Conception - My Dark Symphony

Conception My Dark Symphony EP cover
Conception
My Dark Symphony
Independent Release
2018
8
Average: 9.9 (8 votes)
“My Dark Symphony” is the first release for Norwegian Prog demi-gods, Conception in over two decades. Reuniting the band as they were then, the EP is both a reminder of how melodic and pleasant these guys sounded and a love letter to all their fans who seemed to “remember” them, after turning their backs, when they released the ahead of its time opus “Flow” in 1997 that sold so poorly that prompted them to disband and led Roy Khan across the pond to US power metallers Kamelot and Tore Østby to releasing a couple of artistically lofty albums with Jorn Lande on vocals and John Macaluso on drums under the Ark banner. Ingar Amlien had always kept the Crest Of Darkness clan going and that’s what he did during all that time, while, I’m not sure what Arve Heimdal, the drummer was doing, in all honesty, as he didn’t surface in some international release of renown that I am aware of.
 
Onto the music though. The EP opens with the mysterious percussive intro “Re:Conception” that features delicate cymbal hits and the rumbling of the harmonies of the chorus of the true opener “Grand Again”, building up and leading to it. Ah “Grand Again” has a very “Flow”-ydian touch that’s a bit reminiscent of say “Angel”, maybe? The heavily processed (vocally) verses estranged me a bit – true, but the chorus brings things full circle into “classic” Conception style and it’s a blessing to listen to Ostby soloing in his inimitable style after such a long time. He is in a league of his own and has a sound that’s quite unique. It’s a song about losing oneself to “fame” a taste of which Roy Khan had, so it might be semi-biographic.
 
“Into the Wild” is softer, almost poppier at first, but lyrically a song of empowerment and almost resistance and even rebellion against losing one’s humanity.
 
Quite Alright” also has this post-“Flow” sound and verses that almost work until its chorus sets everything alright. It’s a little prog-pop ditto, a sad song, probably from the aspect of a divorcee who’s bowed down with sorrow (to quote/reference TLS) real or fantasy, it’s not a certainty, but it’s also a healing song, a song about moving on. Quite the catharsis.
 
“The Moment” is a rather odd song that, I cannot really put my finger on, it begins softly with pianos and erupts from its rather melancholic verses into a way too happy chorus with voices in unison, almost like something that one would expect to hear around the fall of the season. Weird. It’s bright & joyous solo is nice but as a song I feel it sounds more like a mishmash of ideas thrown together, than something planned. Maybe I am terribly wrong, but I suppose an interview, might help shade some light on such issues. Still I would have liked it switched with the non EP “Feather Moves” track.
 
Last but not least, come the title track “My Dark Symphony”, a song that initially had me thinking this sounds pretty Kam-Chan like, but its preciously melodic vocal lines, while steeped in melancholy also have an air of grandeur and splendor that Kamelot have not captured, since I dunno, maybe “Ghost Opera”? Fantastic chorus and a measured sweet and to the point solo that feels integral to this “dark” masterpiece that’s adorned by the most Sethian cover Sazes has done in a while.
 
At any rate, without trying hard, Conception manage to sound unique, iconoclastic and forward thinking as they were when they burst onto the scene some twenty years ago. Please, can you stick around for the next twenty then?!

“Re:Conception” is a propomp single of the “My Dark Symphony” EP that Conception releases before 2018 leaves us. It consists pretty much of the mysterious percussive intro “Re:Conception” that features delicate cymbal hits and the rumbling of the harmonies of the chorus of the true opener “Grand Again”, building up and leading to it. The heavily processed (vocally) verses, estranged me a bit – true, but the chorus brings things full circle into “classic” Conception style. It’s a song about losing oneself to “fame” a taste of which, Roy Khan had, so it might be semi-biographic. Also on offer is the non EP track “Feather’s Move”, whose aesthetics are very much rooted in the “In Your Multitude” school of thought and that fact alone makes it ever more likable. If someone told me this was a song from those sessions, I would have little doubt about it, which speaks volumes about the band being able to “recapture” their essence. The lyrics are poetic, somewhat sorrowful, but not entirely pessimist. Also the cover of the single is a nod to their classic “Parallel Minds” release.

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