Kamelot have never been just another ordinary symphonic metal band.
First and foremost, the band can't be really put into one single genre as their
music borrows elements from classical music on the one hand and power and progressive metal
on the other hand. Founded in
1991, the band put out a remarkable number of great albums, and thanks to their
early highlights The Fourth Legacy (1999), Karma (2001) and
their outstanding output The Black Halo from 2005 (I'd even dare to say
that this album is one of the best of the 2000s), Kamelot have been
tipped for success ever since.
With former vocalist Roy Khan leaving the band in 2011, Kamelot
were presented with a challenge - luckily, they found their new vocalist in Tommy Karevik of Sweden's progressive metal
band Seventh Wonder. The highly acclaimed
concept album Silverthorn, the first record to feature Karevik,
showcased the band revived and stronger than ever. After huge tours all around
the globe, the band is now back with their tenth studio album Haven this May, and my
expectations couldn't be any higher.
At least since Silverthorn, it was clear that Kamelot
had become a classic band - one of those bands that never get out of style, one
of those bands that, no matter under another such circumstances, keep putting
out individually great albums and playing bombastic live shows. In addition,
Kamelot's attempt to offer diversity with every new release
(with the aid of several talented guests for example) is one of the most
enjoyable things about their music.
Haven presents the band once again a bit differently, approaching
songwriting in a more modern, contemporary way. The new music evokes feelings of
safety and despair as well as it puts the emphasis on
current social issues; all this presented through a wide spectrum of sounds and
styles ranging from the most sorrowful ballads to powerful, cinematic tracks.
Regarding vocals, Karevik topped himself this time - I'm not kidding at all when
I'm telling you that his vocals are hazardously close to perfection.
The album starts with the beautiful "Fallen Star", a truly heart-warming,
mid-tempo melodic metal song that opens up the album perfectly, followed by the
energetic and modern metal-inspired "Insomnia" and the bombastic "Citizen Zero".
"Veil Of Elysium" is the first single off Haven and reminds me of "Sacrimony
(Angel Of Afterlife)" which was the first single off Silverthorn. The rhythmic
pattern and the arrangement are very similar, although "Veil Of Elysium" is a
much more positive song than the dramatic "Sacrimony". The first ballad is
called "Under Grey Skies" which is featuring Charlotte Wessels (Delain) and Troy
Donockley (Nightwish) as guests. The flute melody gives this track a feeling of
comfort and home, while both Karevik and Wessels shine as vocalists. The album
continues with "My Therapy" which showcases Kareviks vocal versatility reaching
from a strong low range to powerful belting. "Ecclesia" is an instrumental track
and the only one on Haven I don't quite get the utility of. Unfortunately, the
next track "End Of Innocence" is the weakest of the whole record. In my opinion,
it is relatively predictable and too cheesy, but to my great joy, the refrain
did haunt me for several hours. "Beautiful Apocalypse" contains
optimally placed oriental melodies and some The Black Halo-inspired
Looking at the next three songs, they are by far some of the best ones I heard in 2015:
"Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)" is epic in so many different ways. It has the
right energy, brutality and a haunting refrain. To top it all, the amazing Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) shines with both growling and clean vocals on
this track. This opus is followed by the classical ballad "Here's To The Fall", The jazz-inspired instrumental part and Karevik's
sorrowful vocals result into a true masterpiece with a certain sense of
resignation and desolation that goes straight into your heart. "Revolution" may
be the heaviest track of the whole record and that's exactly why I love it so
much. There's no better way to describe the term "revolution" than with this
song. White-Gluz once again does her magic, this time with operatic vocals and
brutal gutturals. Lastly, "Haven", sums up the same-named full-length and closes
it up nicely.
Haven may have some flat moments halfway through, but seen as a whole,
the album can definitely keep pace with predecessor Silverthorn. This
beauty, energy and many-sidedness melted my heart like few albums do.
Kamelot's tenth full-length surely is one of 2015's highlights and
another gate to success for the band.
04. Veil Of
08. End Of
Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)
To The Fall