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Kamelot The Black Halo album cover
4.10 | 333 ratings | 44 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. March of Mephisto (5:29)
2. When the Lights Are Down (3:41)
3. The Haunting (Somewhere in Time) (5:48)
4. Soul Society (4:17)
5. Interlude I: Dei Gratia (0:57)
6. Abandoned (4:07)
7. This Pain (3:59)
8. Moonlight (5:10)
9. Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso (0:40)
10. The Black Halo (3:43)
11. Nothing Ever Dies (4:45)
12. Memento Mori (8:54)
13. Interlude III: Midnight - Twelve Tolls for a New Day (1:21)
14. Serenade (4:32)

Total Time: 57:23

Bonus Tracks on 2005 Nexus release:
15. Epilogue (2:46)
16. Soul Society (Radio Edit Version) (3:52)

Line-up / Musicians

- Roy "Khan" Khantatat / lead vocals
- Thomas Youngblood / lead guitars
- Glenn Barry / bass
- Casey Grillo / drums

- Michael "Miro" Rodenberg / keyboards, choir vocals, orchestral arrangements, co-producer
- Sascha Paeth / guitar, co-producer
- Jens Johansson / keyboards solo (1,2,16)
- Andre Neygenfind / bass (6)
- The Rodenberg Symphony Orchestra
- Simone Simons / vocals (3,15)
- Stian "Shagrath" Thorensen / vocals (1,12,16)
- Annelise Youngblood / vocals (4)
- Mari / vocals (6,12)
- Cinzia Rizzo / vocals (9)
- Geoff Rudd / vocals
- Herbie Langhans / chorus vocals
- Amanda Somerville-Scharf / chorus vocals
- Gerit Göbel / chorus vocals
- Thomas Rettke / chorus vocals
- Elisabeth Hjaarnes / chorus vocals

Releases information

ArtWork: Derek Gores with Mattias Norén (booklet)

CD Steamhammer ‎- SPV 085-69572 CD (2005, Germany)
CD Nexus ‎- KICP 1047 (2005, Japan) W/ 2 bonus tracks

2xLP Steamhammer ‎- SPV 69571 2LP (2009, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KAMELOT The Black Halo ratings distribution

(333 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KAMELOT The Black Halo reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

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'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.


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,


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

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Simply wonderful. This is their best record to date, and for me is THE masterpiece record that I always hoped Rhapsody would make ... but they didn't, Kamelot did. I give it 4 stars, because although this album has much more progressive moments than the previous Kamelot albums, it is still more Symphonic Power Metal than Progressive Metal. But if you're a Power Metal fan, you can add one star to my rating.

Actually, on this record they managed to incorporate many different approaches to songwriting and

sound. I hear Nightwish influences, very subtle Dream Theater and Symphony X hints in the guitar riffs, and Shadow Gallery is also shining through in the keyboard layering and epic chord progressions. And, of course, Rhapsody. While I love their stuff as well, I was always bothered by the accent of the singer and the cheesy lyrics. None of these problems exist on the Black Halo, except maybe for some latin/italian passages, but they are performed flawlessly.

With all that said, if you're not into symphonic (as in classical) orchestration and operatic singing, you might be a little bit careful ... but if you're looking for an album to begin with in this genre, this album is IT. It's very much better than many of it's direct peers (Therion, Nightwish, Rhapsody) because it has more facets and diversity.

The limited edition is a bit of a let down, because the bonus tracks are merely shorter versions (radio edits) of album songs, but the digipack is quite beautiful.

Abandoned: What a beautiful and timeless melody ... a perfect track.

Review by Vanwarp
5 stars This is a conceptual album loosely based on German writer Wolfgang Goethe's Faust and the story depicts the continuing struggle between good and evil. The main characters are: Mephisto as the devil, Ariel as the troubled soul and Helena and Marguerite who both attempt to connect with Ariel. As it turns out, both are rejected by Ariel who does not allow himself the opportunity to love because he fears the pain it may cause him.

All of the arrangements on the album are superb and those cool little fills, there is just so much one can absorb in one sitting. In many ways the album is more accessible than difficult to get into. But many may find it the opposite, very demanding of the listener and some may actually have a hard time "getting it" on the first few spins. One thing is for sure, the album contains some very enjoyable tracks that will satisfy one's metal appetite immediately. Then again, some tracks simply won't do anything for you until many spins later. This also happened to me. For instance, on the very first spin, 5 or 6 songs immediately caught my attention. That is to be expected when one is not familiar enough with a conceptual metal album. Furthermore, several tracks actually disappointed me on the first few spins. But then, on the umpteenth spin or so, the album finally came into focus for me and some of those disappointments actually turned into highlights. This happened to me over several days, someone who is not familiar with the genre may need more time.

The album also appears more guitar driven to me than their previous offerings Epica and Karma. While many would argue that Epica contained far too many interludes, the band has not only narrowed it down to three here, but they also changed their overall usefulness on this album.

To begin with, even the interludes are very different from one another. This all adds to the overall diversity of the album and the many colorful arrangements are not limited to the main tracks on the album as we discover on the particularly deceiving third interlude: "Twelve Tolls for a New Day". Everything starts slowly, then the music appears to be moving backwards and suddenly faster and faster until everything just explodes. This album is simply on a playing field of it's own. It is clearly an achievement to be reckoned with. Everything on the album has a purpose, nothing was included that really should not be there.

My most cherished albums always result in my writing a more in-depth song-by-song review:

1. "March Of Mephisto" - (9/10)

Everything slowly builds at the beginning, just as Mephisto's influence on Ariel continues to grow, so will the music. This is perhaps the most difficult song on the album to get into. There's nothing immediate about it. There are moments during the song that one can imagine Mephisto's army marching and the bleakness and desolation associated with such a scene. Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) makes his first guest appearance as the evil Mephisto and Jens Johannsson (Stratovarius) also makes a guest appearance performing all the keyboard solos.

2. "When The Lights Are Down" - (10/10)

The first of several speedy fast paced tracks on the album. The clean pristine sound of Kamelot is alive and well and at one point or another during this track every single instrument is highlighted here. At this point of the story Ariel believes that his rejection of Helena has altered his life for good. As well, Ariel's perception of good and evil is also changing. This track includes another excellent keyboard performance by Jens Johansson and make sure you don't miss the incredible guitar/keyboard solo between Johansson and Thomas Youngblood...

3. "The Haunting (Somewhere In Time)" - (10/10)

This is one of the most immediately accessible tracks on the album and will appeal to a wider more commercial oriented audience. Wonderful atmospheric opening with some very cool eerie effects. This song is also the first that makes reference to Goethe's Faust story. Simone Simon makes a guest appearance as Marguerite who as it turns out is Ariel's last chance of finding true love. Ariel rejects her, basically his fear of pain and being hurt is so overwhelming that he won't risk it and will deny love instead.

4. "Soul Society" - (10/10)

Another immediately accessible track. This one also starts much like "The Haunting" but it is also heavier in many ways, more guitar driven and more epic sounding. The story now is all in Ariel's mind, he understands that he has total control over his own life but thinks there must be more to it than just that. The baby girl you hear giggling and laughing at the midpoint mark is Annelise Youngblood. Nice touch guys...

5. "Interlude I: Dei Gratia" - (8/10)

One can hear praying, someone climbing stairs, beautiful harmonizing voice, the choir adds a religious atmospheric touch and finally a male voice comes into focus sounding much like a priest. Here, Ariel is attempting to connect with God.

6. "Abandoned" - (9/10)

This song begins slowly and softly with piano and strings, simply a beautiful opening. When the singing starts the experience here is emotionally flat (perhaps intentionally so) that is right up until about the midpoint when Helena makes an appearance along with the added orchestrations, both simply combine here for a huge injection of emotion, and just like getting an injection of insulin, it breathes new life into the track. Does Epic Power ballad come to mind? But this is far from being your average glossy over the top type of epic power ballad. This is not one of those immediate songs I was talking about. Mari (Epica) makes her first guest appearance on the album as Helena while the choir and orchestra both play an important role on this track, symbolizing the obstacles in Ariel's life while he continues to search for truth and inner peace. Incredibly chilling performance...

7. "This Pain" - (10/10)

Soft acoustic opening but quickly moves into heavy territory, an excellent guitar driven track. One of the highlights for me. Ariel realizes here that he has to live with the consequences of the choices he's made in his life.

8. "Moonlight" - (10/10)

Soft piano and strings open the song but this is another fine guitar driven track and another highlight for me. Ariel senses death is close and he is both fascinated and scared at the thought of dying.

9. "Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso" - (10/10)

Cinzia Rizzo makes a first-rate guest appearance as the cabaret singer. The flavor here is but a short scene in a dark cabaret in which the Italian singer foretells Ariel's fate as she whispers..."a very silent murder."

10. "The Black Halo" - (9.5/10)

The title track is perhaps the most demanding of all the tracks on the album. It is built on a 5/4 time signature, something the band has done before on both "Karma" and "III Ways to Epica." It is a hard guitar driven track with the choir and full orchestra backing them up. Ariel finally confronts Mephisto about a possible breach of contract, the one he signed way back on Epica. Ariel no longer fears death...

11. "Nothing Ever Dies" - (8/10)

A speedy track from the get go. There's a lot going on here, a lot of interesting fills included here and there and simply a great catchy chorus and splendid guitar solo. Ariel ponders religion before his death...

12. "Memento Mori" - (10/10)

"Memento Mori" opens much like "Abandoned" with piano and soft atmospheric orchestrations before the band introduces progressive power metal influences into the mix. Mari (Epica) makes her second guest appearance and so does Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir). Mephisto finally unites with Helena in Ariel's tormented mind. This is the climax of the story and the longest song in the history of the band. In the end, the battle between good and evil is within us all and the power to decide between one or the other also resides within us..."I am the God in my own history."

13. "Interlude III: Midnight - Twelve Tolls For A New Day" - (10/10)

I won't repeat what I've already said about this short interlude, but it ultimately reflects Ariel's final moments before his Death. From the liner notes we learn that from every death something new is born and that "all life or energy is an eternal constant." The story is finally over, however, not the album.

14. "Serenade" - (10/10)

This track is upbeat and ends the album on a high note. Also, there is a very positive message here and I'm so glad they choose to end it this way. In my view it really compliments the story and closes the album perfectly. I think the liner notes describe it best:

"...not really part of the story itself. It's a euphoric hymn to hope and harmony, life and the will to live it to the fullest while we are here. Love & Wonder, Life & Death."

Playing time: 57m21s


In closing, rarely have I bought an album that begs one to listened to it again and again. It is not so much the originality of The Black Halo that draws you in but the overall care to detail and flow of the album as a whole. Another very interesting fact I want to share is in the way many of the songs are linked, sometimes with siren, sometimes with thunderstorm, sometimes with howling wolf and wind. There's always some connection of some sort from beginning to end. I also really love the way the orchestra often comes off as just another instrument in the mix.

As well, I can't go without talking a little bit about the guys in the band. All are deserving of high praise for their work over the years and specifically on this album. The bass and drum work is varied and bang on. Youngblood's guitar work is beyond reproach and he merits much attention for his work here. And what to say about Khan's vocals? Wow! He continues to prove, album after album, that he is one of the best vocalist in the genre.

Tracks on The Black Halo that have an immediate appeal - "When The Lights Go Down", "The Haunted", "Soul Society", "This Pain", "Moonlight" and "Serenade" - while others will require more time to fully appreciate the powerful musical experience that is hidden within - "March of Mephisto", "Abandoned", "The Black Halo" and "Memento". "Nothing Ever Dies" lies somewhere in between both worlds, that only leaves three short "interludes" strategically included throughout the album. In the progressive power metal genre and style, this is as close to perfection as one can possibly find...

Review by horza
4 stars Discovered this band by chance recently and have to confess that since then it is my most played disc.The opener March of Mephisto sets the tone and rocks along at a fair pace. The bands website has the video for the track and its a belter.When the lights are down,the second track,is also superb and the third,The Haunting has some nice male/female exchanges.The Haunting video is also on the bands website.The band are classified as prog metal and that is a fair enough description.The vocalist is superb and the standard of musicianship is top notch.Its well worth checking out.On the back of this you may enjoy trying Epica next.
Review by FishyMonkey
4 stars This is just epic stuff. Really good, epic stuff. The songwriting is tight and consistant throughout, the songs really give you an epic feel and the playing is solid. The vocals are quite good and the usage of keyboards and that orchestral feel is done masterfully. All around, this album doesn't scream "OMG", it more just reeks of polish, overproduction and overall yells "SOLID!". There's nothing that stands out about this album, but everything is consitently excellent throughout.

Kamelot's whole sound revolves around a march tempo and sometimes faster 4:00 orchestrated song following the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus format. The playing allows for plenty of headbanging, and the vocals are great to song along to... my brother and I can vouch for that. Just imagine a powerful but desperate warrior in the middle ages marching with sword in hand against foes of darkness while trying to satisfy a woman and a god, of course. Marching towards hell with heaven on his back. Just epic metal AKA power metal. The last three albums, I think, have actually been concept albums, but I don't care enough to discover what it is. The lyrics are, of course, cheesy, and the singing can get cheesy, but it's far better than the last two albums. And Khan's voice fits the style perfectly.

There's really no point in talking about songs, since they mostly sound the same, but worth noting are the interludes. There are three interludes, which are mostly just breaks to try out something different. One has a part sung a cappella and it soudns awful, but that's ok. The rest of the songs follow the formula described above with greta success. Standouts are the opening track, March of Mephisto (featuring demonic vocals from Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir, heh), Moonlight, The Haunting (Somewhere in Time), and When The Lights Are Down, which is actually a lot faster than the normal Kamelot song on this album.

Normally I'd give such a formulaic album as this a 3/5, but Kamelot's formula is done with such a high level of mastery that I must give it 4/5. Reccomended to anyone looking for some good, straight-forward epic stuff with plenty of headbanging involved.

Review by King of Loss
4 stars This is masterpiece, sort of like Dream Theater's Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory, Ayreon's The Human Equation, Yes' Close to the Edge, Genesis's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, The Flower Kings' Unfold the Future, Spock's Beard's Snow. This is an album that brings Kamelot up to a new level, which is saying a lot considering Epica was probably also one of the best Power Metal albums ever.

This album slams us in the face first with March of Mephisto guesting Jens Johansson on keyboards and Shagrath's weird growls. Great opener. When the Lights are down is another track, perhaps one of the best tracks on the album. Its one of those Kamelot songs in vain of Center of the Universe or Wings of Despair.

The next songs get interesting since these songs mark another level in the Progressive realm that they had crossed at around the release of the Fourth Legacy, the songs following are among Kamelot's most progressive and catchy songs. Khan's voice remains very good and the crunching Power Metal rhythmn matches it.

Abandoned shows one of Kamelot's soft side, perhaps one of Power Metal's premier ballads. Shows of the strength of Khan's voice and the way that he uses it eloquently.

The Black Halo is a highlight on this album, probably one of the most complex Kamelot songs ever. It is also one of the heaviest on this album along with the opener. Great offbeat riff.

Memento Mori is the "epic" on this album, even though Kamelot does not follow the "Prog epic" format. It is a great song, really interesting lyrics in this one.

Serenade is a great closer with its Power Metal elements and rhythmns.

Very Good album, essential if you love Prog Power Metal, Power Metal, Prog Metal or just love Prog in general.

Buy the album to hear what I have described here, but I warn you, it is not for the average 70s Symphonic Prog junkie.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Listening to this record I couldn't help but think of some of the AYREON projects, it's like your listening to the soundtrack of an epic movie. As a matter of fact, last week at work I was dealing with a customer out front, and the cd changed in my stereo and this came on, the man in his late forties looks to the back where the beginning of "March Of Mephisto" could be heard and says "Is that a movie coming on ? It sounds like it could be the start of Lord of the Rings or something". I told him it was KAMELOT, a rock band and he says "Oh yeah, there's the guitars".The whole time he's smiling away. This is a grandious recording with all the elements I love about music, a great vocalist, scorching guitars and very melodic.

"When The Light Are Down" opens with some great bass and drum work. There is a good keyboard solo and the guitar is great, good song. "The Haunting (Somewhere in time)" is another powerful song with Khan's amazing vocals accompanied with the female vocals of Simone from EPICA and a terrific guitar melody. "Soul Society" features some crunchy guitar and orchestral passages. I must say the first four songs before the "Interlude I" are all 9 or 10 out of 10, what a way to open a record ! "Abandoned" is a beautiful song with piano, female vocals, strings and orchestal sounds.

"The Pain" is a heavy, melodic song with lots of guitar, it's great. "Moonlight" opens with the sound of a wolf howling as piano and strings come in and later some good guitar riffs. Next is the second interlude. "The Black Halo" is my favourite track, with a drum attack and a galloping rythmn driving this melodic song along. "Nothing Ever Dies" is a fast paced song with some wondrous guitar after 3 minutes. "Momento Mori" is my second favourite, but probably the best song on the album, this is a real trip, with beautiful vocals in the beginning to a heavy, intense passage.The album ends with "Serenade" an uptempo, positive tune.

If your into Metal, this one is for you. 4.5 stars.

Review by sleeper
4 stars I'm not exactly what you would call a fan of Power metal, whether its prog or not. I found it has a tendency to be overly cheesy and hung up over the clichéd dungeons and dragons, sword and sorcery that many people find annoying. However, The Black Halo is both heavily prog influenced power metal that doesn't get stuck singing about dragons and ends up with a very catchy album that doesn't have a hint of cheese in it anywhere, thank God!

The music is based on creating powerful, catchy riffs and this is something that is prevalent throughout the album, but this doesn't mean that the album has a homogenous sound. Many of the songs are built up, usually starting from simple guitar lines or from keyboard passages that develop into a powerful crescendo, and usually in the space of 4-5 minutes. In fact the large range of diversity between the songs is far greater than I would have expected, from the largely keyboard and sample based Abandoned to the crushing songs of March Of Mephisto and The Haunting (Somewhere in Time) to the slower and haunting Moonlight and Serenade and finally the "epic" of the album, Memento Mori that builds exquisitely over its eight minutes.

The instrumentation in this album is very good as well, based largely on creating, and regularly expanding on, melodies with appropriate, but short, solo sections. Some songs do seem to get repetitive as not all fully develop from where they start but as many of the songs are rather short it doesn't really bother me. The keyboards prove to be a really good back up on this album really helping to diversify the music and sometimes being the catalyst to get the music to move on and develop into something else, as well as creating extra layers of textures to fill the music and give it depth. Roy Khan does stand out, though, as a stunning singer. His voice perfectly compliments the music whatever its doing, and to a better degree than many other singers that I have heard. He is a theatrical singer, a you would expect from this kind of music, but he never uses that aspect of his performance to overshadow the music. He is quite possibly one of the best vocal talents of the time. The guest vocalists do a great job on here as well, with Shagrath (!?) providing suitably demonic growls for the character of Mephisto and Epica's Simone Simmons giving a brilliant turn at Margarite on The Haunting (Somewhere in Time).

Overall, I'll give the album 4 stars. A lot of the music does progress from where it starts, going through a range of emotions and textures, but not always. There are a few songs on here that are simply not progressive, even if they are quite good. As a side note, on the special edition digi pack version, the two bonus songs are rather pointless, being just radio edits of March Of Mephisto and The Haunting (Somewhere In Time), though the packaging is nice. Speaking of which, I really do like the artwork used here, its very dark and expressive of the album as a whole, amongst my favourites.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Probably Kamelot´s best. After the groundbreaking Epica everybody was waiting for the second part fo the story, based on Goethe´s Faust. And umbelieving... they surpassed themselves with The Black Halo. The sound is even more sophisticated, elegant, melodic, varied and powerful. The band at its peak, no less. It´s really outstanding how the band´s sound changed in such a short time. Ok, it still retains some of their power metal roots, but certainly the music now is too elaborated, too intricated and progressive to be labeled simply as such. The guitar and drums patterns change from track to track, new elements are included to the already symphonic overall sound. They even include some keyboards solos (courtesy of Jens Johansson, from the finnish band Stratovarius). The presence of guest singers playing the parts of the other characters of the story are also a plus to help give the album a better view of the concept. And, of course, there is the vcoice of Roy Khan, one fo the most gifted frontman nowadays.

Of course it is not an easy listening CD, in the vein of Karma or The Fourth legacy. It takes some getting used to fully appreciatee all the nuances, like most prog albums. But once you do it you´ll certainly be mesmerized by the majestic music. One of the few cases of a band that gets better and better with each album release. Kamelot could have stayed on safer ground but decided to risk it all doing bolder projects and not fearing to expand their sound into new directions.

The results would be this masterpiece and, consequently, the recording of one of the most enthralling DVDs I ever saw (On Cold Winter´s Night, recorded during the tour promting The Black Halo). This is progressive symphonic metal at its best. 5 stars, no less!

Review by russellk
3 stars Progressive Metal can be an extremely cheesy genre. At its best (OPETH) it is filled with power, pomp and theatre, moments of drama separated by calm reflection. At its worst (RHAPSODY) it is stale cheddar, a refuge for testosterone-deficient lads to boost their fragile male egos. KAMELOT fit somewhere between the two extremes.

The opening of this album (March of Mephisto) is sensational, one of my favourite progressive metal pieces. A top-drawer riff leads into a powerful track. What a shame the album can't sustain this standard. Oh dear - the second song introduces what I think of as the SONATA ARCTICA/DRAGONFORCE riff. Yes, there's a bit more substance to 'When the Lights are Down' than that, but I find the speed hard to get past. And so it goes: for me, the album has a very uneven feeling. 'The Haunting' is excellent, 'Soul Society, with it's breakneck double-time speed, instantly forgettable. And so it goes. 'Memento Mori' is the album's other highlight, ensapsulating the album (and KAMELOT) in one nine-minute track.

KAMELOT have many of the ingredients to be a top-line band. A great vocalist, a fine guitarist and excellent rhythm section. And they can write good songs! Many people find their variety of styles refreshing, but I confess I find the speed metal stuff hard to take.

Not essential by any means, but worth listening to for the thirty minutes of genuine progressive metal.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars A heroic expansion of everything that makes Kamelot fun to listen to: big, epic metal riffs, memorable vocals, symphonic interludes, infectious lyrics, and dynamic compositions that will leave the listener screamer along with clenched fists one moment and directing orchestral balladry the next-- "Black Halo" is outstanding!

Don't be mislead by my fan-boyish praise... this album is filled with prog-metal cheese that stinks almost as much as the limburgerish Rhapsody; however, every time I start this album I finish it, and it is just as good each time. Singing along to Khan (and Satan, for a few delightful moments) is great fun, as is trying to keep pace with Youngblood's outstanding fretwork. The frequently religious lyrics are usually quite scathing, which simply sweetens the deal for me.

All in all, "Black Halo" is a gem of progressive-metal fun, simultaneously serious and tongue-in-cheek but always a powerful listen. It won't disappoint!

Songwriting 4 Instrumental Performances 4 Lyrics/Vocals 4 Style/Emotion/Replay 5

Review by progrules
4 stars By far the best Kamelot release ever ! This to make the most significant statement right away. It's already obvious with the impressive opener March of Mephisto, a song about the devil no doubt, very well rendered in music especially at the end of the song (4*). Next track is a fast one but not as impressive as the opener, not very long too but a very typical Kamelot track (3,25*). Third, the Haunting, is one where the exquisite voice of Khan is coming to full shining. Accessible and excellent song (3,75*) Soul Society is more in the style and quality of the 2nd song again, not too impressive but still ok (3,25*). Abandoned is a nice ballad, quite beautiful actually but not an outstanding one (3,5*). This Pain starts a bit flat until the guitar saves the song at last (3,25*). Moonlight is another accessible song but not in the meaning of simple more in a fine way (3,5*). The Black Halo is the shortish title track and is another pretty fast one. Second part of the song reminds me of Symphony X somewhat (3,25*). Nothing ever dies goes on in the same way though is a bit better as a composition (3,5*). This goes even more for the by far best track of the album and probably the best song Kamelot ever produced, Memento Mori. I wish this band made them more like this one, then I would probably be a real fan (4,75*). Serenade is the final track of the album and a nice closer (3,25*).

Mathematically it's a narrow escape for the 4 stars (3,6) but still it feels like a true 4 star album proving that a very strong track can really lift the entire feel for an album.

Review by friso
4 stars Yes it has to be said. Kamelot did actually succeed to keep up the good stuff after Epica was released. Epica was my first album of Kamelot and I liked it at an instant. I was kind of nervous when I first put this cd in my stereo. At first I didn't like the album. I usually dislike music when I hear it for the first time, so later on I gave it some more listens.

..the bad things..

It turned out to be a good solid record with just a few mistakes, in my opinion that is. We will first talk about bitter things before talking albout the glorius aspects of this album. Well, the production is way to loud! It could have sounded much better if recorded 10 dB lower in volume. This is the big problem with almost all metal records, so I don't blame Kamelot for it. It does make it hard for me to listen this record till the end, for I am an audiofreak. Another point I don't like about this album is the last song 'Serenades'. The album should have ended with Memento Mori, wich is a great track. Serenades however is one of the worst Kamelot recordings of the last 5 years. I wouldn't have put it on a bside of an single. But OK..

..the good things...

All song show off great musiscianship! Not only do they contain great riffs, nice solos and great vocals. They also got catchy chorusses so you will remember the songs. This makes Kamelot one of the best powermetal bands I know about. Roy Khan sounds a bit darker on this album. The whole album is more in minor then Epica. It somehow represents a dark feeling everyone has sometimes... like revenge.. angry and not giving up... Bitterness might be a good word. And in this mood you will find compositions perfectly fitting in the concept. This is the real power of The Black Halo. They kept up this mood for the whole record wich makes it distinct from the older albums. This is very important, powermetal has it's big weakness: It all can sound like the same. Not on this album, not today! Kamelot made their second great achievement.

..the conclusion..

Kamelot at their best. Enough progressive influences to be noticed by the progfans. If it had been a bit more progressive and better produced it could have become a masterpiece, but for now I'll give this four stars. Powermetal in it's glorydays!

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Kamelot play competent symphonic metal, a kind of music that is usually not my cup of tea due to being too formulaic, cheesy and commercial. But this band's competence at composition and execution and especially Khan's exceptional vocals lift this to a higher level. In a field of music usually occupied by vocalists that confuse high pitch with emotion, his warm intensity and versatility is a real relief.

The opener March of Mephisto is a delightful stomp of power metal, melodic, dramatic powerful and anthemic. This sits right next to Rainbow's best moments. Other tracks like When The Lights are Down are skilled but way too predictable and overtly commercial. The Haunting is better again and manages to suppress the AOR tendencies that plagued the previous tracks. The quality keeps going up and down between disturbing syrupy bits in songs like Abandoned, Black Halo, Nothing Ever Dies and Serenade and the more tasteful melodic metal of This Pain, Moonlight and Memento Mori.

With 30 minutes of proficient material, the album can easily be awarded with 3.5 stars. Depending on your taste, both 4 or 3 stars seem appropriate. Given the uneven quality and little relevance of this band I'll round down, but let that not scare you.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is another one of those friend-recommended albums that didn't really work for me. In this case it was two friends who are into Power Metal which is very popular up here in Scandinavia. Upon recommending this particular release they made a mistake of making it sound as if this was a Progressive Metal album.

Some people might argue that there isn't much difference between the two genres and the difference is definitely much more apparent when comparing Stratovarius to Dream Theater than when it comes to Kamelot. I'm by no means a hater of Power Metal and do enjoy certain releases by Sonata Arctica and Gamma Ray but I see no point of disguising the music by adding some minor Progressive Metal elements to it.

I did manage to enjoy a few songs off The Black Halo like the March Of Mephisto which is actually one of those rare instances where the band makes a real anthem of a composition, but most of the other tracks feel a bit stereotypical and fail to amuse me.

It's not like the material is bad or poorly performed. On the contrary, everything works well on The Black Halo. The problem is that the band lacks a memorable edge and in the long run I just get tired of the blandness. I can only recommend this to fans of powerful and melodic metal compositions.

**** star songs: March Of Mephisto (5:29) This Pain (3:59)

*** star songs: When The Lights Are Down (3:41) The Haunting (Somewhere In Time) (5:48) Soul Society (4:17) Interlude I: Dei Gratia (0:57) Abandoned (4:07) Moonlight (5:10) Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso (0:40) The Black Halo (3:43) Nothing Ever Dies (4:45) Memento Mori (8:54) Interlude III: Midnight - Twelve Tolls For A New Day (1:21) Serenade (4:32)

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Memento mori

I know that many would disagree, but for me Karma and especially Epica were somewhat disappointing. As I pointed out in my reviews of these two previous albums, being symphonic or orchestral should not be confused with being progressive. In my opinion, Kamelot were absolutely in their element on the excellent The Fourth Legacy on which they perfected their early style and injected it with folky and oriental influences without ever sounding bombastic or overblown. With The Black Halo, Kamelot once again tones down the worst excesses and injects some more progressive elements into their brand of symphonic Power Metal.

The melodies are the strongest since The Fourth Legacy and the first four tracks are very enjoyable indeed. The guest performance of the great Jens Johansson (of Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force fame) on March Of Mephisto is interesting. Johansson is a fantastic keyboard player, but his presence here admittedly appeared slightly out of place to me on the first few listens. But overall, the inclusion of a couple keyboard solos in the early tracks adds a much needed diversity to Kamelot's sometimes rather one-dimensional sound.

Had things continued on with the same high quality of the first few tracks this albums would even have rivaled The Fourth Legacy. But after the initial excitement, the album tends to settle with the same familiar formula. A bit more diversity and variation could have helped, but there is clearly talent in this band. The Black Halo might be Kamelot's most progressive album, but it is not their best. The Fourth Legacy remains my favourite Kamelot album, but The Black Halo is a return to form and a good album in its own right.

Review by Isa
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.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Kamelot play a style of symphonically-inclined power metal that in principle hits all the right notes but in practice leaves me cold. I think the problem for me is that tonally speaking it falls between two stools; it's a little too cheesy to be taken as a more sober artistic statement, but not quite cheesy enough to be taken as goofy, gonzo fun. It's modern Hollywood blockbuster power metal, where it's hardly worth paying attention to what movie you're walking into because it'll be the same general characters shot with the same general CGI aesthetic and offering the same general Joss Whedony/JJ Abramsy quips whichever you go to see. The Black Halo is as palatable as it gets for me but that is literally all it is: palatable.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I totally agree, this is their best album by far . The story is based on the transcendentalist Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe's Faust. This is a sequel to "Epica" in every sense of the term ' both conceptual and compositional. Black Halo is just a wonderful journey in the world of Kamelot. There' ... (read more)

Report this review (#2414523) | Posted by nikitasv777 | Sunday, June 21, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "The Black Halo" was kind of a watershed album for Kamelot. they got almost everythign right on this one. The predecessors Karma and Epica were like the soundboards and with Khan and Youngblood in full creative flow, they hit the ceiling with The Black Halo. it has a good, tight concept - sort of ... (read more)

Report this review (#552156) | Posted by sv_godspeed | Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I almost gave up with Kamelot after their three releases: Eternity, Siege Perilous and Dominion. Dominion was the first album recorded with Khan at vocals. For me, as a big [L] Conception[/L] fan, was a big disappointment. The production was a mess (in fact the album seems a demo tape) and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#312426) | Posted by DTJesus | Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now we're cooking with gas. This is probably the best album by one of the most talented prog-metal bands. It's epic, emotional, and moving, without ever straying to the likes of melodrama and boredom. The melodies and composition are STUNNING. The story is well told, with well-written lyrics an ... (read more)

Report this review (#278764) | Posted by CinemaZebra | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the beginning of this album, the sounds of military marching leading to a moderately paced but heavy guitar riff immediately draws this album away from the sound created in previous albums. Unlike Epica, which has a sound reminiscent to their power metal albums: Karma, The Fourth Legacy, etc. ... (read more)

Report this review (#186554) | Posted by Darken Rahl | Monday, October 20, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My wide-ranging progressive musical journey began in 2004 when I found I didn't waste the chance to download some samples offered. I read thoroughly some bands biography and if I had the feeling that the band is good enough then I had to download some songs. After I've read Kame ... (read more)

Report this review (#185574) | Posted by maXmuri | Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Finale of the Epic story about an alchemist in the search of the truth comes to an end in the album The Black Halo The story first started in the album Epica about Ariel, the young alchemist in search of the truth, Helena, the lost love interest of Ariel and Mephisto, the fallen angel in sear ... (read more)

Report this review (#161332) | Posted by ichigo14 | Saturday, February 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An absolute metal masterpiece! While this may not be the most progressive of metal albums around, it is certainly Kamelot at their artistic apex, musically and lyrically. Their music has transcended from power metal into the realm of progressive music with each consecutive album, especially with ... (read more)

Report this review (#149771) | Posted by Draith | Friday, November 9, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I must be quick, and to be honest - there isnt really much to say. This album is extremely underated. Mabey its beacuse i was going through a "transitional" music phase in my life or mabey beacuse i can assosiate this album with happy memories - whatever. This album is superb. Hands down. The m ... (read more)

Report this review (#140763) | Posted by Whacky | Thursday, September 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album has to be one of Kamelot's best albums, while personally i dont think that as a whole album, it beats Epica, but its singles a far better. The Haunting (Somewhere in Time) is probably the most "fun" to listen too, but the album has many more complex, progressive songs. It is somewhat a ... (read more)

Report this review (#126855) | Posted by Skoojoo | Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a band that I have tried and tried to get into over the last couple years, but haven't been able to. I can see why some would really enjoy this album. The singing is good, but not my style. The songs have very depressing undertones, but then again, it is called the Black Halo. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#124287) | Posted by pianomandust | Friday, June 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A progressive power metal masterpiece. The Black Halo is Kamelot’s best work so far. This album is actually a continuation of Epica, the second as well as the final part of the story. This album really blows, there’s no weak track, and each song will likely grow on you with each l ... (read more)

Report this review (#117185) | Posted by kazansky | Tuesday, April 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The opener March of Mephisto sets the tone and rocks along at a fair pace. When the lights are down,the second track,is also superb and the third,The Haunting has some nice male/female exchanges.The Haunting video is also on the bands website.The band are classified as prog metal and that is a ... (read more)

Report this review (#96886) | Posted by #1floydfan | Thursday, November 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For some reason, this was an album i really shrugged off for a long time and that i have it i totally regreat doing that. At one time i just thought that KAMELOT was your regular bland Power Metal Band like Sonata Arctica and well just them i guess lol. But i dare say i sure underestimated KA ... (read more)

Report this review (#77878) | Posted by Progdrummer05 | Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This doesn't belong in the top 25 Prog Metal albums list. I don't see why Kamelot gets so much attention -- there's nothing special about them and there is nothing special about this album. It's mediocre Power-Metal with very little to do with Prog. If you want a good Progressive Power Metal albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#77228) | Posted by Fuzz | Friday, May 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Black Halo is one of my favorite power metal albums. The main reason for that is it`s completeness. It does not have a single bad track. This is Kamelot`s best album so far. The first time I heard this I did not like "The March Of Mephisto" very much, but after a few listens it became bett ... (read more)

Report this review (#75036) | Posted by Rhaegar | Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Kamelot's Black Halo is the first entire album I've heard from these guys. I first got interested in them when I explored other bands outside of Prog like Stratovarius and Sonata Artica. When I got curious of Kamelot, I got the Black Halo album and found this to be an incredible album. This is ... (read more)

Report this review (#74685) | Posted by Xeroth | Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm not predisposed to be a metal fan or a power metal fan, and I don't have any desire to headbang at all. What I look for in music, metal included, is catchy melodies and hooks. And Kamelot has these in spades. I'm not going to fake knowledge of the Prog- Metal genre, for I know very little. ... (read more)

Report this review (#62218) | Posted by stonebeard | Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I discovered Kamelot a couple of years ago by chance. I came upon the song "Karma" set to some clips from a movie. The movie was horrible.. but that's not the point. From that day on, I downloaded every song by Kamelot I could find. Since their albums aren't sold where I live, I had to pirate ... (read more)

Report this review (#53636) | Posted by | Thursday, October 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you a prog fan and need one power metal album in your listening roster this is the one. I find much power metal to be very cheesy and not even Symphony X escape that label at times ( I mean the Odyssey is brilliant but...) but this gem from Kamelot is well very listenable. Fantastic compo ... (read more)

Report this review (#44955) | Posted by blunt | Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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