Conception - Parallel Minds
Noise Records
Power/Progressive Metal
10 songs (42'14")
Release year: 1993
Noise Records
Reviewed by Erik
Archive review

The critical and commercial success of Conception's debut album The Last Sunset was no surprise to anyone that heard it and realized the budding greatness within. However, true brilliance was still to come, starting with their sophomore effort Parallel Minds in 1993. Most fans consider this to be their arrival of sorts, although not in quite the same earthshaking fashion as Dream Theater's legendary Images And Words the year before. Being picked up by Noise Records boosted popularity and sales, but what you hear is no fickle fad of the public's imagination -- rather, it is a true masterpiece of pure metal. There simply is no other description for Roy Khan's vocals, Tore Ostby's guitarwork, Ingar Amlien's bass lines, and Arve Heimdal's increasingly impressive drumming.

While The Last Sunset may have been a constrained initial effort, the quartet let a bit more out on the reins this time around and the results speak for themselves. The tempo is picked up, there is a sharper edge to the distortion, and Khan is beginning to develop that uniquely mellow-and-yet-still-biting atmosphere that defined his later career. You can sense a vitality and a movement that only paves the way for the last two albums, and the result was a terrific addition to the still-growing progressive genre.

We are dropped abruptly straight into the speedy opener Water Confines, and immediately a great power metal rhythm is established. By the time the chorus appears, Khan is unleashing the passionate vocal range that separates this album from the first and later landed him with Kamelot. The second track is one of the best, Roll The Fire, which builds into a chugging groove and lets Khan really soar on the chorus. Great atmosphere there! Silent Crying is a well-performed acoustic ballad notable again for Khan's singing, as he begins to display why he was formerly with the opera. Another amazing cut follows in the form of the title track, which follows a similar formula to Roll The Fire -- stuttering bar chord verses and full-on doublebass chorus -- to excellent effect.

Several other songs are standouts, including Wolf's Lair with its aggressive, forbidding downtuned air and the three-piece, variety-spiced album closer Soliloquy, showcasing the band's progressive touches with ferocious guitars and mellow piano passages. Even within the domain of prog metal, which is already a very tough arena, Tore is playing at an altitude that very few guitarists ever reach. Everything from the razor-etched riffs to the simply awe-inspiring leads and solos combine to solidify the performance of yet another vastly underrated virtuoso.

From the first moment of Parallel Minds through the very last, you get the sense that Conception is close to the top of their game here. Some may staunchly prefer the remaining two albums of their catalogue, but there is no denying the impact and influence that was made with The Last Sunset and Parallel Minds. The group is melding and producing some of the best music of the '90s in its genre, cementing their place in history with this and future releases. Suffice it to say that Parallel Minds is a very solid effort, and a necessity for anyone seeking power or progressive metal, or a mixture of the two. Conception, as good as they are, only get better from here.

Killing Songs :
All, but especially Roll The Fire, Parallel Minds, Wolf's Lair and Soliloquy
Erik quoted 92 / 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 - The Last Sunset reviewed by Erik and quoted 86 / 100
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