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Conception - My Dark Symphony

My Dark Symphony
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 12 January 2019, 10:09 AM

CONCEPTION is a Norwegian hard rock band known for melodic and rhythmic music of a unique, powerful, yet dynamic blend, with influences from flamenco, jazz and classical music. Formed in 1989, they are back now after nearly 20 years with “My Dark Symphony.”
“Reconception” is a short, one-minute instrumental opener, with a beating heart and some ambient background music that builds into “Grand Again.” The sound is aggressive and choppy and Roy’s signature voice is on full display, with his thick vibrato and reaching to far heights. “Into the Wild” is a slightly longer track, opening with soft and steady drums and the sleek, sexy voice of Roy Khan. The guitars hold down an aggressive edge while the vocals provide most of the melody. The guitar solo is both thoughtful and dexterous.

“Quite Alright” opens with a groovy bass line and subtle melodies. From there is stays pretty grounded, bubbling with a dark energy and heaviness, but never really reaching out. “The Moment” has a tender opening sound, with vocals that seem to hang on a passing breeze. The chorus is full on with vocal harmonies but don’t seem to connect well with the verses. It’s almost as if you are listening to two different songs. The title track, “My Dark Symphony,” closes the album. It opens with some light strings and an ominous tone. It is melancholy and murky, a lament of sorts.

Maybe I’ve been under a rock for 30 years, but I don’t think this is the case here. Although Roy Khan is very well known for being the former lead singer of KAMELOT, and his voice is still very strong, the album underwhelmed me in several areas. It seemed to meander a bit, never really gaining focus long enough to establish a solid sound. It didn’t venture out much either, preferring to remain idly in melancholy. Last, it didn’t have much in the way of textures, so it wasn’t very exciting. It’s not a production thing either, as the production was clear. Perhaps this is a side effect of this being their first album in many years. Let’s hope so.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 4
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Reconception
2. Grand Again
3. Into the Wild
4. Quite Alright
5. The Moment
6. My Dark Symphony
Roy Khan – Vocals
Tore Ostby – Guitars
Ingar Amilen – Bass
Arve Heimdal – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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