TOP 20 METAL CONCEPT ALBUMS
I was always fascinated by the good concept albums, which manage to tell the story in a extraordinary fashion. So I decided to make a list of best concetual metal albums up to date. I decided to concentrate on truly conceptual albums, since loosening the criteria too much would leave me with having bunch of fantastic albums, which would simply be too much to put on the list. Yes, it would probably be a lot easier to make a huge list, but I wanted to concentrate on a truly top concept-related albums. So since they do not strictly tell about some event, or follow the same story, I decided to drop out loose conceptuals. Unfortunately the likes of "Sirenia - At Sixes and Sevens", "Sabaton - The Art of War" or "Nightwish - Century Child", "Bloodbound - Nosferatu" most of the Therion's albums, Amorphis and so on, went out of the list. I raised the criteria for the 'conceptual' since also there is really a lot of top-quality albums that are connected with a loose story, but they are simply not tight enough to label them as truly concept albums…Otherwise I might as well write a list of 100 albums. Also I tried to avoid multiple occurances of the same band, hence only one album from Ayreon, Symphony X, Evergrey, etc, otherwise they would probably fill up half of the bloody list.
1. Kamelot - Epica / The Black Halo
Wonderful masterpiece of art, with fantastic lyrics, and haunting atmosphere, based on Goethe's story of Faust. Top product of the best Kamelot years.
2. Queensrÿche - Operation: Mindcrime
After two decades, the story of the album could still be set in present day. Musical masterpiece with great theme, and a great message.
3. Turisas - The Varangian Way
They should make a movie based on this one. Based on historical events and majestic music mixed with various elements of various regions. When you listen to it you can picture in your mind ships sailing across the Russian rivers towards the Black Sea.
4. Evergrey - The Inner Circle
My favorite band, and their second best album. Masterstroke in every possible way, and a so well known story about religion, and the bad influence organised religion forces, be it one of the mass religions we know today or a sect with a desire to corrupt and abuse.
5. Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth
Two things: 1. J. R. R. Tolkien's Silmarilion 2. Hans Jürgen "Hansi "Kürsch. Enoug said.
6. Ayreon - 01011001
Although every project of Arjen is a concept album, and they are all mixed together in that huge story arc, I prefer this one, both because of it's story, and all the guest that appear on this one, from Hansi and Englund to Jonas Renske and Anneke.
7. Symphony X - V: The New Mythology Suite
I cant even describe the awesomeness of Symphony X, and the sheer musical skill of band memebers, but listening to Sir Russell Allen is better feeling than being in heaven. History mixed up with Fantasy and Mythology, ancient Egypt and the complexity of the music.
8. Epica - The Divine Conspiracy
Love the lyrics on this one. One of my all-time favorite albums, and another one which, as ever pleasing to myself, deals with organised relligion and the bad influence it has on people. Simone's voice is wonderful, and I love the contrast to Mark's brutal grunts….
9. Pain of Salvation - Remedy Lane
Emotional, artistic, energetic, deep, full of joy and sorrow. Although many prefer other PoS albums, I consider Remedy Lane the pinnacle of Daniel's musical career and song writting. Rope Ends, Ending Theme, Undertow, Remedy Lane and most of all Second Love. Just love it.
10. Eluveitie - Helvetios
Celtic, or should I be precise and say Gaulish folk influences, mixed with melodic death metal. Am I in heaven. And another historical one, dealing with gaulish wars, and Roman conquest of Gaul. Oh Ceasar how I hate you…
11. Avantasia - The Metal Opera pt. I & II
I was 20 years old when I first heard the intro and the first song. I love everything about this double, from Tobi's voice to that masterful yet short guest appearances of Hartmann and DeFeis. From power ballads to epic 10 minute sagas, this one has it all.
12. Manticora - Hyperion
I have to say I am deeply dissapoint that Manticora did not make a big name for themselves. They sound like a mix of Blind Guardian and Symphony X here more than anywhere else. And the epicness of the story, based on the FANTASTIC Dan Simons's novel…
13. In Flames - Whoracle
Well, not every concept album is a power or progressive. And this one is from the time when In Flames were still motherfuckin kick-ass band. Episode 666 is my favorite In Flames song, and the vision of a dark dystopian apocalyptic future…well doesn't sound that unrealistc at all.
14. Savatage - Dead Winter Dead
Heart-breaking album, about the horror's of the civil war during the break up of former Yugoslavia. Loosely based on the true events, and placed in Sarajevo in the early 90's about a Serbian boy and a Muslim girl…yes you can put that Jolie's crap into garbage, this is the shit.
15. Opeth - Still Life
Extreme death metal grunts mixed with soft and emotional progressive rock vocals. Yes, possible. Masterstroke from the Swedish progressive band that pushed the limits on each album.
16. Within Temptation - The Unforgiving
Yes, it's catchy, commercial. Yes the story is not so original, epic or something. Put I simply can't stop listening to this album. Sharon's voice is beyond beautiful.
17. Grave Digger - Tunes of War
Who said "Braveheart"? Yes I like history that much. A thousand years of Scottish history, wars with England, fight for independance, struggle to keep their own faith in spite of the force conversions…bring it on.
18. King Diamond - The Puppet Master
Well, if some thing can put a chill into my bones, unlike many book or movie, it's King Diamond's horror stories. Much more psychological than brutal, the story of this album is the most chilling of all King's work. Would you dare to walk into a theater in Budapest after this one?
19. Rage - Soundchaser
Near the end another power metal "printing press" album. SF story, with dark elements, sometimes so reminiscent of authors such as A.C.Clarke or H.P. Lovecraft. Harsh Wagner's vocals perfectly fit with furious music, in the dark vision of death and destruction.
20. Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Oh it's the best album Iron Maiden ever put out, and by far. I love Maiden, but almost on every album they have a flop or two, a totally unnecessary song. Well, not on this one. Oh and I love the story and the idea of Seventh Son…
With heavy heart, I had to pick 20, so that left no room for fantastic Orphaned Land's Mabool, Haggard, Amaseffer, Iced Earth and a few more…on top of that add a bunch of albums that were to loose to fit into above mentioned criteria for "conceptual" albums.. I might make another list…
NOTE: Consider that first place is shared amont Epica & The Black Halo, as well as place 11 with Metal Opera pt. I & Metal Opera pt. II I put them separately in here only because of the looks and the proper album linking.