Year of Release: 2005
Catalog Number: SPV 085-69572
Total Time: 57:21:00
Up till now, 2005 has been a very good year for music, with several very good releases. Adding to this list, I?d like to present the new album by the melodic power metal formation Kamelot, The Black Halo. This album is very much in the vein of its predecessor, Epica, from 2003. But so far it is one of my favourite albums of this moment and I can hardly get it out of my CD player.
The comparison with Epica goes for a few areas: The Black Halo knows a number of "interludes," where the choir plays an important role. Lyrically it continues the line started on Epica, that being the battle between good and evil. Here the band mixes Goethe?s Faustus with their own experiences and ideas, like on the recent war in Iraq. And finally, maybe the most important comparison: musically The Black Halo sounds like a continuation of Epica. Now this need not to be a bad thing. And next to that there are differences, and it is those differences that make this disc to what it is: an amazing album.
In the first track, "March Of Mephisto," we hear the first guest: Dimmu Borgir vocalist Shagrath, whose grunts cast a dark shadow over the song and gives it a nice heavy edge. Musically this song reminds me a lot of the A?ne album, where Youngblood and producer Sascha Paeth played an important role on. Already the hand of Paeth is evident. I am very curious how Kamelot would sound if they were to work with a different producer. The opening track knows another guest, a musical one this time: Jens Johansson (Stratovarius). In other words: a killer opening track!
On Epica, Kamelot also worked with a list of guests and again this is the case. On their website you find a detailed list. But there is one that is noticed right away: Simone Simmons of (yes indeed?) the band Epica! This band has not made it a secret to have derived their name from the Kamelot album and now that this beautiful singer is heard on this album, on "The Haunting," their happiness will be complete.
I have not yet had the pleasure to see/hear Kamelot live, but on the silver disc Kahn sounds fantastic. A warm voice, that holds good in the heavy songs, but also in the more quiet parts is very pleasant to listen to. And he even sings in Italian! The mix between crunchy guitars and orchestral arrangements work very good on the album. Musically Kamelot is a very solid band. Barry and Grillo form a tight rhythm section and besides the heavy riffs, Youngblood knows exactly how and when to play the right solo. Listen to songs like "This Pain" or "Moonlight."
The magnum opus of the band is "Memento Mori," with almost 9 minutes the longest in Kamelot history. Again with Shagrath, bringing the dark element in the music. A lot of nice changes in speed, melody and with great orchestral pieces. This song will be a classic!
After countless listening sessions, the album does not bore me at all and I dare to say (despite I am not a Kamelot expert), this is their best work. A lot of variation in the songs, so it has become a lively album. Top compositions, top production and top musicians. Of course you must be into the genre, but The Black Halo comes highly recommended.
March Of Mephisto / When The Lights Are Down / The Haunting / Soul Society / Interlude I : Dei Gratia / Abandonned / This Pain / Moonlight / Interlude II : Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso / The Black Halo / Nothing Ever Dies / Memento Mori / Interlude III : Midnight - Twelve Tolls For A New Day / Serenade
Thomas Youngblood - guitars
Khan - vocals
Glenn Barry - bass
Casey Grillo - drums
Siege Perilous (1998)
The Fourth Legacy (2000)
The Expedition - Live (2000)
The Black Halo (2005)
One Cold Winter's Night (2006)
Ghost Opera (2007)
Ghost Opera - The Second Coming (2008)
One Cold Winter's Night (DVD) (2006)
Genre: Progressive-Power Metal