Another album that’s already out, but our review copy got held up for Covid-related reasons, is Conception’s first full-length release in over 20 years. They’re actually one of the first bands I ever got promotional albums from, way back when I was doing university radio, and it’s great to see that the core members (Roy Khan, Tore Østby, Ingar Amlien and Arve Heimdal), after a hiatus, are still producing music.
It’s an impressive comeback as well. Filled with their signature proggy overtones, though toned down a little from what I remember of the older material, it’s almost as if they’ve not been away. Filled with great riffs and bombastic sounds, it’s a real kick in the pants.
The album opens with an instrumental overture before hitting us with the rather angry “Of Raven and Pigs”. Its main churning riff rolls over the listener like a stormy sea, unrelenting and constant. “Waywardly Broken” was the first track that really hooked me. More of a hard rock ballad, but with some great heavier segments, it’s chock full of variety.
Top track overall, though, is “By The Blues”. A groovy number, its influences are there in the title and it really rocks. It’s followed by “Anybody Out There” which is as rousing track as you’ll ever hear with a magnificent chorus. Amaranthe’s vocalist, Elize Ryd, joins the band to lend her talents to lilting song “The Mansion” which sits in the middle of proceedings and gives you a chance to chill around the more upbeat numbers.
State of Deception is a mainstream rock album at heart, but one that’s been layered with little extras. At once accessible and deep, it takes a couple of listens to appreciate what’s there.