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Kamelot - The Black Halo (CD)

The Black Halo
by Grigoris Chronis at 24 February 2005, 7:24 PM

Without - in any way - being the greatest Kamelot follower in this shameless Music world, I have to admit I always liked this band. And there's a good reason for this: added to the marvelous, notable harmony work by founder/mainman Thomas Youngblood, the unique, charismatic voice of ex-Conception frontman Roy Khan really creates endlessly growing requirements for what this quartet can do from album to album. To this - 7th - excellent work.
Kamelot must be the type of band you can feel secure about, just like Running Wild or Cannibal Corpse - each in its own Field Of Play… (sic). Always mixing the European Power Metal strength with the mature U.S. Prog Metal cleverness - also pouring lots of baroque or oriental elements, to Thomas' credit - The Black Halo succeeded in disturbing my peace, in a way that the listener can easily stop doing whatever stuff he used to do while listening to a CD album and let himself get lost/travel into the magical world of a musical sting that tends to (or already has, you choose) become Kamelot's own pattern/trademark. Youngblood and Khan began writing the album's material early enough to focus on both the spine of each track but also to debate on the suitable production. That's for good! Mainly produced at the Pathway and Gate studios in Wolfsburg, Germany by all-around Sascha Paeth and Miro, the opening tune of March Of Mephisto saws the Faust-ian path for the artist(s) to walk on. Themes of love, wonder, life, death and spirit summon dozens of feelings in an album way more efficient/artful compared to its predecessor, Epica (anyway, an - at least - very good work).
Khan's vocal lines are again filled with passion, emotional to the bone dare I state. You really can't get tired of this man's voice. I can bring in mind various similar vocalists but never have I witnessed such a transformation of melancholy to a need for wondering before. Of course, Roy has the perfect back-up on Youngblood's hands… Will this guy ever run out of ideas/melodies? Not to forget, Thomas' touch is a little bit more vivid than in - at least - the band's two previous albums. Which brings us to the perfect (not only) rhythm section of Glenn Barry and Casey Grillo. This duo ensures my strong belief that the bass and the drums have more guts than destined in a usual recording. Just remember to check the double-bass drumming from time to time…
Lots of guests bring their will into this effort. Notable contribution by Shagrath (vocals, Dimmu Borgir) and Jens Johansson (keyboards, Stratovarius etc) make March Of Mephisto an adorable cut. Epica's vocalist Simon Simons also has a guest appearance, while remarkable work is done by the Kamelot choir adding the required feeling where needed. Speakin' of feeling: just check a night minute semi-masterpiece here under the blessed name of Memento Mori. Where the soul is certified epic…
No more tears… The Black Halo will surely prove to be a killer for the Kamelot clan. Whether there's no other strong player in this field or I don't get that excited anymore with the average good… clap clap clap… whatever album, here's the living proof that passion is alive and you don't have to wait for the next 25-year-career-band's album to confirm how emotion can be transformed into music and lyrics in this (haven't I mentioned that somewhere in the beginning of this review again?) shameless Music world of today.
What do you mean should I get it???
- Album Highlights: Tracks 01 - 14

4 Star Rating

March Of Mephisto
When The Lights Are Down
The Haunting (Somewhere In Time)
Soul Society
Interlude I: Dei Gratia
This Pain
Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso
The Black Halo
Nothing Ever Dies
Memento Mori
Interlude III: Midnight - Twelve Tolls For A New Day
Thomas Youngblood - Guitars
Khan - Vocals
Glenn Barry - Bass
Casey Grillo - Drums
Record Label: SPV


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