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Kamelot - The Black Halo CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.10 | 312 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars |A+| Colossal.

Kamelot's seventh release, The Black Halo, remains one of the band's most critically acclaimed and highly reviewed albums, particularly on Progarchives. It also might be considered the transition album connecting the band's more power-metal styled previous works to the more (for lack of a better description up my sleeve) Gothic-themed albums which followed afterward. Released in 2005, it remains considered a modern classic for many prog-metal fans.

It is also a concept-album, specifically a sequel to the previous album Epica, both albums telling through lyrics and music an extraordinarily well-conceived story, which is loosely but highly based on the classic epic story of antiquity: Faust. Many of the lyrics involve the main character, who makes a deal with Mephisto (the devil) often reflecting on the great philosophical questions of any age: is there a supernatural realm, does God exist, what happens after death, etc. There are regular sound effects helping to depict the events being discussed in each track, such as the sound of marching during the first track, March of Mephisto.

Throughout the album, there are killer (and I mean, in terms of metal, truly epic) guitar riffs, solos, keyboard arrangements, bass support, precise and complementary drumming, and best of all, Kahn's soaring, unforgettable classically trained vocals which firmly plant one foot in the dramatic experience of opera and the other in the heavy and powerful force of metal (which, for me as an opera singer, is the best cup of tasty metallic tea I could ever find!). The songwriting is, to my ears and discernment, virtually flawless, with a not-cheesy use of classical music (which I half-jokingly proclaim with my authority as a classical musician!). The production of the album is par-excellence, not being over-produced, unlike so much prog-metal that we hear today, but just right. There are dramatic levels of soft and sorrowful, heavy and powerful, and everything in between. Each track stands alone on its own as unique, while all connect to make one hell of a cohesive musical adventure. One song is sung in an Anglicized version of Latin (Dei Gratia), and another in legit Italian (Interlude II). And honestly, what more could you want from a clean album of sumptuously musical metal?

On a personal note, this album has, over the last 9 years or so, become my top desert- island album of heavy metal, even though I've admittedly grown less fond of this genre of with the passing of years. I adore, even savor, almost every second of this album, especially Kahn's voice, who remains my favorite singer in rock music to this day, especially for his work on this album. While his departure from the band was certainly a sad even for fans, I'm happy for him and support his decision to focus more on the things that are of even greater importance in life, particularly such things as faith and family.

For me anyway, one of the greatest, most powerful, most moving albums in heavy metal history. A full blown unapologetic and epic masterpiece.

Isa | 5/5 |


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