War of the Worlds. Dark Side of the Moon. Tommy. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club - all are superb, life changing, so called concept albums.

Would they, however, have enjoyed such stellar success had they been released today?

After a 20 minute chat with heavy rock outfit Powerball Inferno it seems a question well worth asking.

Some five years in the making, the Watford-based four-piece are preparing for the launch of their much anticipated debut release, Are You a Believer – very much a concept album.

“We’ve gone for a very epic feel with it,” explains front-man and former Murder One member Dan Marshall.

“It’s a very dark, very different record.

What we didn’t want was to make one of those albums people would play once and never listen to again.

“We wanted it to be about the experience – like Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

“It’s got that end of the world, Armageddon feel about it. In a really subtle way it’s about some of the bad things that are going on in the world; about religion and politics.”

It all sounds great. But, taking you back to my initial question, is there any point to all this.

The concept album may have been derigur in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but, in an age of instant gratification and internet downloads, is there any place for the traditional concept album in 2008?

The answer, say Powerball Inferno, is a resounding yes.

“So many albums these days are just collections of songs, each not really meaning anything.

I was brought up on Black Sabbath and that type of traditional epic rock.

“People say they don’t make them like they used to and they are right. I’ve not really enjoyed an album for more than 10 years.

“These days it seems people are just downloading the odd track here and there.

“So you have got to ask whether the great concept albums would have done quite so well today.

“But we’re proud of this album. It’s taken over the last five years of my life and we’re confident it will go down well.”

If, like me, Poweball Inferno had been bubbling along beneath your radar then you’re probably not alone.

With only ten gigs or so behind them they are, by all accounts, a relatively new outfit – a group of experienced musicians ( all in their middle 20s) coming together around a common cause.

“We’ve really kept it on the down-low,” adds bassist Matt Keen. “We really wanted to get everything right before we really went for it.

“We’ve played a few gigs around Camden and in Nottingham but a lot of people will not have heard of us yet.”

So what are the guys all about? Are they merely another angry, shouty thrash outfit or something a little different?

“We’re definitely not about ‘the scene’,” adds Matt.

“We never have been. That’s one thing that really pisses us off – people changing their image and changing their sound, following the current big thing to make a quick buck rather than wanting to be that current big thing for themselves.

"That’s why we’ve got about ten bands out there pretending to be Gallows. “We’re determined to do our own thing. We’ve done this all and really hope to make an impact with it.”

Powerball Inferno launched Are You a Beleiver with a gig at the Flag on Saturday, December 13, with support from The Mariana Hollow, The Deployment, and Kokotxa.

For more information see www.myspace.com/powerballinferno