Friday, April 20, 2012

Concept Bands & Albums - Week 3

What is a concept band? What is a concept album? Why should I listen to them?

Here I am writing my third post and I think I may have became a little too excited. With all of the different aspects of music there are countless subjects that I could write about but this one has to be one of my personal favorites. Why is it so dear to my heart you ask? Because the idea of a concept band or album brings together two of my favorite mediums of art - music and fiction.

Fiction is important and relevant in modern society. In my sophomore history class I entered an argument with my teacher over the relevance of fiction and storytelling. His argument was since it "isn't real" why should we waste our time creating it, reading and learning about it? He has a concrete way of thinking which explains why he is a high school history teacher. (no offense, I love teachers and history) He thinks in absolutes. The idea that everything on this world can be explained with a yes or no. Music, art, literature, media, philosophy, culture and all of these things that are so important to our society are influenced by fiction and a higher level of thinking. Music can contain this higher way of thinking and has zero limits which is what makes it so beautiful.

We will start with one simple explanation. A concept album is a an album that has songs that relate to each other and flow in such a way that they all tell a story. One example of a concept album that everyone knows is Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. This gives another level of artistic meaning and gives the musician more chances to express emotions through a story. My personal favorite concept album is by progressive metal band Opeth, with their album called "My Arms, Your Hearse." The album tells a story about a man who suddenly dies and soon his former lover finds a new husband. The formerly deceased man comes back to life by demons who didn't want him and he comes back to find his lover with somebody else and tries to murder the woman and her new husband. The music is gripping and the lyrics are painted with storytelling. Each and every song relates to the one before and the one after. The album flows and expresses emotions that I feel like traditional albums cannot express. This is why I encourage all who are reading this to give a concept album a try. In this weeks "music recommendations" I will include concept albums that I have enjoyed.

If a concept album is an album that tells a story, then what is a concept band? A concept band is what you may be expecting, a band that tells a story. These are more rare and I am going to be focusing on one, Coheed and Cambria. Coheed and Cambria is an extremely unique band with an interesting purpose. The bands lead singer and guitarist Claudio Sanchez is the writer for a comic book and novel series titled "The Amory Wars" (Shown below) He created this fictional science fiction universe and every single song written by his band is based on the events of the Amory Wars story. The band name itself is based off two main characters who are husband and wife. Emotions, opinions and ideas owned by the characters are portrayed in the bands lyrics and melodies. I cannot explain to you how much fun it is to listen to the music then dive deep into the story through the comics and learn about what you have been listening to. I encourage anyone who enjoys progressive rock style music to do the same.

So as we draw to the end of week 3, I have a one more thing to say about concept albums and bands. Try them out. You have nothing to lose and if you don't enjoy it you can go onto the next chapter in the quest for new music. Now onto other news... I have decided to mix things up a little bit concerning The Melody Within. Every fourth post will not be a blog post and will be a podcast. By doing this I can play audio samples and give better examples of what I am talking about. So be expecting a fresh, brand new podcast for week 4!

Until next week, stay loud and proud.

Music recommendations for this week.
Mastodon - Oblivion - From the concept album Crack The Skye
Opeth - Demon Of The Fall - From the concept album My Arms, Your Hearse
Coheed And Cambria - Delirium Trigger - From the concept album Second Stage Turbine Blade
Pink Floyd - Money - From the concept album Dark Side Of The Moon

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