Live Coverage || Therion, Serpent Noir, Gentihaa @ Piraeus Club Academy (15/01/2023)

Our first big show of 2023 was none other than the Swedish symphonic metal pioneers Therion. The band, armed with the second opus of their Leviathan trilogy, returned to Athens on January 15th for a bombastic sold out show. 

Words: Eleonora Chatzopoulou, Ofilia Makrygianni

It was 20:30 when the first opening band of the evening, Gentihaa, took the stage and got straight to business. Their energetic frontman was constantly interacting with the crowd, breaking the ice and potential awkwardness of the opener. The quintet had a pretty good sound from the get-go, quickly overcoming some minor technical issues, which allowed them to fully unfold all facets of their groovy blackened metal. Despite having a bunch of unreleased material (thanks miss 'rona!), the setlist revolved around their 2019 full length album, with the band rightly earning a very warm welcome from the crowd. 

Serpent Noir and their occult-themed music resembled more to an invitation to a black mass. With black candles and incense burning, the band took the stage with an incantation/invocation of sorts. Admittedly this wasn't the type of sound you would expect at this show but the black metallers gave us a run for our money. More composed and reserved than the previous act, Serpent Noir unleashed their black metal assault, successfully catching the ear eye of a good part of the crowd. 

With a 30-minute delay, the headliners for the evening excitedly walked on stage under Carl Orff's "O Fortuna", which quickly transitioned into "Blood Of Kingu". Despite the smaller stage, Therion are veterans who know how to captivate the audience and that's exactly what they did. Chiara Malvestiti and Rosalia Sairem introduced the next song, "Birth Of Venus Illegitima", followed by "Litany Of The Fallen". The band was feeding off the energy of the crowd, which became louder with every song. Vocalist Thomas Vikström, true to his usual stage persona, was cracking jokes and constantly interacting with his bandmembers, hyping the fans even more to participate and sing along. And he succeeded; by the time "Wine Of Aluqah" and "Cults Of the Shadow" resounded, there were massive singalongs over the guitar melodies. 
Fitting a discography of over 30 years in a 90-minute setlist can be challenging, especially while promoting a new album, but the Swedes managed to craft a beautiful, nostalgia-filled selection of songs. It was lovely to see that how new songs translate live, and of course how well-received they are. "Pazuzu" and "Codex Gigas" ended in loud applauds, giving way to "Son Of The Staves Of Time" which ended the main set. After a brief pause, Therion returned on stage for the encore under loud cheers and performed "The Rise Of Sodom & Gomora" and, naturally, "To Mega Therion". Christofer Johnsson took the microphone to thank people for their continuous support and attempted to get one final reaction out of us, with a rather unfortunate joke. Despite that, the final song went out with a bang, and people at that point practically screaming the lyrics. 
After an hour and a half, the band said their goodbyes and promised to come back soon. The show was for the books; Therion came, saw and conquered Athens once more. Hopefully the next time they come back they will be able to present the entire Leviathan trilogy in all its glory.

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