At Download we raise the horns to bands that are brave enough to drop a concept album. Firstly, they tell epic stories and show a huge amount of creativity and talent from the writers.
So, in preparation for metal legends Sepultura releasing their new alun, ‘Quadra’, this Friday we’re counting down 6 Awesome Concept Albums You Need To Hear!
Mastodon – ‘Leviathan’
Atlanta metal icons Mastodon definitely have no shortage of epic concept albums having released some of the genres finest over the past two decades. And, ‘Leviathan’ released in 2004 effort is arguably their best work to date.
Based on the classic novel Moby-Dick, the record starts off with a bang with fan favourite ‘Blood and Thunder’. It’s a compelling modern take on the classic stories theme about an unwinnable struggle against the world’s injustice.
Although the concept was huge it actually didn’t take the band long to write. Speaking to Consequence of Sound, drummer-vocalist Brann Dailor revealed: “I think we wrote it in about three months. I just remember being in the practice space every single night, after everybody got off work, and we’d be down at the practice space, and it was just a lot of fun. It came together pretty easily”.
Marianas Trench – ‘Ever after’
Canadian pop-punkers Marianas Trench are another band who have perfected the art of producing awesome and interesting concept albums.
Their 2011 album ‘Ever After’ tells the story a fictionalised version of singer and lyricist Josh Ramsey. He meets the ex-King of Toyland after waking up in front of a toy factory, which leads him on a daring quest to overthrow the evil Queen Carolina.
We won’t spoil how it ends, but it feels like the adventures you’d dreamt about when you were kid!
Iron Maiden – ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’
While Saturday’s headliner Iron Maiden aren’t exactly known for their concept albums, their only example – ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’ – is an awesome one!
Based on the old folklore tale of the same name, the album contains hidden themes about the battle between good and evil as well as heaven and hell. It’s also loosely about a mystical figure with paranormal abilities, which means there are multiple layers to this beast of an album.
haken – ‘Visions’
The award for the most creative yet harrowing concept has to go to Haken. Clocking in at over an hour long, ‘Visions’ is a progressive metal masterpiece that must be experienced.
The album the tells the story of a young boy who sees his own death in his dreams. He believes that it is going to happen in reality, so he spends the rest of his life trying to avoid anything from the dreams to escape his fate.
The story gets deeper when you learn it’s based on vocalist Ross Jennings’ premonition of his own death. Now, that makes for some very intense nightmares and an even more intense concept album.
Black veil brides – ‘Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones’
The third album by glam metal icons Black Veil Brides needs no introduction. Split into two acts (Act 1: Hope and Act 2: Faith), it’s a 19 track epic
It tells the tale of a group of rebels known as the ‘The Wild Ones’. The record follows them on a journey to take down F.E.A.R (For Every and All Religion), a hyper-religious government who seek to remove all scientific, creative and original thoughts from society.
BVB couldn’t just leave it there as the album also has a film adaptation titled ‘Legion of the Black’. And, BVB’s 2018 album, ‘Vale’, acts as a prequel to the story. So, in the end this is really the concept album to end all concept albums!
Sepultura – ‘Quadra’
Trash metal titans Sepultura’s highly-anticipated new concept album ‘Quadra’ is finally released this Friday and we cannot wait to dive in.
Quadra is the Portuguese word for ‘sport court’. What’s ‘sport court’ you ask? Well, it can be simplified as a place where a game takes placed with a certain set of rules.
Guitarist Andreas Kisser explained the concept of the band’s 15th album in more detail on the Sepultura’s website, saying: “We all come from different Quadras. The countries, all nations with their borders and traditions; culture, religions, laws, education and a set of rules where life takes place. Our personalities, what we believe, how we live, how we build societies and relationships, all depends on these set of rules that we grew up with. Concepts of creation, gods, death and ethics”.
The album’s artwork is also part of the concept with the senator’s skull representing the rules that we are forced to abide by and, the coin symbolising money. As Kisser explains: “We are enslaved by this… Regardless of your Quadra you need money to survive, the prime rule to play this game called life. Hence the coin.”
After 35 years in the game, ‘Quadra’ shows Sepultura are still the undefeated masters of the concept album.