammer/Celtic Frost went from a more basic-than-basic approach to a very sophistically, avant-garde and adventurous sound for the albums that would follow, up to today’s Triptykon, Therion went from the guttural and blunt-sounding ‘Time Shall Tell’ to whole different musical territories with the angelic-sounding aforementioned ‘Theli’- or ‘Vovin’-albums – which, on their turn, set the standard for many bands that would go and propel Gothic Metal into unimaginable heights by the late 90’s and early 00’s.
Regardless whether you’ll look at ‘Lepaca Kliffoth’ as a transitional album or more of a visionary record, it is an important stepping stone to what the band later became. That alone is worth it to be brought back to attention, a proper reissue on both CD and vinyl is therefore fully justified – if only for historical value.