Year of Release: 1998
Label: Noise Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Total Time: 50:37:00
This disc was one of the more anticipated discs of the year. I loved the first two Kamelot discs, especially the regal, epic, over the top sound of Eternity. Lots of people favored the more "in your face" style of Dominion, but first impressions are lasting ones, and I envisioned these guys wearing crowns, capes, and recording their material in some old, haunted castle somewhere in England. When I heard that they had lost their original singer, Mark Vanderbilt, I was more than worried because in my opinion, he was perfect for the Kamelot sound. Little did we all know that Kamelot was going to replace him with one of the best singers on the planet.
Unlike the previous Kamelot discs, Siege Perilous seems to head directly into neo-classical territory as evidenced by the speedy "Millenium," which follows up the first song, "Providence" which has that signature Kamelot sound. The sound is based in the neo-classical style, incorporating Kamelot and Crimson Glory influences into that sound. What results is sort of that "regal" sound I was referring to mixed in with speed and precision. It's Kamelot at the speed of light so to speak. I also hear some Conception influences going on in the music as well, giving it a progressive feel much like that band. Anyone that has never heard Kamelot and wants to start with this disc can imagine what Crimson Glory, Conception and maybe some Stratovarius sound like all rolled up into one.
Roy Khan / Vocals - Yes, you read that right. It's Roy Khan from Conception fronting this disc, making it worth the purchase already. Roy Khan is more than well known throughout the prog metal world for his mastery with Conception, and for those who want to know what he can do outside of that band, this is a great place to start. He is simply incredible.
Thomas Youngblood / Guitars - Thomas has all the ingredients of those sorely underrated players. His style is a lot like that of Jon drenning of Crimson Glory, but with a neo-classical flair that gives him that "regal" sound that he is famous for. He's an epic player, opting for massive melodies over shredding solos, but his solos are speedy and precise.
David Palicko / Keys - Mostly used for atmosphere and backdrop.
Glenn Barry / Bass - A solid companion for keeping driving rhythms along side of Youngblood.
Casey Grillo / Drums - Excellent playing, able to change styles within each song effortlessly. He can go from basic beats to double bass runs in the blink of an eye.
If anyone has a complaint about the disc, and I've seen many, it's in this area. Most have said that the vocals are either muddled or too far back in the mix, and / or that the drum sound is weak. I'll agree with both complaints, however, either complaint is not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the disc. True, the vocals are a bit back in the mix, and sometimes muddled. With a voice like Khan's, and Conception's producer having a hand in the mix, it really should have been recorded a bit better and the vocals placed a bit more up front. While still clear, they are just overpowered a bit by the music. The drums are a bit weak, especially in the snare drum sound. Compared to previous Kamelot recordings, in which Jim Morris had a hand in grabbing a huge, epic sounding snare drum that resonated throughout your room, this time out the snare drum sounds a bit on the weaker side, but not as bad as people have mentioned. It just doesn't have that "regal" sound of previous Kamelot discs, but the overall drum sound is done well. The bass is clear and punchy in the mix, holding down a nice bottom end, although again, a much heavier, thicker sound would have put this one over the top. The keys, which only serve as background and atmosphere, are a bit back in the mix, but in this case it works and is necessary considering how they are used. Even the guitar sound is not as crunchy and boomy as previous Kamelot discs, but I have a feeling that a lot of this was intentional, as to keep from sounding exactly like a previous Kamelot disc. Overall, it's a very acceptable, organized sound, but there is certainly room for complaints to picky listeners such as myself, or any dedicated Kamelot fan wanting that older sound that they are famous for.
Kamelot fans should really have a field day with this one, getting more than they bargained for. Not only getting a Kamelot disc, they are getting one of the best singers in the business leading the way. It's certainly a pleasure to hear Roy Khan singing again, no matter which band, and in this case, he fits in superbly with this style and sound. Whether it be singing signature Kamelot or faster, speedier styles, Khan is simply the best. My personal opinion is that the disc sounds a lot more like a "European" sound this time out, and that's fine by me, although I get the feeling that it was a bit rushed. Kamelot is poised to write that masterpiece that we all want them to write, but in the meantime, we are given quality metal, Kamelot style. If the band keeps writing quality material like this, what more could we ask for ? Being the picky listeners we are in this genre, we want masterpieces, and Kamelot is certainly able and ready to write one. Do not dismiss this disc based on that presumption, as Siege Perilous certianly belongs in any metal collection, progressive or otherwise.
Providence (5:37) / Millennium (5:13) / King's Eyes (6:15) / Expedition (5:42) / Where I Reign (5:59) / Parting Visions (5:05) / Once A Dream (3:34) / Rhydin (4:22) / Irea (4:32) / Siege (4:18)
Roy Khan - vocals
Thomas Youngblood - guitars
David Pavlicko - keyboards
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