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Atmosphere - 93%

darkandfoul, May 8th, 2004

Atmosphere. Creepy, scary… dripping with atmosphere! “Conspiracy” is a concept album with a completely stupid story line, yet it still to this day maintains its dark and sinister feeling… and that’s what this album is all about. Creating a feeling, and playing on the feelings it creates. The songs penetrate your mind, and as you listen to the album, you can’t help but try and sing along with King Diamond as he shrills out “sleepless nights” or “spirits, rising from their grave”. That voice is truly unique, no matter how he achieves it.

The guitar work is sensational. Absolute virtuoso stuff, with incredible solos and harmonic pinches that match the shrill squeal of the vocals. Just listening to the guitars is well worth having this album.

All the songs are killers. There’s not a dud amongst them. The only problem is the totally dumb lyrics.

“At The Graves” starts with the standard King Diamond creepy intro. The beginning of the song hooks you straight away, as King sings “rise, rise, rise” and then breaks into his trademark falsetto. Great stuff.

“Sleepless Nights” begins with a great classical guitar intro, further showcasing some awesome guitar work. King tells us he “cannot sleep at night, that’s what the day is for anyway.” Then it kicks into a killer faster riff, and the song never looks back. Plenty of changes throughout the song, with a unique song structure that visits and revisits a number of riffs.

“Lies” continues to impress, again with a catchy chorus and some excellent guitars. King’s voice runs through the whole scale of lows and highs in this song, again adding to the overall atmosphere of the song.

“A Visit From The Dead” has yet another catchy chorus, this time mixing things up a bit with a slower bit between the “must be a visit from the dead” vocals. Look out for a killer guitar solo in this song.

“The Wedding Dream” is a paradoxical song. While being a great song to listen to, the lyrics are just plain dumb. The lyrics do detract from the song. With King’s voice, it’s very easy to understand exactly what he’s saying. And what he’s saying, or singing, is pretty stupid. It’s actually kind of amusing in some ways. At the same time, this is a great song, hence the paradox. I can’t help but sing along and get captured by the song. But always, in the back of my mind is the knowledge that these lyrics are really that bad.

“Amon Belongs To Them” for me is the weakest song on the album. It’s still a great song, and ties the story together nicely. Again, more great guitar work, but not as catchy as the other songs on the album.

From here on in, the album really winds down. There’s an instrumental track (“Something Weird”), followed by “Victimized” (again, another catchy chorus), and then two more instrumental tracks to bring the album to a close.

All in all, a great album. Not too many bands these days manage to create such a dark and sinister atmosphere, and King Diamond does it without extremity, blast speed drumming or extreme vocals. Just good old traditional heavy metal drums and guitars, a very hight pitched voice, and some background keyboard / organs.