What started as more of a way to fill in time during COVID before expanding its reach across three albums, the Leviathan trilogy set in motion in 2021 by Swedish symphonic metal legends Therion finally draws to a close on December 15 with the release of Leviathan III.
It has been a spectacular sonic journey from the band, with each album exploring different musical territory while still paying homage to the sounds that have seen Therion endure more than three decades of sustained success.
Featuring choirs and orchestras and the ever-present operatic mastery of Lori Lewis, Leviathan III is more than just the final chapter of a period of time that tested the resolve of us all. It is also an emphatic statement of individuality from a band that pushes most every conceivable boundary of the metal spectrum and comes up trumps every time.
Vocalist Thomas Vikstrom joined HEAVY from Sweden to help put the final bow on an enduring legacy three years in the making.
We speak with Vikstrom more than one month out from the official release date of the album, so we pose the question of what sorts of emotions this period of inactivity and anticipation evokes.
“The waiting is boring, but it is what it is,” he shrugged. “I’m very pleased with the result, and it will be fun to hear what people think about it. We’re also preparing for going to Mexico in January. We’re going to follow this up with a tour, so we start off in January in Mexico City with a full symphony orchestra this time. Then we’re planning on going through Europe and maybe China. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. It’s funny, because for people this will be a new record, but for me, I have already digested it. For me, it’s not a new record anymore because I’ve heard it so many times.”
It has been an epic journey over three years and three albums in bringing the Leviathan trilogy to life, and we ask Vikstrom if the reality of the process lived up to his expectations.
“That was not the plan from the beginning,” he replied, talking about having an album trilogy. “We started to write for a new album, me and Christopher, and exactly when we started – almost on the day – the COVID came and there was lockdown. I couldn’t go there, and he couldn’t come here, so let’s send files forward and back and write like that, which works good today, actually. It’s a pity we can’t meet, but it did work. Since it was the lockdown it was hysterical. You could go to the supermarket once a day, that was it. So there was not much more to do but write new songs and work and order food from Burger King (laughs). So we started to write, and I was asking Christopher what kind of direction do you want to go with this album and his answer was it’s gonna be good… Okay (laughs). That’s a bit vague (laughs). In the end we had so many songs in different styles, everything from the hardest almost in the borderlines to pop because we just wrote. So Christopher said let’s not make one album, let’s make three and put them out in a short period of time. That’s how the story was.”
In the full interview, Thomas reveals how Leviathan III wraps up the series, the musical aspects to Leviathan III and how they fit together, the vocal dynamics between himself and Lori Lewis and how they structure them, getting the balance between so many eclectic styles of music, the upcoming tour and more.