Wednesday Question: Best Concept Album?

Vote for the best concept album ever in our weekly poll, and your nomination could appear in the epic top 10 this week.

Ultimate Guitar

The best concept albums take the listener on an epic journey, sometimes through time and space or through a roller coaster of emotions and dramatic storytelling. Some use lyrics to tell their story, and other use musical metaphors to carry the listener into their destination.

Whatever the concept, these records stand up because they take music to the next level as an art form. And in a magical way, the best concept records live on past the moment they stop playing because they prompt so much thought.

That's why this weeks question is:

What are the top 10 concept albums ever?

Concept albums don't just have to be from prog bands. They could be anything from a rock opera to a long experimental jam that merges into one, like "Dopesmoker" by Sleep. Or that single-track album "I" by Meshuggah. Or that French film score by Mogwai. Of course, a bit of Pink Floyd won't go amiss ... but you can vote for whatever you want! Whatever floats your boat, you're welcome to nominate it in the comments.

Post one nomination per comment, and upvote posts that you agree with. We'll collect the results into a top 10 this Friday. Good luck!

532 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The Wall - Pink Floyd
    Honey Badger
    Plus Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals.
    wish you were here
    While Wish You Were Here is my favourite Floyd album it's not really a concept album. 'Welcome to the Machine' and 'Have a Cigar' are completely unrelated to 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' and 'Wish You Were Here'.
    C. Jasper
    while doing the dark side of oz, instead of repeating dsom, if timed right, you can actually get wish you were here to line up with the wizard of oz. I suggest you try this out. Did floyd mean to do this or was it just the biggest coincidence in the world? We may never know.
    As stereotypical as it is, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon". Because it's just that good.
    still life opeth
    This is what I wanted to nominate, while musically I'd have to make it a close second to DT's Scenes From a Memory, conceptually this album is the most amazing thing I've ever heard.
    Dream Theater - Metropolis pt.2 Scenes from a Memory
    I'd actully put Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence over Metroplis pt.2. but were also forgetting Octavarium was a concept in a different sense being based around the musical octave.
    Six Degrees is phenomenal and quickly becoming one of my favorites by DT but it falls in that 2112 category (for me at least) being that only part of the album follows an entire story. But it's a great story following the different illnesses.
    every track is awesome and the story is not only interesting but there are layers upon layers of things hidden in the story. is the hynotherapist edward? who is the old man? why does nicholas say "we'll meet again"?
    Possibly my all-time favourite album and indeed amazing both musically and conceptually. For me this album is pretty much everything progressive metal is about, all elements (heavy vs. soft, technical vs. melodic, dark vs. light etc.) are perfectly balanced.
    The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And the Spiders from Mars - David Bowie
    Not a concept album. 2112 is one track.
    True, but I think 2112 should still qualify. The "one track" has 7 movements.
    Hemispheres has 6 movements on an album with only four songs, yet no one says that album is a concept album.
    I would say that Cygnus X-1: Book I & II could count like Sleep's - Dopesmoker. Same with 2112, they are concept songs, even though there are other song's on the albums since, Pink Floyd's The Wall could be like 6 or 7 tracks if you combined the super short tracks into big movements.
    Yeah, still, it's only 1 track, or half of the album if you prefer. All the other songs have different themes. The songs on a concept album must follow a storyline, a specific theme, etc. Therefore, 2112 doesn't qualify. Still a bloody good album though!
    True. But the other 4 tracks have nothing to with it. If this was a list of top ten best long-ass tracks I would agree. However, it is not.
    The movements not being the only qualifier... The story and the fact that the track encompasses an entire side of the album are reason I think it should qualify. UG isn't one to adhere to strict descriptions, anyways.
    Coheed and Cambria's "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness"
    I have to say Pink Floyd - Animals I love their other albums but its something about the guitar work on Animals that stands out to me. Plus its not like I hear those songs every day on the radio. It'll be a cold day in hell before the stations near my hometown dedicate anything over 10 minutes to one song other than maybe Freebird
    It's kinda simplistic, but quite unsettling and shedding light on the darker side of the lifestyles of American teens in the 90's. Also, the album was constantly playing in my room when i was younger. So I'm going for The Offspring - Americana.
    I guess that is a concept album :o never thought like that but yeah makes sense! Good choice
    Dream Theater- Octavarium. Strictly because its a unique concept. instead of being a lyrically themed concept, the album was based around the musical Octave having all of the songs written in differnt keys to represent each note in an octave, and every song written in a different time signature (1/8, 2/8, 3/8) etc. and using the root of all evil to represent the octaves root note, and Octavarium to represent the 8th note, the octave.
    The time signature thing isn't true, but that's really cool about the keys.
    every song changes time signatures, but has a main riff based around that signature. some are unpractical such as 1/8-4/8 they can all be used as whatever they want. but the fifth song on the album, panic attack, the entire verse section is in 5. and sacrificed sons im pretty sure the solo break section is based around 7, and its the 7th song
    How come nobody mentioned this?? excellent album! Queen - A Night at the Opera
    John Lennon has always repeated the opinion that it is not a concept album. Although it started like that the songs written by John and George have nothing do with the concept conceived by Paul.
    I'm a huge Beatles fan and I've listened to this countless times, and there really is no identifiable concept aside from the Sgt Pepper's songs.
    Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick
    I'd go with "Aqualung"
    Aqualung is also not a concept album (it's a great album though), if you don't believe me. Skip to 58 : 00 in the following video and hear Ian Anderson saying so himselfBBC Prog Rock Britannia - Full length TV Documentary
    Love this album! This and Pink Floyd's Animals were the first Epic concept albums I've ingested, epic as in 20 minute songs
    my arms your hearse opeth
    Dream Theater- Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory. Talk about storytelling.
    Agent 00Awesome
    Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death
    Iron Maiden - Number Of The Beast... 7 Deadly sins on the first 7 tracks and the reprisal at the end.
    Coheed and Cambria's Discography aka "The Amory Wars"
    I'd go with - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV Vol.1: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness. EDIT: Somebody's already posted it below, I didn't see!
    Stone sour - HOGAB Pt 1 and 2
    porcupine tree - in absentia
    The Second Stage Turbine Blade-Coheed and Cambria
    No, Ascension, much clearer storytelling throughout and even better instrumentals, like, WAY better
    Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son!
    Animals - Pink Floyd
    Still Life by Opeth
    Animals by Pink Floyd Metropolis pt II : Scenes from a memory by Dream Theater The Parallax (I & II) by Between the buried and me The Incident by Porcupine Tree
    Between the buried and me - Colors
    Protest The Hero - Kezia is my favourite.
    Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory
    Songs For The Deaf. Amazing journey. In fact I'm sticking the title track on right now... "This is Dave Catching, not sayin' goodnight, jussayin'..."
    From Mars to Sirius-Gojira
    That's not a concept album, even if it's one of the best out there. Their EP Maciste All'Inferno is a pretty good concept album, but you won't find it on internet...
    Iron Maiden - Seventh son of a seventh son
    Isis - Oceanic
    Rush - Clockwork Angels
    Meshuggah - Catch 33
    Good to see Sleep mentioned on UG