After my review of Moonsorrow’s “Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa” I got to thinking(don’t worry, I didn’t hurt myself too bad).  When I look back at some of my all time favorite albums, a lot of them are concept album.  I love the idea of telling a story through music and appreciate when a band holds a common theme, musically, lyrically, or both, throughout a full album.  For me, the concept album turns a collection of songs into one big event, therefore making listening to an album front to back much more satisfying.  So today, I am going to share a handful of my favorite concept albums(limiting one album per band) with you all.  And, my dear readers, what are some of your favorite concept albums? So let’s get started!!

Dream Theater- Metropolis II: Scenes From a Memory

This is hands down is in my “Top 3 Albums” of All Time.  There is so much to love about it.  It’s musically diverse, it’s beyond passionate, and well, to sum it all up quickly, it just f’n rocks.  The boys from Long Island create a story about love, betrayal, devotion, obsession, and reincarnation bouncing back and forth between present day and 1928.  This is one of the most complex stories committed to musical format and Dream Theater does an outstanding job pulling it all together with the story expressed in the lyrics but also masterfully in the music.  If you have never head this album before, stop reading now, go out and purchase it, and lose yourself in this theater of dreams.  This is a must own for any lover of good music.

I was here!!!!!

Queensrÿche- Operation: Mindcrime

Here’s rock opera at its best.  Queensrÿche weaves a tale about a man named Nikki who awakes in a hospital after being in a catatonic state with no recollection of his memories.  In a bit of time all of his memories flood back into his head and a tale of political corruption, revolution, murder, drugs, prostitutes-turned-nuns and brainwashing begins.  Think of a modern version of “The Maltese Falcon” with a healthy does of great metal. Queensrÿche did a sequel to this album aptly titled “Operation: Mindcrime II” with is definitely worth listening to and it is rumored that there is a film in the works based on the albums.

Blind Guardian- Nightfall in Middle-Earth

Sometimes you don’t need your own story to make an amazing concept album.  Such is the case with Blind Guardians “Nightfall in Middle-Earth”.  This album retells J.R.R. Tolkien’s book “The Silmarillion” which tells tales about the first age of Middle-Earth and most notably telling the War of the Jewels, the jewels being the Simarils.  Blind Guardian does wonderful job perfectly representing Mr. Tolkien’s world in musical format.  The band also took a musical change on this album going for a more melodic and orchestral approach.  “Nightfall” was a major turning point for the band and won the hearts of fantasy nerds and metalheads everywhere.  This is my favorite Blind Guardian album(“At the Edge of Time” taking a close second) and another of my “Top 10 Albums of All Time”.

Between the Buried and Me- Colors

Here is a concept album that doesn’t necessarily tell a story, but carries a lyrical and musical concept throughout the entire album, or better said, throughout the entire song.  Colors is pretty much a one hour and five minute song about embracing originality and appreciating all the different “colors” the world has to offer.  Through the album BTBAM doesn’t let up for one second constantly changing musical styles, going from metal to jazz, to rock, to bluegrass and constantly challenging the listener to listen deeper.  At first listen you may think they have quite a “cut and paste” and choppy approach to songwriting, but after a couple spins you will be thinking, “well, yeah, that just fits there perfectly and moves the album along smoothly”.  Again, I highly recommend listening to this album, and surprise, surprise is also in my “Top 3 albums of All Time”.

One of the best guitar solos of all time on this song

Coheed and Cambria- Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness

I take a lot of guff for openly loving this band as much as I do.  I don’t know why people hate this band so much.  In my opinion these guys are carrying the progressive rock torch for Rush.  “Good Apollo”(for brevity sake) is another installment of Coheed and Cambria’s ongoing fantasy/science fiction tale of characters respectively named Coheed and his lover Cambria.  On this album C&C put a “Never-ending Story” type spin on their tale telling of “The Writer” who is directly influencing the world of the 2 lovers and their ongoing war.  This is a fun, diverse, and thought provoking album, and if you always dismissed C&C because someone told you that they were just an “emo” band, let me tell you that they are not whiny emo music, but extremely intelligent progressive rock and roll.  Give “Good Apollo” a listen, it’s a great album and also on Atleastimhousebrokens “Top 10 Albums of All Time”.

Opeth- Ghost Reveries

Opeth is one of those bands that metalheads, and even some non metalheads, universally love.  And in my opinion, “Ghost Reveries” is their best album.  It’s brutal, haunting, melodic, progressive, and f’n scary.  It tells the tale of a man living in turmoil and regret after committing an unspeakable act of violence.  If you’ve never heard Opeth this is a great place to start as in contains all the different styles of music Opeth is known for, just don’t listen to it in the dark on a rainy night in a haunted mansion, the fear might get to you.  And yet again, another album in my “Top 10 of All Time”.

Iron Maiden- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

So, I am proud to say that “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” is my favorite album of all time.  It’s got everything an Iron Maiden fan could love.  It rocks and gallops like their earlier albums, and it’s got the progressive elements of their later albums.  There is not one fault I can find on this disk.  It’s perfection.  The conceptual part of “7th Son” concept of the number 7 in folklore, seven deadly sins, seven days of creation, the seven hills of Rome, seven sages, seven sisters, the seventh seal, ect.  And in folklore it is said that the seventh son is imbued with gods grace, whereas the seventh son of that seventh son is to be the embodiment of evil, ie. Lucifer.  The album also uses the 7 concept to delve into questions and their answers to topics pertaining to good vs. evil, mysticism, reincarnation and afterlife, and prophecy.  If I had to listen to one album for the rest of my life, this would be it.  And if this album is not in your music collection, you need to fix that immediately, you’ll thank me later.

Rhapsody of Fire- The Frozen Tears of Angels

In my opinion the best cheese in the world comes from Italy.  There’s parmigiano, mozzarella, talegio, gorgonzola, and Rhapsody of Fire, mmmmmm.  Rhaposody’s soaring orchestral brand of power metal is in full force on this album.  “The Frozen Tears of Angels” continues an ongoing tale called “The Dark Secret Saga”.  In this edition the tale focus’ on the search for a book written in angels blood and holds the power to unleash unspeakable horrors and demons upon the world.  The group of heros travel strange lands and majestic castles and are helped along by narrator Saurmon, err Christopher Lee.  This is an out of control and over the top ride of an album and worth your hard earned cash, especially if you enjoy any form of power metal.

Turisas- The Varangian Way

You don’t get any more epic than Turisas’ epic album “The Varangian Way”.  It tells the epic tale of a group of Scandinavian warriors traveling river routes medieval Russia on their way to the Byzantine Empire.  Everything about this album is epic, epic guitars, epic chants, epic scores, epic stories, epic epics.  So if your in the mood for something epic check this album out, it’s an epic win.

Moonsorrow-Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa

Well, I’m still picking my jaw up off the ground from listening to this album.  While I do that you can go read my thoughts on it.