March Of Mephisto When The Lights Are Down The Haunting (Somewhere In Time) Soul Society Interlude I: Dei Gratia Abandoned 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
So 2005 is on the roll and it is already obvious that this year will be a marker for metal. Masterplan surprised us with what sounded as one of my top 3 favourites. Who was to top this CD? Certainly NOT Judas Priest!
But who would have thought Kamelot will take care of this tremendous task?! Their 7th studio effort is titled “The black halo”, and believe me; this one grabs you by the throat! Throughout the songs it features the continued storyline from the band’s previous ‘concept’ album “Epica”.
“March of Mephisto” is one in a row of fine intro’s from this band with Dimmu Borgir’s Sagrath as Mephisto, bursting into “When the lights are down”. Rolling drums and bass, tight together by the amazing riffs of Thomas Youngblood in teutonic harmony. On top this all is the fine and warm voice of Roy again. “The haunting” is casting it’s dark spell on us with an intimate touch. A typical eighties metal track lifted to the modern high standards of the now with a guest role from Dutch rising star of gothic Simone Simons of EPICA. The remarkable “Soul society”, again is a state of the art melodic metal hymn with pompous keys and powerful drumming from Case. Next up is one of three interludes, entitled “Dei Gratia”, that paves the road for piano ballad “Abandoned” with a large choir and orchestra towards the end, shooting into oblivion. Oh yeah; this is when Roy Khan shows just how flexible his voice is. Deep, warm and emotional. It gives you the shivers.
“This pain” is dark threatening and unloads into the most excellent Kamelot guitar solo of all time. By God; has Youngblood taken lessons with Satriani? The man already is counted to the top shredders in metal, but what he shows us here is simply on the edge! “Moonlight” again puts the pedal down. “Moonlight” being already one of the tracks that Kamelot shows their different approach to metal. It features industrial touched keyboard lines combines with some amazing nu metal sounding riff work. Stepping away from the typical Sasha Paeth productions and arrangements, and focussing on the brilliant drumming and percussion work of Grillo. His multi layer drumming creates the depth that makes this band stand out in metal today. “Moonlight” tricks and intrigues, and is followed by the second interlude “Un assassinio molto silenzio”, that leads us swiftly into the title track. “The black halo” for one is typical Kamelot, yet it also throws some punches. Mysterious and pompous with a spotlight feature on Roy. “Nothing ever dies” tears it up again. Excellent full speed melodic metal with some marvellous and Kamelot-signature up-tempo breaks. It makes way to the biggest endeavour from Kamelot: “Memento Mori”!!!! Not only is this an epic 8;54 minute masterpiece from the Kamelot pack, it is by far the best and most renewing melodic metal track of the last decade(s)! It has it all; the soaring and powerful warm vocals of Khan, amazing breaks and powerful drumming from Grillo, a galloping and energetic bass from the charismatic Glenn Barry, and the most amazing guitar shredding from main man Thomas Youngblood. It shows us how well this band keeps evolving with every release. In all modesty (yes indeed!); “Memento Mori” is their pledge to the crown! Interlude three, is a cacophony of noise and leads us into the last track, “Serenade”. Well, what do you expect? Certainly not a pedal to the medal moment that this song is again! “Serenade” is an energetic track that makes you want to play this record again, and again, and again…..
Kamelot delivers the album of the year!
--Edwin van Hoof 03.08.05
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