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Florida Delivers Power Metal's Best

Reviewing: Kamelot The Black Halo  |  Rating:
atru By atru on
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For many years, this Floridian band have fascinated their fans with melodic power metal, vocalist Roy Khan's operatic voice and Thomas Youngblood's powerful guitar work. With drummer Casey Grillo and bassist Glenn Barry, the band's work keeps getting better.

Kamelot was formed in 1991 by guitarist Thomas Youngblood and drummer Richard Warner in 1991, but their first release was not until 1995. They signed a record contract in '94 and released Eternity in '95. What can I say? This album is truly magnificent. With blistering guitar and solid drumming, it was the debut from heaven. But as good as Eternity was, there were better albums ahead.

1996 saw the release of Dominion, an even better album than Eternity. This album was much more diverse, with each track being a huge hit. But once again, there was a big change in store for Kamelot. In '97, Kamelot picked up Roy Khan's magnificent vocals and Casey Grillo's drum skills, giving the next album a promising success. Siege Perilous. Siege Perilous spawned the biggest Kamelot tour yet, with the new line-up having incredible "chemistry" together on stage, and becoming great friends in the process. This tour lasted for 1 year, resulting in huge success on spreading the word about themselves. Then came The Fourth Legacy, a great CD that unfortunately didn't seem to gain enough attention from America.

Finally, a live album. The Expedition took up listeners on an amazing journey into one of Kamelot's concerts. Sweet. Karma and Epica came in the new millennium, both being two of their bigger CDs, Epica being my favorite of the two. For both these albums they embarked on a huge European tour, spreading from Germany to Spain. And now the time has come.

Enter, The Black Halo. What else can you say about The Black Halo other than that it is their most impressive CD yet? They have taken a different root in this hit, going away from Power-Metal and into Progressive-Metal. And yes, it was definitely for the better. With crystal clear production, every instrument is audible, which is something often overlooked in a lot of modern music. The bass is definitely there. The Black Halo features cameos from Shagrath and Stratovarius' amazing keyboardist Jens Johannson, both adding incredibly atmosphere to this awe-inspiring album. Who knows what lies in the future for Kamelot...

I'll focus on the tracks that represent the cd the best, some of which are my favorites as well.

March of Mephisto: This song features Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir singing as Mephisto, and was the CDs second single and video. This is a very prog-metal type song. This song opens up with a march leading into the chorus with pounding guitars and great orchestral sounds. The chorus cuts off into the first verse, where Khan comes in with his best performance yet. The verses are mainly drums and vocals. It cuts into another chorus, then into another verse. Then comes the interlude. The interlude is a nice little Khan solo, and then it goes into a great solo by Jens from Stratovarius. It goes into another chorus, and then the song ends. A very powerful song. This is one of my favorites off of the CD. 4.5/5

Abandoned: Soothing piano? Ahh.... This is one of the most beautiful songs ever. Even if you don't like Kamelot, listen to this song. It's so melodic and heavy at the same time, the first half of the song being the melodic part, whilst the second half is melodic and heavy. It starts getting heavier around the 3:00 mark, and it still remains beautiful. This song is so full of emotion, I could cry. Reminds me of 3 Libras by A Perfect Circle. They don't sound anything alike, but they both have the emotion/heaviness to each song. 5/5

Moonlight: Ahh... more soothing piano. This song has the greatest intro ever. It?s sort of Japanese like. Once the intro is over, it breaks into one of my favorite riffs ever. It has the best pre-choruses and choruses ever. They're so good while still being melodic. Once again, this song has Khan completely destroying all of his past vocals. This is one of the best songs on the CD, along with March of Mephisto. 5/5

The Black Halo: Great opener for this track. The entire band is very powerful on this song. It makes you want to get up and break stuff, plus the chorus is overwhelmingly amazingly incredible. I like it that much. This is a very easy song to get into. I could listen to it over and over and over all day long for the rest of my life. It has really good drumming too, which is a definite plus. 4.5/5

Memento Mori: Epic. At 9:00 minutes, this is the longest song Kamelot have ever written. It's hard to explain how beautiful this song is, so you'll have to listen yourself. This song once again features Shagrath on vocals. At about 2:12, the song turns from a piano ballad into a heavier, not-so-typical-Kamelot song. It features a diverse list of positive characteristics, however: beautiful vocals, shredfests, climaxes, etc. It shows you pretty much everything that is on this album, sort of like an overture. It starts out with an Abandoned-esque intro, works into Mephisto, etc. Best song on the CD, may be one of the best Kamelot has ever written. 5/5

Serenade: The intro to this song is very reminiscent of the Great Fairy Fountains in Legend of Zelda-Ocarina of Time. This is a very dark and angsty song at some parts, but not in a bad way. It's a very standard Kamelot song for this CD, with pounding guitar and drums and operatic vocals. A pretty good song, but not that good of a closer to this CD. Great song overall, though. 4/5

PROS: Shagrath and Khan, Jens's Solos, Great song format, Memento Mori, Album art.


CONS: Simple bass lines & drumming, Unnecessary interludes, Nothing Ever Dies.