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Them Part II: An Amazing Sequel - 100%

caspianrex, December 10th, 2012

I actually put off listening to this sequel to KD's amazing concept album "Them" for quite some time. Because I loved "Them" so much, I didn't see how he could improve on such a masterful work. But, if anything, "Conspiracy" is even better than its predecessor! Gone is the high school acting by the actress who played Missy on the first album. In its place we have some of the most beautiful, powerful horror metal I've ever heard. As several others have remarked here, the opener "At the Graves" is a spectacular way to kick off the album. A music-box style synth sequence combined with King's emotion laden vocals sets a scene of sorrow, which shortly gives way to a bizarre circus/carousel synth sequence followed by an overpowering assault of riffage and King's trademark screams. The rhythm playing is exquisitely precise and the changes in meter don't have the artificial quality of some prog metal, but rather compliment the vocal cadence perfectly. And lest I forget, the solo section in the middle, divided between Andy and Pete, is top notch.

The second track, "Sleepless Nights", is also well worth a mention for its effortless alternation between chugging electric rhythm sequences and haunting acoustic guitar passages. And you just HAVE to love the opening line of the tune: "I cannot sleep at night. That's what the day is for, anyway..." Sheer poetry! I won't bore the reader with a bunch of track-by-track reportage. Other reviewers have done a splendid job of describing the individual tracks. I would, however, like to point out some standout tracks. "Lies" is a suitably schizophrenic blend of riffs as "King" expresses his bitterness and hatred towards the therapist, Dr. Landau. Some wonderful rhythm work and rock solid soloing give the song a powerful headlong rush that is very effective. And some creepy synth effects toward the end of the tune contribute towards the atmosphere of mental breakdown that pervades the track.

The track that I find absolutely infectious is the big, mostly instrumental finale, "Cremation." As King's main character chooses self-immolation in order to get his revenge beyond the grave, the album wraps up with an all-out instrumental assault with synth lines reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's famous "Tubular Bells" (made famous by the soundtrack to The Exorcist). A brilliant bit of instrumental writing to finish the album and King puts the exclamation point at the end as he promises to haunt the "Godforsaken whore." Really, do yourself a favor, if you haven't heard this record, stop reading all these reviews, go to Spotify, and listen to "Conspiracy." You won't regret it. It is, quite simply, a dark metal master at the top of his game. Enjoy.