Swedish vocalist Mats Levén (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, THERION, KRUX, TREAT, AT VANCE) has commented on his decision to leave THERION prior to the band's appearance at this year's Wacken Open Air festival in early August. His replacement in the group will be Thomas Vikström, who is best known to metal fans as the voice behind CANDLEMASS' "Chapter VI" album (1992).
Said Levén: "Yep, now it's official that I won't play anymore with THERION after Hellfest in June.
"The reason is simply that since we started to use four lead vocalists on tour, I found myself doing more backing vocals and guitar playing etc. than actual lead vocals.
In the beginning I tried to tell myself that I would get used to it, but I didn't really...
"I gave all I had during the few numbers I sang lead and it was especially great to feel the fans' response during 'Son of the Staves of Time' (that the THERION guys were kind enough to let me write on 'Gothic Kabbalah'). Still, when I got off stage — something just didn't feel right. It felt too much like a job, and that's not a good sign.
"Note that I totally supported the lineup change for the 2007 tour, so those problems were partly self-inflicted.
"When I started to tour with THERION in 2004, my role on stage with THERION was very different compared to this year. I actually think it was a much better, more interesting performance by THERION now in 2007 in every way including the stage production...but it just didn't please my own heart and soul enough in the end.
"Anyway, I'm happy that Thomas Vikström will be the new singer. He's a good friend of mine and a very, very competent singer.
"I will now focus on my own projects including the S&M album [collaboration with drummer/songwriter Snowy Shaw (THERION, KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, MEMENTO MORI, NOTRE DAME)].
"So, a big thanks to everyone in THERION and all the other session singers I've shared the stage with the last three years. Many cool memories. I'd also like to thank the road crews, especially Peach and Parschau, who've been working on practically all the 130+ shows.
"Finally, a mega-thanks to all you fans who came to see THERION or just mailed your support — I hope I'll see you all again in the future!"
THERION's latest studio album, the dual-disc "Gothic Kaballah", was released in North America on February 6 via Nuclear Blast Records.