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The Last Sunset

Conception - The Last Sunset ©1993 Noise
1. Prevision
2. Building A Force
3. War Of Hate
4. Bowed Down With Sorrow
5. Fairy's Dance
6. Another World
7. Elegy
8. The Last Sunset
9. Live To Survive
10. Among The Gods

The Last Sunset was Conception's debut disc. It almost serves as a sampler of the different styles Conception fleshed out in their brief career. Tore Ostby really shines on this disc as the front man for the group. He plays the field from power chops to classical fretwork to scorching solo work that will amaze you. He is among the most talented guitarists in heavy metal music today. The Last Sunset featured newcomer vocalist Roy S. Khantatat. His name was shortened to Roy Khan on the subsequent discs and now that he is with Kamelot, is just Khan. Perhaps signing autographs was becoming laborious? No matter, this disc gives the listener an earful of Khan's initial foray into the realm of progressive metal vocalization. His voice on this disc is nowhere near what it today. His singing lacked the warmth and confidence he has now. The production and play is pretty raw, but it doesn't detract from the content. The songs don't have a cohesive feel to them, not surprising since it is their debut. Nor are all of them gripping and satisfying. "Bowed Down With Sorrow" is monotonous and grinding. However, there are some real gems on this disc. The ten minute epic, "Among The Gods," is a great tune. The outstanding guitar playing over the whole disc makes it well worth the effort it takes to find a copy. It can be a very difficult disc to locate.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 07/2000

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Parallel Minds

Conception - Parallel Minds ©1993 Noise
1. Water Confines
2. Roll The Fire
3. And I Close My Eyes
4. Silent Crying
5. Parallel Minds
6. Silver Shine
7. My Decision
8. The Promiser
9. Wolf's Lair
10. Soliloquy

Coming only a few months after the release of their debut CD, The Last Sunrise, Conception's second release helped define the band as a progressive metal force with which to be reckoned. Hailing from Norway and driven by a tremendous amount of talent, Conception delivers a real powerhouse album here. While it may lack the cohesiveness of In Your Multitude or the, well, flow of Flow, this release helped to flesh out the sound that was all their own. Fronted by the amazing Tore Ostby on guitar, Roy Khan's great voice, and the very talented Ingar Amlien on bass guitar, Conception's second CD is chock full of heavy driving progressive power metal.

I admit I am a big fan of Conception . . . I do have two kids, after all.

Okay, that was probably a bad joke which could explain why I don't make my living doing stand-up comedy.

But I am a big fan of the band Conception. I'd run out of superlatives before I'd finish telling you how technically wonderful these guys are. Tore Ostby is a phenomenal guitarist, able to deliver chugging riffs, a wonderful change-up style stuttering chop that is his trademark, and haunting classical guitar work on demand. His styles change at the drop of a hat compelling your attention to the music. Roy Khan, now with Kamelot, has one of the very best voices in progressive metal, warm and inviting, clean and clear. Ingar Amlien is simply a stellar bassist, consistently delivering clean licks that meld and merge with Tore's lead lines so well. Sometimes he plays so fast you'd swear he has sixteen fingers.

Musically, this disc is heavier than your average Dream Theater influenced band. These guys are no clone though. They define their own corner of progressive metal with a complex, layered sound that is richly melodic and powerful. The playing is very good on all fronts. Khan's singing is exceptional. The vocal arrangements are consistently good. The rhythm and double-bass runs are fast and clean. This disc is accessible on all levels. Tighter and more focused than The Last Sunset, this was a significant and huge step forward for Conception. This was a band that did not so much step forward as surge forward. Amazing stuff!

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2000

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In Your Multitude

Conception - In Your Multitude ©1995 Noise
1. Under A Mourning Star
2. Missionary Man
3. Retrospect
4. Guilt
5. Sanctuary
6. A Million Gods
7. Some Wounds
8. Carnal Comprehension
9. Solar Serpent
10. In Your Multitude

True to form, Conception leaps ahead with this release. Powerful, melodic, driving and intense, this album delivers solidly produced metal. Khan, Ostby, Amlien and Heidal take us on an introspective journey that searches the soul on a spiritual level. Every aspect of style, play, singing, and production are several steps ahead of Parallel Minds.

This album is as far ahead musically for Conception as it is in concept and depth. The complexity of this CD shows how the band has matured. The songs are consistently intricate and involved. Ostby's staggered chops abound and Khan's mellow vocals carry an emotional level not previously attained on the first two discs. Tore Ostby's playing is at one moment wailing, bluesy and emotional, at the next crushingly powerful. He covers the waterfront of guitar styles on this CD with a proficiency that is awesome to hear. His guitar carries the music, propels the music, at times hurling it with force against the listener. At other times his play sneaks past you with a mesmerizing subtlety only to leap out and startle you. There are places on the disc where you don't think his play can get any faster and then it does. Keeping up with him is the rest of the band with a great bass/rhythm thread and keys that dance in and out. Ingar Amlien's bass guitar thrums right along with a very noticeable line that will enthrall you for the whole ride. It is a real testimony to the talent of this band that once they hook you, you stay hooked for the duration. Not content to just hook you, they reel you in and then let the line play out again, teasing you with the variety of style and level of intensity on this disc.

The songs on this disc have a true cohesive feel. The lyrics are almost conceptual in nature, though I have not seen this disc referred to as a concept disc by anyone else. There is a sense of searching, a journey of self-discovery embedded in the words of these songs. Khan's voice really delivers the goods with his wide range and smooth singing style. His voice stands head and shoulders above most other singers and is really brought out on tracks like "A Million Gods" and "Some Wounds". It would be very difficult to pick a stand out track on this CD since they are all meritorious.

Is this the best Conception CD? I'd say it is a toss-up between this one and Flow. It depends on your musical tastes. If you like hard as nails, smooth as silk power metal, then this is the disc for you. If on the edge, push the envelope music is more your style, then you'll probably prefer Flow. Personally, I'll take one of each, thank you. Any way you look at them, Conception are a fantastic band and a welcome addition to any power/progressive/heavy metal fans collection.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2000

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Conception - Flow ©1997 Noise
1. Gethsemane
2. Angle (Come Walk With Me)
3. A Virtual Lovestory
4. Flow
5. Cry
6. Reach Out
7. Tell Me When I'm Gone
8. Hold On
9. Cardinal Sin
10. Would It Be The Same

This disc is another giant leap for musickind. With the tremendous growth and change this band has produced, it is hard to understand why Noise discontinued interest in them. Singer Roy Khan has taken up with Kamelot. Guitarist Tore Ostby has joined forces with former Royal Hunt vocalist D.C. Cooper on Cooper's solo career. I don't know where Ingar Amlien and Arve Heimdal will surface, but they will be a great addition to whomever snaps them up.

As a final CD, Conception could not possibly have done any better than they did with Flow. Energetic, on the edge, in your face one minute, tapping you on the shoulder the next, this CD offers something for everyone. Awesome production, terrific singing, stellar guitar work, and a bass line that is positively orgasmic song after song, make this a must have CD.

The Bass! The Bass! The Bass! How fast can Amlien play? How many fingers does he have? Clean and clear, his bass line is one that you feel deep in your chest at sufficient volume, and this disc demands to be played loudly. Ranging from back water Mississippi blues to no holds barred power metal, the bass line is thrilling to hear. Good? Oh my goodness, yes. Amlien's play on In Your Multitude only hinted at this level of talent. I don't know that I have ever heard bass guitar as skillfully played as on this disc.

Not to be overlooked is Tore Ostby's performance on guitar. This guy's technical proficiency is breathtaking. His stylish stuttering change-up chops are mixed up with his soaring, wild leads. The play, at times, is full speed ahead, slam you against the wall music. At other times it is subtle and contemplative, emotional and impassioned. Tore's style and play are continuously reaching for the next higher level. I think one of the reasons I so enjoy his playing is that he is not content to rest on his laurels, but constantly challenges himself to an even higher standard of play, and constantly rises to the challenge.

Did I mention how great the bass playing is?

Khan's singing is as versatile as ever. On this disc he experiments with different styles and consistently delivers great results. On every level, this band continues to reach beyond themselves to produce something larger than the sum of their parts. The amazing thing is that they constantly hit the mark, move the mark even further and hit it again.

Though perhaps not as guitar fueled as In Your Multitude, this disc shows a band moving as one, playing together as a unit to produce some memorable music. Had they remained together, they could have easily become the greatest progressive power metal band there is. While they may no longer be together, we can happily listen to where they went with this CD and the others before it.

Oh my goodness, the bass!

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2000

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