used to be one of those bands that I thought I knew and thus, I had been listening to their music occasionally without paying the proper attention. This was mainly due to Power Metal label that had been following the band from the early years. After the impressive release of "Black Halo" KAMELOT
entered my field of interest making me buy their entire back catalogue. What really impressed me was their constant evolution in every album without sticking to the successful recipe of "Black Halo"
. At this point a couple of Power Metal fans may throw a complaint or two about the fact that KAMELOT
have in some extent moved farther away from the "Karma"
days by giving less air time to the guitar riffs and the straightforward compositions but you cannot satisfy everyone, can you?. So, let's see what "Poetry For The Poisoned"
has to offer us…
Going through the press release I learned that the band composed most of the album in the remote woods of Norway and if one adds the info that Youngblood
had a rough time dealing with his mother recent passing then, it becomes pretty obvious that this album has some broad strokes of melancholy. Indeed, after a couple of listening the album grows inside building some dark emotions enhancing the power of the music. As I said in the intro "Black Halo"
introduced to the Metal scene a 'new' KAMELOT
having to do with expressional compositions and theatrical images elements -I believe- took the music on a different and higher level. The album is not a concept one but it can be considered as an anthology of short stories dealing with the dark side of humans and I think all of them have a connection with death. It is pretty clear that Roy
was touched by Thomas
emotional state dealing with his mother's death and came up with this kaleidoscope of dark soaked story narration. The album opens with the impressive "The Great Pandemonium"
where there is the first guest appearance in the vocals from SOILWORK
's Bjφrn "Speed" Strid
that reminded me of Shagrath
's work in "March Of Mephisto"
. There are some nice Eastern melody lines here that give the track a certain essence of mysticism reaching a climax during Youngblood
excellent solo. Some electronic sounds make an appearance in the following track "If Tomorrow"
that although are not my cup of tea I found that they do fit KAMELOT
's music making the song sound fresh and reminded me of SYMPHONY X
's approach in "Paradise Lost"
. The theatrical layer in KAMELOT
's music becomes dominant in "Zodiac"
where the great 'mountain king' Jon Oliva
does some singing as the serial killer fitting Roy
's timbre like glove. In a strange way, this song made me think of AVANTASIA
's work in a way that I would love to see KAMELOT
getting into composing a rock opera in the same vein with many guest singers.
Please do not be misguided by my saying and think that in this album KAMELOT
have drifted away from their style after the "Black Halo"
release. Just like "House On A Hill"
does another duet with Simone Simons
who I have to say has done impressive progress with her vocals. I do not know if this is due to the production but Simone
sounds more powerful than the first EPICA
albums. This duet works like a Swiss clock during the four parts of the "Poetry for the Poisoned"
suite where the two singer 'play' get into role playing building different emotions and feelings. Some classical arrangements here help the most to create the background scenery of this story walking in a similar path with "Ghost Opera"
So, the bottom line is that KAMELOT
have created another very good album where they sound more mature than ever. The only question here is whether the fans are prepared to deal with the new elements introduced and the overwhelming dark atmosphere and requires additional CD spins to take shape in the listener's mind. "Poetry For The Poisoned"
is more complex and not that straightforward as compared to the previous KAMELOT
releases (don't be fooled by the relatively short duration of the songs) so, don't deal with it lighthearted.PS
: "Thespian Drama"
is such a killer instrumental featuring some really catchy guitar melodies.