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Quite alright - 80%

kluseba, December 17th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent

Twenty-one years after its last release, Norwegian progressive power metal quartet Conception is back with an extended play entitled My Dark Symphony. This is also the first release involving former Kamelot singer Roy Khan since Poetry for the Poisoned eight years earlier.

The beginning of this extended play made me a little bit nervous. The instrumental opener ''re:conception'' doesn't impress much and ''Grand Again'' starts with chugging riffs and heavily processed vocals reminding of Queensryche's infamous records released about a decade ago. Less than a minute into the second song, Roy Khan's charismatic low clean vocals appear and sound as if he had never been away from the metal scene. The track offers complex songwriting with unusual distorted guitar sounds, menacingly looming symphonic backdrops and rhythmic drum passages that need some time to grow. It's an ambitious track that is hard to digest but has the potential to grow.

After a slightly underwhelming start, Conception offers four tracks that prove that this band isn't only back for good but maybe stronger than ever. ''Into the Wild'' sounds like intellectual contemporary progressive rock with smoothly integrated electronic beats and hypnotizing vocals. ''Quite Alright'' has an eerie atmosphere with vocal samples that is contrasted by an almost airy chorus that. ''The Moment'' features fragile piano sounds and almost jazzy rhythms that lead towards a harmonious gothic rock chorus that is simply unforgettable. I would describe it as the best track on this release. Closing title track ''My Drak Symphony'' does its title justice and is indeed the most symphonic song, influenced by epic movie or video game soundtracks. The almost oriental guitar solo and the hypnotizing vocals blend in perfectly and make the song varied and atmospheric through six entertaining minutes.

While the opening duo is average at best, the final four songs are atmospheric, diversified and innovative progressive music with electronic and symphonic inspirations. It's a very promising release that shows that the band hasn't come back to cash in after twenty-one years but wants to release new relevant material. Fan reactions are overwhelmingly positive and while I'm a little bit more cautious, I have to agree that this extended play has such a unique sound that I can't wait to hear more from the Norwegian veterans soon.