Therion Les fleurs du mal

TherionLes fleurs du mal
For the most part, I get (and appreciate) Therion. The quirkiness of their artistic and metallic bombast occupies special place in the metal spectrum. Les fleurs du mal, however, takes a little extra getting used to. Originally released to fans by special pre-order and gig sales, the 15-track album is being described as an "art project" made available only after Therion mastermind Christofer Johnsson reclaimed the record's master tapes from the band's home label, Nuclear Blast. Entirely in French, Les fleurs du mal ("Flowers of Evil") is inspired by, and named after, a controversial collection of poems by Charles Baudelaire. The songs it contains are all covers, ranging much wider than the band's previous dabblings with artists like Abba, placing a particular emphasis on compositions by Serge Gainsbourg. The selections and arrangements vary in their appeal from a rather delightful trio of songs early on ("Une fleur dans le cœur," "Initials B.B." and "Mon amour, mon ami") to others that verge on, and even cross over into, the ridiculous. In a full theatrical performance, even on DVD, that over-the-top nature would be much more effective than on record, where it ultimately falls a little flat. (End of the Light)