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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Conception Superpost, Part 5: Final Thoughts

Four elements--earth, water, air, and fire--make up the natural world. Many myth systems suggest further a fifth element which binds the four together and transcends them: spirit, aether, or akasha: that which enlivens, the repository of all knowledge and wisdom. Similarly, the four albums of Conception's career taken together create something even greater than the sum of their very great parts. Four distinct albums, featuring four incredible musicians--that would have been enough, but a certain atmosphere and feeling are engendered by listening to each record consecutively, creating a shimmering strand of sound, an unbroken chain of growth from the first silky flicker of "Prevision" to the gorgeous breakdown of "Would It Be the Same."

The spirit of Conception is dynamic progress, ever-growth, a continual striving for the place where horizon meets sky. Never content to take the well-worn path, with each album the group refined their sound and blazed new trails, and if a new album sounded little like its predecessor, certain themes emerged and remained--a discarding of traditional ways, embracing self-reliance and even self-deification, a constant reach for something greater. The Last Sunset and its array of influences from flamenco to 80s speed metal; Parallel Minds and its complex metallurgy; In Your Multitude and its primal stomp; Flow and its poppy smoothness: each is integral to understanding Conception as a whole.

I will note, belatedly, that three of Conception's four albums have bonus tracks which were included on the Japanese releases. I elected not to discuss these tracks, for this reason: none of the CDs I own have the bonus tracks (despite two being Japanese discs) and my mind doesn't comprehend them as part and parcel of their respective albums; they aren't indelibly stamped into my brain the way the rest of the songs are. "Black on Black," "Gravity," and "Hand on Heart" are all fine songs, as good as anything else the band released, but they're...bonuses. Certainly I recommend listening to them if you can find them!

And--that's it from me...for now. I'm sure by now everyone knows I can always find something new to say about Conception.

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