Kamelot - Epica
Year of Release: 2003
Label: Noise Records
Catalog Number: NO3772
Total Time: 00:00:00
Kamelot reminded me so much of Queensryche it was scary. Their approach and sound is very similar. The fact that Roy Khan is a dead ringer for Geoff Tate was probably what struck me as amazingly obvious. Let me be clear about one thing, it is a compliment not a misgiving or negative intonation in any way that I draw this comparison. If you find any familiarity and or common ground with the music you are hearing for the first time, that is a step in the right direction, at least it is for me. While they push out powerful surges of melodic metal as if it were a high voltage line gone wild on their recent release Epica, in the same instance they provide moments of bliss and beauty to give their sound a balance and tone that defines what they are communicating through music and lyrics. This is all great stuff! I really enjoyed it.
I thought to give things a different spin I would offer this explanation of the story in the album provided by the group. This information was taken directly off the band's website.
This is the intro to the album where the listener is being placed in a dreamlike sequence. Simply there to set the atmosphere, but it's also a reference to "Prologue in Heaven" in the book it is inspired by (Faust).
2) Center of the Universe
This song is an extension of the Prologue, and is directing the listener into his own mind or the "inner universe", where all questions may possibly be answered. This is the first song on the album, but actually the last song that was finished for Epica.
The journey begins; In Farewell, Ariel (the main character) burns all bridges and leaves everything he knows behind. He cannot find the answers he's looking for in science or religion, and wants to explore the world on his own. This song was made on a stormy night in Florida in the summer of 2001.
4) Interlude I (Opiate Soul)
In this piece we try to describe the darkness and desperation one can feel having fallen into human addiction.
5) Edge of Paradise
Ariel is balancing on the edge. His encounter with the great world out there has been anything but successful. In foreign countries far away from home, he experiments with alternative ways to find happiness and peace, but is slowly loosing his grip on life.
We chose the mixture of Arabic scales and Gregorian-like choirs to portray the temptations, pleasures and pitfalls of hazardous reality escape. Quite a few bottles of good Bordeaux went down during the process of writing this song.
In his desperation, Ariel seeks back to a time where love and youth were carrying him on a wave of promises. He understands that these dreams are only sentimental wishes. Life has no longer a purpose for him.
7) Interlude II (Omen)
At this point Ariel is determined to take his own life. The melody is a reference to Helena's death scene later on the album.
8) Descent of the Archangel
When Ariel is at his lowest, Mephisto as he wishes to call himself, appears in the pale moonlight. Ariel is totally surprised as the devil seems to be nothing like what he had expected; In the shape of a beautiful woman, Mephisto politely explains Ariel what he could bring to his life.
Luca Turilli from Rhapsody plays the first half of the guitar solo on this song.
9) Interlude III (At the Banquet)
A lot of people are gathered at Mephisto's castle, where Ariel has been invited. He arrives a little late, but just in time to catch his host's remarkable entrance.
10) A Feast for the Vain
At the big party Ariel make friends with everybody and has the time of his life. Women, drinks, food?Mephisto covers any carnal need. At the end of the song Ariel signs the deal that will be fatal?
11) On the Coldest Winter Night
After the party, Ariel all of a sudden meets Helena, the girl from his youth. They share a short, but intense moment together.
This song has a strong reference to cold (as opposed to Wander which refers to summer) that symbolically describes Ariel's change after his meeting with Mephisto. It was recorded live in the studio with djembe and D-bass.
12) Lost & Damned
Helena approaches Ariel to tell him that she's pregnant, but never gets that far. Ariel is convinced that the deal he has with Mephisto will cause her too much pain and suffering. He is anyway seeking a higher goal than love. At least that is what he believes at this point in the story. He tells her decisively to forget all about him and leave.
The tango-like verse in this song is an attempt to musically describe the tension between Helena and Ariel. Fabricio Alejandro is featured on the bandoneon.
13) Helena's Theme
Helena drowns herself in the river.
A stunning performance by the American singer, Mari, beautifully supported by Rodenberg Symphony Orchestra.
14) Interlude IV (Dawn)
The town crier reads the news about Helena's death.
Guest appearance by Ian Parry (Elegy/Consortium Project).
15) The Mourning After
Ariel hears about Helena having taken her own life, and with her their unborn child. He mourns deeply, but hopes that they will meet again on the other side.
16) III Ways to Epica
This song closes part I of the concept. It sums up the album with Mephisto clearly representing evil and cynicism, whilst Helena reappears as an angel representing good. Ariel is still somewhere in the middle?still searching balance and ultimate truth.
While this may not define your own personal vision of a concept album, this is what it is to the group in their own words and I would venture to guess many of their listeners. As written in the track sixteen description - "This song closes part I of the concept.? If there is a naysayer out there, which I am sure there is, that wants to rant about this not being a concept album, contact the group, as I got it right from the horse's mouth.
Prologue / Center Of The Universe / Farewell / Interlude I (Opiate Soul) / Edge Of Paradise / Wander / Interlude II (Omen) / Descent Of The Archangel / Interlude III (At The Banquet) / A Feast For The Vain / The Coldest Winter Night / Lost & Damned / Helena's Theme / Interlude IV (Dawn) / The Mourning After / III Ways To Epica
Roy Khan - vocals
Thomas Youngblood - guitars
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
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