Conception
In Your Multitude


4.5
superb

Review

by Voivod STAFF
January 1st, 2023 | 6 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Leave all you know behind, and open your mind to a new dimension.

Save for the poles and the vicinity above arctic/antarctic circles, most of the temperate world has some experience of the so-called “Indian Summer”, although its intensity and duration vary from place to place. For the Northern hemisphere, the Mediterranean Basin is a special case. Due to mountainous volumes blocking cold waves from the North, and serendipitous African heat waves from the South (along with the ever tightening grip of climate change), summer is often extrapolated onto autumn, and the latter ends up storming into winter largely unchecked, producing favorable conditions for outdoor activities, among which open air metal concerts. As such, the moderately yet adequately warm days of October 1997, provided the perfect backdrop for local promoters to arrange such an event in Mylos venue at Thessaloniki, Hellas, and bring along European heavy/power metal powerhouses (sic) such as Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, and Conception.

Well, even though their logo was printed on the tickets, Conception didn’t make it after all; the slot was eventually filled by Dutch power/progressive metal outfit Elegy, who were also the opening act. Nevertheless, the event was a success, it was frequently reminisced in years to come, part of it is even digitally survived. In hindsight, it might seem a bit incongruous if Conception completed the bill, let alone opened for it. Their then-latest album In Your Multitude, a monument of dynamic introversion/introspection and Nordic melancholy, maximized their dissociation from the avowedly extrovert European power/progressive metal enclave, within which Gamma Ray were a huge part. To be fair, Stratovarius had slipstreamed as well, the region’s characteristic moroseness in a couple of albums, but by 1997 the Finns were in a different, more upbeat place. The more listening sessions invested over time by yours truly, the more firm became the notion, that In Your Multitude would not mingle well in a live setting with previous Conception albums or the live sets of nominal peers. Moreover, were Norwegians to participate, they should have headlined the event, as unlike their third album which has not aged one bit, most ‘90s European heavy/power metal has been reduced to a product of its time for its time.

The aforementioned dissociation didn’t happen overnight. Parallel Minds boasted a small-scale raid of slower tempos, heavier guitars, and more balanced arrangements overall, which allowed for Roy Khan’s crooning to surface and thrive in proportion. The mentioned traits, turned from a mere diversion to a full blown, sovereign state of expression in In Your Multitude. At the time, the shedding of ‘90s European power metal oomph seemed as a regression of obfuscated avail, but it turned out to be a pilgrimage towards an original style. Representative in that respect, is the seamless integration of folk/flamenco elements (an ongoing aspiration of guitarist Tore Østby), which were restrained on the outskirts of previous albums. While flamenco in In Your Multitude is omnipresent in Østby’s lead guitars (on the same shredding level with Yngwie Malmsteen, but universes away from the Swede’s antics), it has also infiltrated his rhythmic work as well. By that, it’s not insinuated that Conception mellowed out.

The album’s seminal production bestowed rhythm guitars a crisp, voluminous tone that delivers, even when the Norwegians chug themselves well into groove metal. Along with the implementation of atmospheric keyboards, and probably the most organic rhythm section ever caught on a metal record (best snare sound ever!), the mentioned components breath life to a collection of songs of seemingly linear design with progressive outbursts, free of the infamous ‘90s wankery, as the flamenco/progressive rock orgasm “A Million Gods” will attest. On another note, delving into the music while reading the lyrical content sung by Khan, is a procession towards mystification. The listener is warmly ensnared within a spiral of deep self reflection, about matters such as the master-slave power-play with the deities of choice, what was lost and what could’ve been won over the course of lifetime struggles, or the reckoning of demons of varying nature and effect. The weight of the above, is increasingly felt during the second and more atmospheric half of the album, with tracks such as “Some Wounds” or the epic album closer “In Your Multitude”.

The ‘90s were a deeply polarizing period for European metal; on one side variations of power/progressive metal prevailed, whereas on the other, black metal loomed ominously from the shadows. In Your Multitude belonged to neither side, with a seemingly slim margin for commercial success; unfortunately, it was underrated during the first few years of its lifetime. Nevertheless, Conception’s label at the time, Noise Records, promoted the album by issuing a lush/unusual first edition of it. It had a bonus single engraved on a white color LP, whereas the CD with the album, was enveloped and clamped within the gatefold packaging. When the latter was opened, the album’s cover “jumped” towards the beholder, in the same way pop-up books work. It was a fantastic item to own, but even that faced uncalled for dismissal by the hordes of the terminally prejudiced. One way or another, circumstances were not ideal at the time for experimentation of any sort, which affected Conception’s later course, but that’s another story...



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user ratings (77)
4.2
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2023


10818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Constructive criticism is most welcome.





Happy new year folks!

manosg
Emeritus
January 1st 2023


12709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Happy new year, everyone! It's a good day when you see a Conception review on the front page.

Casavir
January 1st 2023


5648 Comments


My favorite album of theirs for sure.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2023


10818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Once I got acquainted with progressive rock, it became my favourite Conception album as well.

ChaoticVortex
January 2nd 2023


1616 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review Voivod, love this album, an underrated classic of the power/progressive genre.

EvoHavok
January 3rd 2023


8083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A well-deserved review for this amazing record.

Happy new year!



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