Therion - Les Fleurs Du Mal

Therion Les Fleurs Du Mal cover
Les Fleurs Du Mal
End of The Light
You gotta give it up to Therion’s Christofer Johnson, for having the balls to do something like this. Never content to “do what is expected of him” and willing to take chances, he decided to abandon the safety of a behemoth like Nuclear Blast, since they deemed the project in question too controversial and risky, to release “L.F.D.M.” on his own, while retaining the relationship with the company for future releases. Props to him for being an ARTIST, above all else! Yet, I can totally understand Nuclear Blast’s stance, as CJ presented them with a Therionized “covers” album and not only that, a covers album of French songs, mainly from the mid-late era of the last century from artists like Léonie Lousseau, France Gall, Serge Gainsbourg etc...
Certainly a daring wager on behalf of Christofer and the band, but one – very easily lost as well.
The “Les Fleurs Du Mal” title refers to Charles Baudelaire’s (French author and poet 1821 - 1867) famous poem collection “Flowers Of Evil” (“Les Fleurs Du Mal” in French) that caused such an upset of emotions in France that the author was brought to court and got fined for “insulting the public” with six of the poems, that remained forbidden in France until 1949 when the ban was finally lifted.
Musically, things are as one would expect them, more or less and most of the songs are “translated” into Therion’s style, quite successfully. What I am guessing is the cardinal sin of the project, is the fact that the singers are not native Francophones so the accents, sound a bit, well not necessarily off, but I suppose, different than what they should. The fact that pop tunes are also transposed in a rock-classical style is not helping the vocalists either, to sound THAT close to the original vocal lines. They do a pretty commendable job however. The use of the French language, however sensual and pleasing to the ear it may be, is sure, to estrange the general public quite a bit. The project may be particularly marketable in French speaking territories, but… you can certainly appreciate Nuclear Blasts trepidation about releasing it!
It’s really hard to try and grade the album, as there’s nothing principally wrong with it, but it’s non-canonical nature alone, places it, quite separately from the band’s other works… hence I’d advise people to check some samples first, before they get it. A few spins, actually, allowed it to become accepted, by me, but it’s not a certain fact that every fan of the band may feel the same way. Some (particularly Francophones) may embrace it, while others will simply say that Therion has lost the plot! All I can say, is that I can’t wait for CJ’s opera piece. I wonder if it’s still going to be the same “Master & Margarita” piece he intends to put to music and prose, or if he’s opted for something completely different! At any rate, I salute the ARTIST and his troupe for the bravery they have displayed in releasing something so “left-field”.