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August 2001
Released: 1997, Noise Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: CrashTest

Hidden Gem Selection

Before taking the vocal duties for Kamelot, Khan fronted the magnificent Norwegian prog metal band Conception. While Conception started out as a thrash band, the founding members really hit their stride when they switched to a more melodic style and added Khan in 1991. Soon thereafter they released their first album, the self-produced The Last Sunset, despite the fact that they had yet to secure a record deal. The album showed the band’s potential and was instrumental in their signing a deal with Noise Records in 1992. Noise re-released The Last Sunset in 1993 and the boys followed that up with the release of Parallel Minds a few months later. Critics and fans raved, but the band really found their groove with the release of In Your Multitude in 1995 and the subsequent release of Flow in 1997.

The key behind the success of Conception was the songwriting ability of Khan and Tore Ostby, though it didn’t hurt that Khan’s voice is godly and Ostby can simply shred. The improvement in Kamelot’s music is evidence enough of Khan’s writing talent, but the bottom line is, it was Ostby’s knack for killer riffs that made the band. Flow is filled with great riffs, including one of my all-time favorites, the opener to the title track. Quite frankly, it smokes. Don’t fret though, all the other elements of classic prog are present in Conception’s work as well, including the occasional voice-overs and sound effects that Pink Floyd pioneered. In short, Flow is just a well-produced, well-executed piece of prog metal that contains not one iota of filler. The highlights of the album include Gethsemane, Angel (Come Walk With Me), Flow and Reach Out.

As a point of reference for those unfamiliar with Conception, IMHO Flow is what Queensryche would have sounded like had they not completely lost it following Empire. Long time Conception fans may question my singling out Flow and will point to the impressive In Your Multitude as the superior album. That’s a fair argument and in reality both albums deserve a spot in the collection of the discriminating metalhead. A truly underappreciated band and one that Kamelot has yet to match.

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» Flow
by CrashTest

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