MY DARK SYMPHONY [EP]
Conception Sound Factory
Release: November 23, 2018
News of a Conception reunion with Roy Khan took the metal community by storm earlier this year and fans have been patiently waiting for the release of the EP “My Dark Symphony” ever since it was announced. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the band released the singles “Grand Again” and “Feathers Move” on November 2, under the title “Re:Conception”, with the 6-track EP set for release on November 23. Conception is a Norwegian power / progressive metal band originally active between 1989 and 1998, during which time they released four studio albums. The classic line-up of the band consists of Roy Khan (vocals), Tore Østby (guitars), Ingar Amlien (bass) and Arve Heimdal (drums).
The EP is an eclectic collection of songs, presenting the many facets and influences of their sound that range from progressive metal, to jazzy vibes and gothic atmosphere, to some symphonic undertones, and everything in between.
Into the wild
My dark symphony
Starting with “Re:Conception”, it is clear that this EP is a metaphorical rebirth of the band as on the 1-minute instrumental intro we get to hear the sound of heartbeats mixed with drums (well, cymbals) and ominous backing orchestration. Up next is the up-tempo “Grand again”, which opens with a clash of guitars and drums and Khan’s vocals, though very filtered, and continues with chugging guitars, intense orchestral instrumentation, and pounding drums – a nice throwback to their old style. The vocals all through this song are quite processed (even a bit distorted) which kind of takes away from the emotion that the song could transmit.
The atmospheric “Into the wild” starts with some tribal-sounding drums, and some soft vocals from Khan. The tribal drums can be heard all though the song, with the guitars somewhat drowned down, until they resurface for a beautiful and melodic solo, courtesy of Tore Østby. I cannot help but feel a prevailing gothic ambiance on this song, akin to Kamelot’s “Poetry for the Poisoned” (song). Intense pounding drums from Arve Heimdal, chugging guitars and an up-beat vocal delivery can pretty much sum up the next track, the rockish “Quite alright”, which also boasts the catchiest chorus on the whole EP.
Gentle piano notes, Khan’s emotional vocals, and some cello lines are the backbone of the soulful “The moment”, one of the most beautiful moments of the EP. There is also some overlapping backing orchestration and a rather jazzy instrumental passage that intensifies the dramatism and beauty of the song. Cello lines and symphonic vibes, couples with Khan’s excellent vocals and Tore Østby’s guitar playing make the 6-minute long melancholy “My Dark Symphony” the centerpiece of the EP. It’s grandiose, epic, intense, with a nice build-up, darker overtones which adds tones to the haunting melody, and a groovy guitar solo.
Even though I am not a fan of the altered and processed vocals on this EP (especially on “Grand again”), “My Dark Symphony” is a solid release, which proves that the band is back in top shape, and are as creative and original as before. Each song has its own sound and feel, making for a very varied and interesting listening experience as you’re not quite sure what to expect from one moment to the next. Highly recommended.
Interview with Roy Khan here.
Rating: 4 / 5
Roy Khan (vocals)
Tore Østby (guitars, keyboards)
Ingar Amlien (bass)
Arve Heimdal (drums)