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Kamelot Karma album cover
3.81 | 176 ratings | 21 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Regalis Apertura (1:57)
2. Forever (4:07)
3. Wings Of Despair (4:32)
4. The Spell (4:20)
5. Don't You Cry (4:18)
6. Karma (5:12)
7. The Light I Shine On You (4:15)
8. Temples Of Gold (4:11)
9. Across The Highlands (3:46)
- Elizabeth :
10. I- Mirror Mirror (4:22)
11. II- Requiem For The Innocent (3:46)
12. III- Fall From Grace (4:15)
- (plus about 7 minutes of silence)

Total Time: 50:01

13. Ne Pleure Pas (US bonus track) (4:14)

13. Once and Future King (Japanese bonus track)

Line-up / Musicians

- Roy Khan / vocals
- Thomas Youngblood / lead, rhythm & acoustic guitar
- Glenn Barry / bass
- Casey Grillo / drums

- Liv Nina Mosven / operatic vocals (11,12)
- Cinzia Rizzo / backing vocals
- Robert Hunecke-Rizzo / backing vocals
- Olaf Hayer / backing vocals
- Sascha Paeth / guitars, co-producer
- Miro / keyboards, orchestral arrangements, backing vocals, co-producer
- Farouk Asjadi / shakuhachi
- Rodenberg Symphony Orchestra
- Tobias Rempe / 1st violin
- Corinna Guthmann / 2nd violin
- Marie-Theres Stumpf / viola
- Patrick Sepec / cello

Releases information

Artwork: Derek Gores

CD Noise Records ‎- N03452, (2001, Germany)
CD Sanctuary Records ‎- NMRCD027 (2007, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KAMELOT Karma ratings distribution

(176 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KAMELOT Karma reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by semismart
5 stars Karma is the fifth of six studio albums released by Kamelot. It has been out for a couple years so if you're into this kind of music you probably own it. Therefore, this review is for the stragglers (there's always some), the fence sitters and the non-believers, if they haven't clicked off yet and the ever curious.

Now there are different versions of Power Metal as well. My favorite bands are the ones that introduce a symphonic element, sometimes with choirs into their music. Kamelot is such a band and I am visibly impressed by their larger than life sound, so let's talk about Kamelot, shall we?

Kamelot was formed in 1991 and released their first album, Eternity four years later. Their lineup has changed slightly since then and has been greatly enhanced by the addition of ex-Conception singer, Roy Kahn, who is one of the best pure singers around. In 2003 they released their sixth album called Epica, which I will review at a future date.


"Regalis Apertura"

"Regalis Apertura" is an bombastic instrumental introduction, reminecent of Chariots of Fire, featuring keyboardist, Cy Miroff.

"Forever," has a speed metal tempo but Roy Kahn's singing and the rest of the band play at a normal pace. Song has very pleasant melodies, the kind that sticks in your head.

"Wings of Despair" is exceedingly inspiring, engendering a feeling of heroics within the music and chorus.

"The Spell" has a catchy mid tempo beat and melody and is, again, the kind of song that sticks in your mind for days. This song definitely has a rock edge.

"Dont You Cry" is a balladic tribute to founder/lead guitarist/songwriter, Thomas Youngblood's deceased father.

"Karma" very nice opening on this medium fast paced piece with a catchy beat and an eastern flavor melody. Kahn's vocals are exceptional.

"The Light I Shine On You" is a nice medium paced number with lovely melodies and lyrics.

"Temples of Gold" is like a power ballad, gradually building up steam from placid-to- heavier dynamics, with an eastern melody and mournful lyrics.

"Across The Highlands", a medium paced song where the guitar work is stellar, evolving between majestic and aggressive with ease.

"Mirror Mirror" this and the next two songs tell the about the bloody history of the infamous Romanian Countess, Elizabeth Bathori. Part I, "Mirror Mirror," is a beautiful but haunting composition with bells, keyboards and strings.

"Requiem for the Innocent" is Part II of the Elizabeth Trilogy, a vile sixteenth century countess who sought immortality by taking baths in the blood of over six hundred subjects. Part II ups the intensity with Youngbloods crunchy riffs leading towards the finale of Part III, "Fall from Grace."


I'm glad to tout an American band for a change for I'm afraid most young American musicians have abandoned heavy metal. I once read a statement by someone unknown, that has turned out to be very true, "Heavy Metal didn't die, it just emigrated to Europe".

Now this music is starting to come back to us in various sub-genres, via Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, In Flames, Nightwish, Therion, Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica and others with a delicious exotic European seasoning.

Whereas, I warned readers that Blind Guardian, Evergrey and a couple other groups would take multiple plays to get used to and appreciate, this is NOT the case with Karma. I believe alternative, rock and pop affectionados could jump right in on Karma and dig it right away. Maybe thats because it's an Americanized version of Epic Power Metal but I think it's because Roy Kahn is a popular music style singer and the music really isn't all that much different from that played on top twenty stations.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Symphonic Power Metal

When I wrote review of Rhapsody albums, I did mention that Kamelot should be featured also in this site with the basis of Rhapsody's inclusion. And I did not follow up right after that as I subconsciously believe that Kamelot is more on symphonic power metal than in progressive rock. Nevertheless, I love the band very very much! To me, it's a kind of break enjoying the music of Kamelot music because it has energy, power and excellent melody. Even in power metal genre, Kamelot is probably the most melodic compared to other bands in the genre. And now I'm surprised and happy that this band is now featured in this site despite my doubt on "is this prog?". I am also happy to read what colleague reviewer semismart has put a good review on this album.

For me personally, Karma was my entry gate to power metal genre where I then knew bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian, Ed Guy, Tobias Samet's Avantasia, Shaman, Angra, Gamma Ray, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, etc.. I knew the band by accident when I was in a local CD store wanting to buy CDs but could not get what I want until someone asked me to take the CD of this album. "Nah . it's a metal band!", my comment to him. But he insisted to try. At first spin - it blew my mind man ..!! I like the opening orchestration on the powerful beat, tempo and melody of the track that follows. Yeah . it really rock! And I kept spinning the CD over and over for couple of weeks and got no indication of being bored with the music. My mind was transposed to a melodic power metal atmosphere! So, as for this review, I will put aside the "progness" of this album as I believe that Kamelot is more on power metal vein than prog.

Regalis Apertura - It's a very short symphonic orchestra that sets the overall tone of the whole album. I like it very much and I never skip this track whenever I play the CD. Having had the masterminds of power metal orchestra: Miro and Sascha Paeth, no one would argue the quality! Later, I knew that in typical power metal album there is an opening like this. It's the same case with Helloween, the pioneer.

Forever - Right after the opening light orchestra, this track blast- off with a power metal music characterized by double pedal drumming and fast speed tempo, guitar leads the melody. Wow! A wonderful opening!! This track immediately becomes my all-time favorite that I keep emulating the melody even without playing the CD. It's a very melodic track. I like the melody piece when the vocal sings "Will you revive from the chaos in my mind .." Uuuhhhh .. What a great shot !!

Wings Of Despair - This track follows in almost similar tempo with "Forever" and it has a great melody as well. Well, I like the vocal quality of Khan - It's best for this kind of music, I think.

The Spell - It's a more accessible track with great rhythm section and simpler chords selection. The simple lyrics "All my demons cast a spell" has once been used by my metal mates down here to greet one another when they meet. It's an interesting passage.

Don't You Cry - This is not the one like Guns N Roses'. And I bet you would love this very sad song dedicated to Thomas Youngblood Sr. It's a mellow and touchy song.

Karma - It brings the music back to a power metal vein. The music seems like a straight forward hard rock tune with a tasty and memorable melody. The Light I Shine On You - It's performed in similar vein as "karma" with some accentuation on guitar riffs.

Temples Of Gold - A slow rock tune in the vein of "Don't You Cry" but this time with drumming. It's a very melodic and excellent tune.

Across The Highlands - It brings the music back on track with energy in a power metal vein.

Elizabeth - It's an epic where in a way there is a blend of neo progressive style (Marillion, Pallas, etc) and power metal. It comprises three tracks: "Mirror Mirror", "Requiem For The Innocent" and "Fall From Grace" PLUS a "factory defect" (?) where at the end there is approx 7 minutes of silence. This epic is really wonderful as it has a tight structure and memorable melody. It should be enjoyed in its entirety.

Overall, I give this album a five stars rating as a masterpiece of symphonic power metal album and not a prog one. If you are not into power metal music, you may not like this album. For me, I enjoy it very very much. [Honestly, I even once had a dream during my nightsleep of watching the band on stage and I sing together while the band performing "Forever" - my favorite track. Unfortunately, it was just a dream. But, the dream itself I experienced it!] --- Hail .. GW, Indonesia.

"Who will trade his karma for my kingdom?"

Review by Vanwarp
4 stars Welcome to the complex world of Kamelot, melodic power metal with a very delicate twist.

"Karma" dives into various themes of life that are usually ignored by the majority because of - FEAR. Some subject matters are "taboo", nobody goes there because...nobody goes there! But Kamelot are not afraid to open the doors that many fear to look behind. Is this journey into darker subjects good or bad? I'm not sure, but maybe the boys from Kamelot are merely trying to grab your attention with references to destiny, immortals and legends? Here are a few interesting lines found on this album...

On "Forever", the song ends with "I'm waiting for the day that I'm gone"...

On "Wings of Despair", Khan sings: "Fly on the wings of despair"...

On "Karma", Khan sings: "my sins have come to face me, I can feel it that I have lived my life in vain"...

On "The light I shine on you", Khan sings "and this is a praise to all of you, cause the light I shine on you is what you gave to me"...

"Don't you cry" is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Youngblood Sr...a very moving song indeed.

And, at the heart of Karma you will find "Elizabeth", a trilogy: act I is "mirror mirror", act II is "Requiem for the innocent", and act III is "Fall from grace". Now these three songs tell the tragic story of Elizabeth Bathori...The Blood Queen of Slovakia who lived at the turn of the 17th century.

It is said that Bathori had a lesbian lover and surrounded herself with magicians, fortune tellers and witches...AND that she tortured servants for entertainment! But the story does not end there, as the legend goes, Bathori allegedly had 600 girls killed in order to rejuvenate her body. Many a drained bodies were discovered just outside her castle walls. Elizabeth was never executed but remained imprisoned in her castle until her death in 1614. Torture tools that she was using disappeared during WWII and her only portrait was stolen in 1990.

Kamelot tackles this legend with the grace and respect that such a subject commands. Flying guitar solos, pounding bass lines and some 16th note kick drums mixed with piano, orchestral arrangements and unabashedly emotive vocals make for some very impressive progressive power metal, more like a mix of Stratovarius and Blind Guardian than anything else I know.

Song highlights: "Forever", "Across the Highlands" and "Wings of Despair"...

Review by horza
4 stars I have to thank the Prog Archives for helping me to discover Kamelot. I LOVE this band. 'Karma' is a fantastic album, and every bit as good as their 'The Black Halo' and 'Epica' CD's (thats 'Epica' the album NOT the band,although they ain't bad either). 'Regalis Apertura' is a stately,restrained opener, quickly followed by two powerhouse tracks,'Foerever' and ''Wing of Despair'. Both have catchy hooks,excellent playing and fantastic vocals from Roy Kahn. 'The Spell' is slightly less pacy,but still brimming with energy. It reminds me a little of Queensryche in places. It really is an excellent track, and you will soon wonder why you have never heard of Kamelot,if that is indeed the case. 'Don't You Cry' is a tear-jerking ballad, nice violin and acoustic guitar feature and Kahn's vocals are heart-rending and very moving. 'Karma',the title track, is another up- tempo prog-metal masterpiece,superb drumming and nice orchestral touches. There are 12 tracks on this album and the first 6 are simply superb. The rest of the album is as strong as the opening half. I am also reminded of Symphony X in places (no bad thing). My version of the CD also featured a bonus track 'Ne pleure pas' - the French language version of 'Don't You Cry'. Thanks again Prog Archives. Essential.
Review by b_olariu
3 stars This is the second review of mine to this band. I might say this is good but not so good as The forth legacy. Karma doesn't have so much ideas as previous one, but stil enjoyble. Kamelot is one of the front bands from today and they worth every push from you. They don't have weak albums, but some of them has more ideas then others. I remain to the album from 2000, witch i find one of the best of the band so far. Again very good prestation of Roy Khan, one of the leading voice of today. 2 tracks are here a bomb even for Kamelot, The spell and Karma. In the end a good one in Kamelot style, 3,5 stars, Good, but non-essential. P.S. Kamelot compose with grace and skill , and if you like bands like Angra, Stratovarius, Nightwish, etc, you will enjoy this band. Stunning band from USA. Worth every album you got. This is my opinion regard to the Karma album.
Review by Eclipse
4 stars Karma is one of the best KAMELOT albums, if not the best (i really am a bit indecisive between this one and Black Halo, since both are amazing). This is not as "prog" as you'll think it is only because of its presence in this site, but why should it be? While not a prog album, this is still very good music, and that's what matters. The songs here really ROCK, and you never get bored of them! (Okay, maybe after a LOT of listens you WILL get bored of' em, but this album lasts a long time, as with the band's music in general, it seems to never get old!...and that's an EXCELLENT thing on my book - noticed the number of capital words in this review? It's coz i'm listening to it right now so it makes feel ecstasic!).

On Karma we have almost everything that the band can offer. While Fourth Legacy has a more focused style, and actually a more original one, Karma is a lot simpler but has more variety in terms of melodies and it's also much more accesible. Starting with the "Apertura", making an "epic" entrance to this wonderful world created by KAMELOT, we soon feel the energy of "Forever" and "Wings of Despair", both are strong and catchy power metal tunes, and never fail to please me whenever i listen to them. Angry without being offensive, noisy or annoying, the metal made by KAMELOT is so unique despite its technical simplicity as they focus more on emotion, and this is really what matters when it comes to art, the emotion it transmits, and not the wank party bands like DREAM THEATER love to do to please their huge audience. Meh, this album alone is not even prog and will destroy all your D.T. discography, especially your beloved "Scenes from a Metropolis". Okay, back to Karma. "The Spell" is incredibly catchy, you will listen to it over and over and over again and never get bored of it! It has a sticky melody you'll not easily forget. "Don't You Cry" is an effective mellow moment, leading to the album's emotional highpoint - the title track, which is impressive, it is the kind of song that revives my soul when i feel bad, everyone should give this a listen when not in a happy mood. Believe me, it helps a lot. "The Light I Shine On You" is not one of my fav from this album, but it is still good. I love the first half but don't care much for the second. And then we are led to another beautiful moment, as "Temples of Gold" open with its killing melody. The fact alone that the ballads here are not cheesy mindless commercial tear-jerkers makes KAMELOT a band of true respect. "Across The Highlights" is a dramatic rocker which doesn't go to many places, and it is at the same level as "The Light I Shine On You", that is - a bit weaker than the other tracks. "Mirror Mirror" is touching and shows a great vocal performance backed by its dreamy melody. "Requiem for the Innocent" is a neat rocker, at the vein of "Memento Mori" from their last album, and leads to the album's closer "Fall from Grace", which is the heaviest tune here although its first half is not as interesting as it could have been. On its second half things change, though, as we are led to an impressive finale, when ROY repeats the vocal performance from "Mirror Mirror" ending the album in a high note.

This is one of KAMELOT's strongest albums and definitely a cornerstone on metal. Everyone should give Karma a listen, even if they don't care for this genre, as its beauty surpasses any prejudice one could have towards "power metal" music.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Karma is kamelot´s winning formula of The Fourth Legacy taken to another level. Their symphonic power metal sound is at their peak here with the album bursting with melody, guts and inspiration. After an instrumental intro comes Forever, one of my favorite Kamelot songs. The record flows evenly, with no weak track and generally showing the group´s grownth both as performedrs and songwriters. Roy Khan´s voice is better than ever, while the group absorbs their symphonic and eastern music influences even more. If on their two previous records their sound was already quite unique, this time they reached perfection. The last track, the suite Elizabeth (a 3 part song about the infamous countess Bathory) shows the group was confident enough to go even further on the progressive field. And gives a glimpse of their next effords.

Karma is their best "power metal" CD, since future works would be more symphonic and conceptual. Yes, they would go even further! But that´s another story. If you like symphonic power metal with fantastic melodies you just can´t miss this masterpiece. Highly recommended!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars My only experience with KAMELOT was with their excellent "Black Halo" release. I would describe that one as more powerful than "Karma" and Khan seems much more restrained on this record as well. Having said all that this album has too many great songs on it for me to rate it lower than 4 stars.This is very melodic Power-Metal with some fantastic vocals folks. And the cover isn't bad either.

"Regalis Apertura" is an instrumental intro to the album. It is orchestral and sounds like it's part of a movie soundtrack. "Forever" gets the blood flowing with a nice heavy, fast paced sound. Yeah, we're cooking now ! The song calms down with some piano but the rest is brief and we're galloping along again. "Wings Of Despair" opens with guitar as we get right into another barn burner. The guitar throughout this song is excellent. "The Spell" opens with an almost a waltz-like rhythm. The guitar work of Mr.Youngblood is a highlight for me on this track, especially during the last minute. "Don't You Cry" is a tribute to Youngblood's dad who died when he was 12 years old. Acoustic guitar and reserved vocals lead the way in this incredible ballad. "Karma" opens with some nice drum work as piano, double bass drumming and steller guitar work shine on this one.

"The Light I Shine On You" has some more great vocals and guitar. This song has some crunch ! "Temples Of Gold" is one of my favourites. I love Khan's vocals on this slower paced tune. Piano and soaring guitar to end it. "Across The Highlands" is an uptempo song while "Mirror Mirror" opens with the sounds of a music box as passionate vocals and a lovely guitar solo follow. "Requiem For The Innocent" has a powerful intro that settles down then picks up again. This sounds fantastic ! We get some orchestration as well. "Fall From Grace" opens with a fast paced section where they are playing flat out. The guitar is on fire and Khan is at his theatrical best. I was reminded of Bruce Dickinson when Khan gives us a vocal melody 2 1/2 minutes in.

I am of the opinion that if you want to check out KAMELOT this is where you should start and go forwards from here chronologically. No we do not need the Karma Police for this one, besides the band would probably beat the hell out of them anyway.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Featuring the story of "The Blood countess"

With their previous album, "The fourth legacy", Kamelot came of age in prog terms and created a truly outstanding album. The question when it comes to "Karma" is therefore was "Fourth legacy" a one off, or does the band go on to even greater things? The reality is that we are quickly reassured that "The fourth legacy" was indeed no fluke. It would be misleading though to assert that "Karma" is better than its predecessor, the two albums are essentially from the same mould.

The familiar overture type opener "Regalis Apertura" certainly has all the pomposity and majesty required to provide the reassurance we sought. As is customary, it leads into a blazing riff driven piece of melodic metal, "Forever" having a killer melody and superb harmonics. There is clear evidence that the epic Hollywood metal which Rhapsody would adopt as their hallmark originated with albums such as this. "Wings of despair" continues in a similar vein but the mood changes rapidly for "The spell". Here we have a fine ballad whose mood alters towards the end into something altogether more disturbing.

"Don't you cry" continues the softer, reflective mood, the track being primarily acoustic with strong vocals. The song features a genuine string quartet, further emphasising that while Kamelot's prog metal classification may be the most appropriate, it does not tell the whole story by any means.

The title track is a mini-epic in 5 minutes. The song features sweeping orchestration, chorale vocals and a frantic rhythm. Things become rather predictable if no less enjoyable during the later tracks such as the ballad "Temples Of Gold" and the highly accessible "Across The Highlands".

As with previous albums, Kamelot find that they can say all that needs to be said in each track in four to five minutes. There is once again no feature track here, and no overall concept. We do however find the band's first attempt at putting something together which goes beyond a set of individual tracks. The album closes with "The Elizabeth trilogy", which draws together three (surprise!) songs with a linked theme. These songs tell the true story of Elizabeth Bathori, a 16th century countess from what was then part of Hungary. She was known as "The blood countess" on account of her murderous activities for which she became notorious. While her co-perpetrators were duly tried and found guilty, the countess was imprisoned but never formally tried.

The three tracks which make up the trilogy effectively stand alone, one being another delicate ballad and two being prog metal excursions. While they are linked by the theme, musically they are simply the closing tracks.

In all, another superb album from Kamelot. It disappoints only in that the progress which has been apparent on each of their previous albums seems to have largely stalled here. Had "Karma" pre-dated "The fourth legacy" it would be hailed as the breakthrough album. It does not though, and is thus simply a fine piece of consolidation.

Review by Isa
4 stars |B-+| Fly, Kamelot, fly...

Karma is probably what many Kamelot fans might consider their breakthrough album (other than perhaps The Fourth Legacy), as it was the first of three amazing albums the band would create that would drive them to relative popularity in the metal community. This is were the band begins to really mold progressive elements with their music, which is pretty much well-written power metal, starting from their debut. At this point their music is progressing in the sense that much metal progresses - rather than finding tons of odd meter, long songs, and extended instrumental passages (the stereotypes of prog, if you will) we find instead more complicated arrangements overall, blending in their classical influence, as well as more use of various keyboard settings, and better composition overall really. As well, what many might consider the cheesier qualities of power metal (cliche' power-chord riffs, double bass overuse, corny lyrics and themes, etc.) are withering away, and much to this listener's delight.

As with many others on this site, I too ran into this album after already being impressed with Epica and The Black Halo (both of which really elevated Kamelot to being considered complete prog on my book). At first I was a little disappointed (just a little) with most of it, but as with many albums it grew on me overtime, now to the point where it's among my prog metal favorites. Each song is solid and has it's own great qualities. The Elizabeth trilogy probably contains my favorite material from Karma, and is an indicator of the heights to which the band would take their music in the following two albums. There really are no weak songs on this album, everything in this work is polished and full of expression. I'd also say that in some ways it's better written than Epica, but not quite as proggy. But as this rating is unaffected by comparisons, it's still an incredible album. Oh, and Don't You Cry is one of my favorite Kamelot tracks ever. It's just absolutely beautiful.

I highly recommend this album to anyone who listens to prog metal or thinks they might be interested in Kamelot's music. And if you're already into the more power metal oriented prog, this is an album you must have ASAP. It's a bit like your typical power metal, only awesome and more progressive for sure. I have very high standards for an album being even a four on my rating scale, and this is an album that meets them quite well. An excellent addition to any prog music indeed, and pretty much essential if you like prog metal.

Review by friso
3 stars Kamelot - Karma (2001)

Before my progressive collection had seen the daylight I was interested in metal. When I was fifteen I found out there was also a thing called power metal, which had an melodic side and some emotional songwriting. Nowadays I don't listen to power metal anymore, but since Kamelot has been added to PA I'm willing to write something about some of favorite albums from my youth. Though power-metal isn't may favorite genre, I must say Kamelot is the finest bands of the genre; with less clichés then most other power-metal bands.

On Karma the band developed a songwriting style that would make them successful. All songs have a catchy side, nice instrumental parts and some have good lyrics. Vocalist Roy Khan has a distinctive voice and the ability to sing both low and high notes. The heavy metal guitars of Youngblood are always melodic and the clean guitar passages show a classical trained background. The bass en drums are as can be expected with power metal: up- tempo and a bit emotionless.

In this album tries to show some different type of tracks, but the band never leaves the power-metal atmosphere. The three-part epic on the end 'Elizabeth' shows the first real progressive move by the band with a nice concept and good compositions. It was a strong move to include this trilogy on the latest live dvd!

There isn't a weak track on the album (if you like genre that it!) and the album ends with a feeling of completeness due to it's final three-part offering. There is however little progressive music to be found on this album, though I understand why this band has been nominated for PA. Sometimes the line between very good hard rock or metal and progressive rock or metal is thin. Kamelot is one of the best power-metal groups and the next two albums shows the band going into a slight progressive direction. For this album I give the three stars rating. There's some good songwriting, but don't expect innovation. Recommend to fans of melodic metal, not to fans of technical metal.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars The fifth legacy?

Karma followed on the heels of the great The Fourth Legacy from the previous year. The musical direction remains basically the same as on that fourth album and the band could even be accused of merely following their previously established formula on this album. However, there are also some noteworthy differences. The symphonic or even orchestral aspect of the band's brand of Symphonic Power Metal has become stronger while the very appealing Folk and World-Music influences that, for me, made The Fourth Legacy such a thrilling experience are largely absent or at least pushed forcefully into the background. There are still some oriental and Celtic touches here and there, but these tendencies have largely been overtaken by symphonic bombast. Some may say that this album is more progressive than Kamelot's earlier efforts, but these people might confuse progressive with symphonic. I would rather say that Karma is less progressive especially in that it is less eclectic and thus closer to conventional Symphonic Power Metal. Kamelot still knew how to write good songs however, but Karma adds little to what they already had achieved at the time.

Like the previous album, the present one too starts with a short instrumental by way of introduction. Forever and Wings Of Despair are rather typical Power Metal numbers with catchy melodies and the characteristic rapid dual bass drum attack. The Spell slows things down a little bit with a more traditional Heavy Metal riff and some tasteful synthesizers in the background, this one could have been by late 80's/early 90's Black Sabbath while Roy Khan here sounding very much like Queensr˙che's Geoff Tate. Don't You Cry, based on acoustic guitar and strings, is the first ballad of the album. It is a nice interlude for sure, but the song itself is utterly conventional both musically and lyrically and it lacks the folky and medieval feel of the ballads on The Fourth Legacy.

The title track is the counterpart of Nights Of Arabia from the The Fourth Legacy with its slight "oriental" feel and personally I think this is the first song that is up to par with the previous album's material. It is also one of the more progressive songs here as it moves through both heavy, melodic and more mellow piano-based passages. The Light I Shine On You continues in the same vein, but at this point I feel it is basically more of the same. Temples Of Gold is another ballad - or, perhaps better, semi-ballad - that comes as a relief after the Metal onslaught of the foregoing tracks. This one is thankfully a lot better, and a lot less cheesy, than Don't You Cry, but it is not particularly memorable. Across The Highlands is, on the other hand, another strong track in the vein of Until Kingdom Come from the previous album with a slight Celtic feel.

The album ends with a three-part composition called Elisabeth parts I, II and III. The third and final part is, however, deceptively over ten minutes long while the majority of this time is filled with nothing for no good reason! Discounting this unnecessary silence, this three-part song is overall about 12 minutes long. "Progressiveness" is, of course, never to be measured in song length but this might still be the most ambitious composition by Kamelot (at least up to that point). It does, however, like most of the rest of the album, fit very nicely under the heading of 'Symphonic Power Metal'.

Overall, Karma is a good but quite formulaic album in Kamelot's typical style. For me, this one is less interesting than The Fourth Legacy which remains my favourite Kamelot album.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars This is the studio follow-up to 'The Fourth Legacy' that I reviewed a while ago. This difficult fifth album shows the band at probably their strongest yet. They hit hard, yet never lose their melody and in vocalist Khan, they have one of the strongest singers around. It is impossible to follow the lyrics easily without having the booklet to hand and although he is not as much of a screamer as Bruce Dickinson, they have a lot in common. They do not have a keyboard player in the band, which seems a little strange as that sound is integral to their music (here provided by co-producer Miro).

Thomas Youngblood riffs like a dervish, while Glenn Barry and Casey Grillo keep the bottom end nailed tight. The production is very good, and the power of the band comes through without losing any of the melody. The album closes with a trilogy based on Elisabeth Bathory. With one song ("Don't You Cry") being homage to Thomas' father this melodic hard rock band is a little out of the ordinary.

An album I enjoyed immensely.

Originally appeared in Feedback #62, May 01

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars I had heard some good things about this band and the fans here definitely have a lot of things to say about them. Symphonic Metal can be a guilty pleasure for me from time to time, and after hearing a few tracks from a few of their albums, I was initially impressed enough to check them out a little bit more.

So after hearing this album, I agree that the band has a symphonic edge to their music, but there is nothing much on here that is progressive. The band, in reality, is not much different from the "metal" of the 80's, of which I am not a fan. The only thing that really sets them apart much from those hair bands, is a speed metal drummer, but the music isn't speed metal, it's, like I said, too similar to bands like Europe. I know that will offend some, but I really couldn't get past the fact that this could have easily fit in with those types of bands.

The vocalist is quite talented, and you can definitely hear his passion in some passages and especially in the beautiful song "Don't You Cry" (which was actually one of their first songs I heard and it was one of the songs that I thought was decent enough to give the band a try). That song is definitely a highlight of the album. There are some nice guitar passages, but they don't expand the songs enough. And I hate the fade outs that occur from time to time. They seem to be inconsequential and misplaced simply to keep the songs down to a radio friendly timing.

Anyway, this album for me was not a positive experience. It seemed too cheesy, too reminiscent of a bad decade and the speed drumming just doesn't fit with the music. There are too many great progressive metal bands out there to spend too much time with music like this. I know it fits the taste of some of the listeners out there, but hopefully no one is mislead to believe this is progressive at all. Fans of this type of music will enjoy it only. 2 stars.

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