Conception - The Last Sunset (CSF) 1991
This CD showed up in a package with a bunch of other CDs and was one of the few I didn't recognize. Conception? Who the heck are they? Well, it didn't take long to find out. A quick search on-line revealed that Conception are a fairly popular metal band from Norway with a fairly long history. Most sites I found labeled the band as progressive metal. That may be true on follow-up albums, but on this, their debut, Conception play solid, classic, heavy metal with touches of speed metal and only a slight progressive flare. After a short intro, the band burst's into a speed metal number aptly titled "Building a Force" complete with clean, melodic vocals. Actually, vocalist Roy Khantatat (Kamelot) has a fairly distinctive style that can be a bit haunting. "War of Hate" continues the metal onslaught, however, this song breaks into a latin, acoustic guitar section in the middle that is actually pretty cool. "Bowed Down..." is a slow, doomy cut. Once again on this track, I find Roy's high, clean vocals to be a bit haunting. Very cool. "Fairy's Dance" continues in the classic metal mode, upping the aggression and tempo a bit. "Another World" kicks the tempo up one more notch and pushes closer to speed metal. As with the other tracks, I find Roy's high, smooth voice laid over the crunchy riffs to be infectious. This song is also fairly progressive with a few tempo changes, although not to the point that I would describe this band as "prog". "Elegy" is a short instrumental that leads into the title track which is one of the more progressive and melodic songs on the disc. It's easy to see why this band headed into a more progressive direction after their debut after hearing this song. "Live to Survive" is a straight forward, head banging metal song straight out of the 80's. The band finishes off with an epic track that is also fairly progressive, mixing heavy riffs with more of those latin, acoustic guitar parts and tons of tempo changes. To be quite honest, it took me several listens to finally get all that was going on here but once I did, I really enjoyed what the band had to offer.
Apparently the version I have, pictured above, is pretty rare. Noise Records re-released this CD in 1993 with a different cover and apparently slightly brighter mastering. According to one site that I read, the original has a slightly better sound.