Given that Dawnbringer's Nucleus landed high up on our Top 40 list of 2010, we've been stoked ever since we heard that the band would be releasing its fifth full-length this year. We were even more pumped when we found out that it would be a concept album, one that "follows the story of a naïve assassin and his bizarre journey that inevitably leads to its tragic end." And as Adrien Begrand pointed out in his review in our July issue, we're psyched to tell you that Into The Lair Of The Sun God—released Tuesday on the inimitable Profound Lore—only improves upon its predecessor. Since you've already heard that the album was "founded in the key of H (Headless Cross, Heaven Forbid, Hammerheart, Hail To England, and Holy Diver)," we asked mainman Chris Black to tell us about five concept albums that he digs instead. As usual, we’ve compiled Chris's picks, to the extent available, into a Spotify playlist for your listening enjoyment.
Devil Doll—Dies Irae (1996) It's hard to put into words what this album sounds like, and even harder to express the nature of its influence on me, so I won't bother trying. I think I've only made one specific reference to it in my songwriting, but Devil Doll's influence has been broad, especially when it comes to Dawnbringer. Good luck finding this one, and if you tend to use the word "sick" to describe someone's guitar tone, it's probably not what you're looking for anyway.
King Diamond—Conspiracy (1989) This has always been my favorite of the Mikkey Dee/Roberto Falcao era. Huge dynamic range and of course immaculate musicianship back up what I think are King's catchiest batch of songs. Andy LaRocque did a lot of the songwriting on this one, and I'm sure the results are no coincidence.
Atheist—Elements (1993) There are a few awkward moments, but overall, this was even at the time of its release a surprisingly appealing album. I would maybe group it with the later Coroner albums. The concept itself isn't particularly elaborate or important, I guess, but it makes the album worth mentioning here. I was glad they didn't neglect it live, and the artwork is great too.
Ulver—Nattens Madrigal (1997) What is there left to say about this one, or about Ulver, when it comes to concept albums? I'm not so into their last few albums, but they are still driven by creative concepts above all else, and that I admire. This album was certainly no exception and is my third-favorite Norwegian album after In the Nightside Eclipse and Apocalypse Dudes.
Quicksand Dream—Aelin (2010) This is a bit of a recent cult favorite, completed in 1999 and released (in part by me) in 2010. It's a heavy metal epic essentially homemade by two Swedish guys with good imaginations and great melodic riffs. It has a uniquely spirited atmosphere that really draws you in.
*Pick up a copy of Into The Lair Of The Sun God here
**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include: