Symphonic Metal pioneers Therion, led by mastermind Christofer Johnsson, will be making their way to Australian shores for the very first time in September! This is a landmark moment in the band’s three decade career, as well as a fitting time for them to tour, having this year released their operatic opus ‘Beloved Antichrist’ into the world. Therion will perform selected scenes from their Metal opera, as well as highlights from across their career, on three East Coast dates.

Christofer Johnsson

On finally making it to Australia, Johnsson enthuses, “We are thrilled! I’ve been trying for 20 years to make this happen. I mean, the band has been around for 31 years. We had the first offer to go to Australia about 20 years ago, and it didn’t work because we were too many people in the band, so it was too expensive. And then we kept getting offers over the years, but it was never enough to bring the band over. So now,” Johnsson says with pride, “for the first time ever, it’s actually happening.”

That being said, Johnsson doesn’t anticipate too many surprises from the Metal community in Australia. “I think it will be pretty much the same as everywhere. You know, Metal fans are Metal fans. You can play China or Europe or Russia or the US, they’re pretty much the same. The people are different, but when you play a Metal concert, it’s like a global subculture, you know? And that’s what I really like with the Metal subculture. You really can relate to people, wherever you are in the world. That’s pretty cool. I guess the experience of actually being in Australia will be different for me,” Johnsson goes on. “When we have a day off there will obviously be different things to see. We can pet koalas and ride kangaroos, something like that,” he says wryly. “But when you do have a day off, that’s the time when you have a chance to really see something of the country, because when you don’t have a day off, you just see a concert hall, an airport, a hotel, and that tends to be the same everywhere. But we do have a day off, so I really look forward to actually seeing something when we finally get there.

“And you know what,” he recollects, “when I was five years old, four years, something like that, I actually lied to my neighbours, because I had seen Australia on TV or something, but I told my neighbours, ‘I’m going to move!’ ‘Oh, really, where?’ ‘Australia.’ ‘Oh, really? What do you parents think about that?’ And they started to talk in our street, you know, and ask my parents, ‘I heard you’re going to go to Australia, but why didn’t you say anything about that?’ So I was always very passionate about Australia, because of having all the creepiest animals, like the most toxic spiders and snakes and all that. So it’s great to have an opportunity to actually see something, because it’s kind of depressing that I’ve been to over 60 countries but in most of the countries I’ve seen nothing except hotels, airports, stuff like that.”

While Therion will play songs from throughout their career, they will certainly be playing songs from their new opera, ‘Beloved Antichrist,’ of which Johnsson relates, “People regard it as an album, and that’s not really correct. If I said, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ you would never refer to that as an album. You can buy ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ as a record, but you wouldn’t refer to it as an album. And it’s the same thing, we wrote a rock musical, written and intended for staging a full theatrical performance. But due to financial reasons, we had to make the release first, and then we decided let’s just do a regular tour and play a few themes from the musical, as well as regular songs, and we’ll do the theatrical staging later on. Unfortunately this has led to people believing that it’s some sort of gigantic, three-CD album, but it’s not a rock opera, which is good, but it’s just an album with a story and a few different things. This is a theatrical stage work, and that’s how it should be viewed. So before you’ve seen it staged in full, it’s hard to actually understand what we’re trying to do with it. So that’s the only thing I see as negative, that people don’t really know what we’re trying to do here, or what they’re really listening to. But saying that, the reactions on tour have been very good. The fact that so many people actually really like it, even as an album, has been very surprising. I thought it would be too thematic for somebody to just listen to like an album, because once you’ve seen it staged, you will relate to the music in a different way. Basically all of the music has been composed to enhance what’s going on, on stage. You have dialogues, monologues, whatever, but when you see what is really happening, it’s like a film soundtrack. If you have a love theme, you can’t have a blast beat Death Metal song, you have music that suits that scene. And a lot of the music on ‘Beloved Antichrist’ is the type of music that we wouldn’t write normally, but it’s needed for the scene. So I totally think people will have a different angle once it’s been staged. Most people probably won’t see it on stage, but at least they can buy the DVD of it, or watch it on YouTube or whatever.”

Therion will be hitting Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney along with international guests The Devil, so be sure you get your tickets for this once in a lifetime experience!