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Kamelot - The Black Halo CD (album) cover

THE BLACK HALO

Kamelot

 

Progressive Metal

4.10 | 291 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars GREAT ALBUM WITH POWERFUL COMPOSITION

Finally, I received my amazon order of this album - altogether with other prog albums and DVDs - last week. Quite honest with you, I have been so curious about this album because since I listened to Kamelot's "Karma" couple years ago I loved this band and collected their other albums: Fourth Legacy and Epica. While Karma was my entry point to Kamelot, it represented my first love with power metal music. As you can see my reviews of the other Kamelot albums, Karma represented my best favorite album - until last week I found the beauty of The Black Halo. What I can say about this new album, in a nutshell, it's a brilliant combination of the band's previous best of previous three albums namely: The Fourth Legacy, Karma and Epica. As a band with power metal as basis, no wonder that this album contains a lot of heavy yet beautiful guitar riffs by Thomas Youngblood. As one reviewer has put this riffs as "tham dham dham" . yeah . that's the sound that characterizes Kamelot. Be it. It's cool man .

On Composition

As I said, this album has combined the best of their previous three albums, offering the listeners with a balanced styles of music: power metal with heavy guitar riffs, rich in arrangements, symphonic, heavily influenced by classical music, and . melodic! Yes, what I have observed about Kamelot :regardless the style they are playing it's always melodic. This can be heard clearly through the voice of Khan.

Unlike previous album, The Black Halo does not start with a one minute duration overture; it goes straight to a full track opener March of Mephisto that features wonderful keyboard solo by Jens Johansson (of STRATOVARIOUS) and growling vocal by Shagrath (of DIMMU BORGIR - a band in the vein of black metal, as informed by my metal colleague, Rufus. Thanks, Rufus! Honestly, I never heard Dimmu Borgir before.). Even though without an overture, the intro part of this song has already sounded like an overture, using keyboard sound.

There is no bad track - not even mediocre ones! - as all tracks are excellent. I'm not exaggerating on this as you might check by your own. It might be difficult to accept for those who don't get used to power metal music. But for those can enjoy power metal would definitely agree with my view. All tracks are well positioned to give the best listening pleasure for listeners. There are some tracks with progressive arrangements, for example track 12: Memento Mori. It has a melodic and classic piano intro featuring powerful voice of Khan in low register notes but with high power. Great opening. It's killing, really! Structurally, it's not a straight forward power metal music as the music flows wonderfully - I repeat: wonderfully! - from soft opening to heavy yet nice music riffs that bring the music into fast tempo style with nice melody. The music turns a bit complex when drum is played dynamically in the middle of the track followed with great vocals and guitar solo. Shagrath enters his growling vocal wonderfully followed with female voice. The style then turns completely different when the symphonic keyboard enters the scene and brings forward a beautiful orchestra that accompanies Khan's singing to close the song: "Some day we may come to peace. And reach beyond behind the lies. And I will await you. Until I close my eyes .". Oh man ..it's a great music!!!!!

There are also some tracks that are composed in the vein of power metal music like track 2: When The Lights Are Down. The structure is straight forward using the same rhythm as the basis and the music moves forward in fast tempo with high energy, driving rhythm but still maintaining the melodic nature as usual with Kamelot music. The Black Halo (track 10) is basically also a pure power metal song enriched with great orchestration at background that has made the song so wonderful. But, if you look the structure it's basically a power metal tune. What has made it different is the inclusion of orchestra in the middle of the track.

Kamelot has defined its own path in their career as their music is original in terms of ideas. This does not preclude them from influences of other bands, of course. I can sense an influence of Luca Turili's (of RHAPSODY) guitar style in this album as well even though it's not that obvious - track 11: Nothing Ever Dies. Their songwriting is truly top notch ant it makes it hard for other bands to follow their path. The quality of lyrics is also excellent combined with powerful arrangement of the music. Having enjoyed this album through many spins (more than five times already) I have never experienced a sense of boring with any of tracks featured here. All pieces hang together structurally, melodically. Nothing to argue about this.

On Musicianship

The original members of the band: Khan, Youngblood, Grillo, and Barry have demonstrated their musicianship to perform this album excellently. I have noticed that Thomas Youngblood has refined a lot on his techniques in producing guitar riffs that characterize Kamelot sound; it's softer than previous albums. Casey Grillo plays his drums dynamically especially in Memento Mori where he contributes in enriching the sounds during interlude. He also plays wonderfully during the entrance of keyboard solo by Jens Johansson in March of Mephisto. Khan has demonstrated his low register notes with high power wonderfully. His vocal quality has improved a lot since Epica album. I especially like when he sings ".close my eyes ." on the first first of Memento Mori.

On Production

First, the sonic quality of this CD is really good - I can hear all details of sound effects and orchestra instruments clearly. This album is best enjoyed with loud volume of your power amplifier. Second, this album is still produced by two geniuses gentlemen named Sascha Paeth and Miro who also contribute to play in the album. I salute these two gentlemen who have been very successful producing great albums like this one. I think Sascha Paeth and Miro are like Bob Ezrin of power metal band.

SUMMARY

Overall, it's a great album with immaculate composition, powerful songwriting and arrangement. For those who favor Dream Theater, Threshold, Symphony X, Evergrey, Rhapsody, Poverty's No Crime, Andromeda, Ice Age, Pain of Salvation, etc. would definitely love this album. Those who are familiar with Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, Adagio etc. would also find this album enjoyable. Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours,

GW

Rules without exceptions last eternally. Every move you make creates your destiny. - "When The Lights Are Down" KAMELOT.

Gatot | 5/5 |

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