Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

REVIEW: Conception – State of Deception

Norwegian metal band CONCEPTION are about to release their fifth studio album, “State of Deception,” the follow-up to the highly acclaimed EP, “My Dark Symphony” (2018), and the first full-length record since “Flow” (1997) via Conception Sound Factory on 3 April 2020.

Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore!” Yep, this is the type of feeling you get from the first few spins of “State of Deception” as this is such a dark, heavy, and I would dare say even violent album. The listener gets incredibly loud guitars, powerful drums beats, fierce but also tender vocals, and intense backing orchestrations that not only enhance the moods of the songs but also significantly engages the listener. They do continue on the symphonic/progressive path setup by “My Dark Symphony,” but with some major surprises along the way. The way I see it, this is a reinvention of the band. It’s still CONCEPTION, only with a heavier edge.

Singles “Waywardly Broken” and “By the Blues” hint at this newfound heaviness, though still retaining some of the feel of the EP by being bombastic, symphonic, elegant, and moody tracks. It is songs like “Of Raven and Pigs” and “No Rewind” that drive this sound home with clashing drums, rumbling bass, distorted guitars, and a backing orchestration that is both ominous and brutal. The vocals in “Of Raven and Pigs” are as dramatic and theatrical as they are sinister, making this track a real whirlwind of sounds and grim moods. It’s an anthem to revolution and sure feels like one, growing in tension as it progresses. “No Rewind” has a backing cello melody that adds to the urgency of the vocal delivery and rockish guitar tone, while Ingar Amlien’s bass lines add such a somber feel to the music. The piano-driven “The Mansion” sees Roy Khantatat who sounds as beautiful as expected and Elize Ryd (AMARANTHE) who brings sensitivity and delicacy with her ethereal vocals to this symphonic paradise. Somehow this makes me think of KAMELOT’s “House on a Hill,” as it has the same elegance and atmosphere to it.

The final part of the record offers the symphonic piece, “Anybody Out There,” where the backing orchestration is majestic and maybe a bit melodramatic, while the lyrics are deep and personal, showing vulnerability and emotion, and Arve Heimdal’s drums give the song a more robust feel. Starting on cello and vocals, “She Dragoon” is just as dramatic as the previous one, but more upbeat and urgent in its feel, with a big wall of sound coming from the guitars and drums and a magnificent solo from guitar master Tore Østby. There are also some female vocals in the second part of the song that complement Roy Khantatat’s vocals, adding a sense of tenderness and fragility to the otherwise hefty sound. The album closes on a serene note with a remastered version of “Feathers Move” that was originally on the “Re:conception” single release, alongside “Grand Again.”

State of Deception” is a dynamic, layered, complex, and varied album that showcases a new facet of CONCEPTION that might surprise some listeners. What it may lack in melody, it more than makes up for in drama and theatricality. Tread with caution! Heavy sounds ahead!

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

  1. In Deception
  2. Of Raven And Pigs
  3. Waywardly Broken
  4. No Rewind
  5. The Mansion
  6. By The Blues
  7. Anybody Out There
  8. She Dragoon
  9. Feather Moves (remastered)

Lineup

Roy Sætre Khantatat – Vocals

Tore Østby – Guitars/Production

Arve Heimdal – Drums

Ingar Amlien – Bass

Lars Kvistum – Keyboards

Label

Conception Sound Factory

Links

Website
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Instagram

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