Rating: 97/100

Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen, February '05
Style: Melodic Power Metal

The Black Halo

First off Kamelot is my favorite melodic power metal band, secondly "The Black Halo" is one the albums I have anticipated the most this year, and last, but not least I don't think Kamlot have ever released a bad album, and they have managed to progress with each release.

As fans of Kamelot know, this band is all about Roy Khan's charismatic voice and Thomas Youngblood's powerful guitar work, but this band wouldn't be this great without the unsung heroes: Casey Grillo on drums and Glenn Barry on bass - they prove once more that they should be counted among the best. Their perfomance on this album can only be described as very tight and impressive!

Kamelot continues with their unique style of combining melody, speed and classical orchestration with new and fresh ideas. Clearly aware of their limitations, they have brought in a bunch of guest musicians to take care of the various sounds: Shagrath (vocalist Dimmu Borgir) handling some very aggressive vocals on this album, Jens Johansson (keyboards Stratovarius) playing some excellent leads and Simone Simons (vocalist Epica) contributes with some nice vocal-duels with Khan. Off course the Kamelot choir is once more a huge part of the sound - the huge choruses wouldn't be as impressive as they are without it. I have to mention Cinzia Rizzo as well, she takes care of the vocals on one of three intermezzos and adds an almost cabaret feeling to this small part with her singing (in Italian).

Returning to Wolfsburg, Germany under the guidance of Miro and Sascha Paeth, Kamelot has once more created an outstanding album, with one of the best productions I have ever heard in metal - very clear, extremely great seperation between the instruments (not that common in metal productions) - plain and simple magnificent.

But wait - what about the music ... almost 1 hour of some the finest melodic power metal you'll ever hear, 11 wonderful songs, all of them with Kamelot's unmistakeable trademarks and in addition to this we are served 3 small intermezzo's. If you thought "Karma" or "Epica" marked the zenith of Kamelot, then think again and take a listen to an early frontrunner to album of the year! I could go on and on about this melodic power metal masterpiece, but will leave it at this and recommend you to check it out for yourself ...

Recommended tracks: "March Of Mephisto", "The Black Halo" and "Memento Mori"

Link: www.kamelot.com