Conception - The Last Sunset
Noise Records
Power/Progressive Metal
10 songs (51'24")
Release year: 1991
Noise Records
Reviewed by Erik
Archive review

Most prog metal fans, when asked to consider the origins of the music and its greatest early influences, will no doubt rattle off "Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and recently Pagan's Mind" without even pausing for a breath. While that may be true from purely a popularity and sales standpoint, it would be criminal not to consider Conception, a rarity of a band if there ever was one. The one-two punch of underrated guitar whiz Tore Ostby (who later went on to considerably spice up Pyramaze's album Legend Of The Bone Carver, among others) and Kamelot vocalist Roy Khan is one of prog metal's all-time great team-ups, and an effective backbone of a great band. Their debut album The Last Sunset, initially released in 1991 as a self-financed project, and reissued in 1994 under Noise Records, may not be the obvious first choice when recommending an album, but there is still plenty to like here.

Actually, this is a bit more power metal than the sequels, but there is still a very technical-based approach here, with very progressive song structures and some amazing axework throughout the tracks. Following a deceptively mellow intro track, Building A Force thunders from the first second with a decidedly power metal double-bass attack. I found it hard to believe that was Roy at the mic at times, as he puts in a very competent effort but shows little of the range and emotion he is known for today. Next track is War Of Hate, and it is admittedly a lot of fun to listen to Tore do his thing on the guitar, especially when he launches into those Spanish-style acoustic flamencos. You would think that would be difficult to mix into a prog metal album, but it seems to integrate well here, and brings an enjoyable flair to the atmosphere. In point of fact, none of the tracks are uninteresting or mundane, with each unique approach providing a breath of fresh air. The overall tone hasn't quite developed into masterpiece territory -- that would come on the next album -- but consistency and a great crunchy distortion make the whole album a great listen.

Other top cuts included the midpace Live To Survive, a great chug roll on Another World, the building title track, which starts mellow and gradually intensifies. The last track Among The Gods is actually the best here, a ten-plus-minute masterpiece beginning with intricate on- and offbeat riffing and bringing back more of that great acoustic work as well. Starting with the next album, their place as one of the all-time great power progressive bands would be firmly cemented, but this is definitely not a bad start. Roy and Tore, in particular, show flashes of the emerging brilliance that would only increase with time. While most Conception fans may name off the last three titles in their catalog as the greatest -- and they arguably are -- the real genesis began with The Last Sunset, and it remains a solid entry into the genre by a truly talented group of musicians.

Killing Songs :
All
Erik quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Conception that we have reviewed:
Conception - Flow reviewed by Erik and quoted CLASSIC
Conception - In Your Multitude reviewed by Erik and quoted CLASSIC
Conception - Parallel Minds reviewed by Erik and quoted 92 / 100
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