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Kamelot - 2003 Epica



ARTIST: Kamelot
ALBUM: Epica
LABEL: Noise Records
SERIAL: N03772
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Roy Khan - vocals * Thomas Youngblood - guitars * Glenn Barry - bass * Casey Grillo - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Prologue * 02 Center Of The Universe * 03 Farewell * 04 Interlude (Opiate Soul) * 05 The Edge Of Paradise * 06 Wander * 07 Interlude (Omen) * 08 Descent Of The Archangel * 09 Interlude (At The Banquet) * 10 A Feast For The Vain * 11 On The Coldest Winter Night * 12 Lost And Damned * 13 Helena's Theme * 14 Interlude (Dawn) * 15 The Mourning After * 16 III Ways To Epica * 17 Snow (bonus track)

WEBLINKS: www.kamelot.com


Background
For fans of Kamelot the past couple of years have been agonizing thanks to their previous album 'Karma'. The 2001 release set such a high benchmark and brought on thoughts of whether this Norwegian/American combo could improve on what seemed to be the perfect album. The moment I heard the news that 'Epica' would be released in January of 2003 I began salivating at the prospect of hearing new material from this incredibly talented band. Kamelot's last two albums are, and most likely always will be, a part of my all-time favourites list. They really are quite astonishing musical works. With that in mind I approached 'Epica' with much gusto and anticipation. Before I got too enthusiastic it was necessary to take in the changes that Kamelot have adopted. The primary change is that 'Epica' is a concept album with all the usual bells and whistles that usually go with concept albums. That means a more theatrical approach, and a constant theme running through the lyrics. The foundation of 'Epica' is based on the opera 'Faust', by Goethes. Don't ask me to give you a synopsis of that as it pretty much goes over my head. Another aspect that needs mentioning is the use of interludes during the album to create atmosphere and help convey the storyline. Personally I find them boring and a waste of good recording time, especially on 'Epica'. I decided to programme out all the interludes and leave the songs. The album flowed much better after that. Though there have been changes the basic Kamelot formula is still evident. Roy Khan continues to be one of melodic metal's leading vocalists. Thomas Youngblood I rate as the most melodic and versatile guitarist in melodic metal today. On 'Epica', apart from on the odd occasion, Youngblood has veered away from the use of the Middle Eastern phrasing and modes that stood out so much on 'The Fourth Legacy' and 'Karma'. Perhaps it didn't fit the style of the album. It's a little disappointing as I love the way he uses them, but he's still a kick ass guitarist and his solo's on 'Epica' rock. Sascha Paeth is still at the production helm and once again does a stellar job.


The Songs
I'm not going to bother mentioning any of the in between bits so we'll get straight into the proper songs. First to emerge from the gates of Kamelot is 'Centre Of The Universe', which is of just as high a standard as anything on 'Karma'. A typical beginning to a Kamelot album. Fast with strong guitar melodies and a catchy chorus. With the shackles broken 'Farewell' thunders along, stripping the walls with its razor riff. Kamelot have well and truly thrown down the gauntlet, daring the listener to venture further. They can add 'The Edge Of Paradise' to their already formidable arsenal. This track is close to their previous works with the Middle Eastern feel coming through. Should be good live, especially the solo. On 'The Fourth Legacy' and 'Karma' the songs that perhaps stood out the most were the ballads 'A Sailorman's Hymn' and 'Don't You Cry'. Two of the best ballads, even songs, ever written or performed. The ballads on 'Epica' don't quite reach those heights but are still pretty damn good. The first is 'Wander', which brings more of a power ballad sound to the table rather than the minstrel sound found on the previously mentioned tracks. It's a haunting beginning to 'Descent Of The Archangel' before the familiar sound of Kamelot at full speed. No time to look behind you. The sinister strains of 'A Feast For The Vain' emerge through the dust left by 'Descent....'. Thomas gets nasty on this one. The minstrel quality that Kamelot uses to great effect is evident again on the ballad 'On the Coldest Winter Night'. It's good, but doesn't give you the usual chills that a Kamelot ballad should give. Kamelot borrow a touch of Savatage for parts of 'Lost and Damned'. The use of an accordion (or the French version of) is an interesting touch in the verses, which build into a fabulous chorus. 'The Mourning After' has another great Kamelot chorus and a dark brooding riff. There's a very cool riff on 'III Ways To Epica'. The combination of the female vocals of Mari and Khan's formidable voice add something extra to an already impressive chorus.


In Summary
If you're able to, pick up the Limited Edition digipak with bonus track and multimedia presentation. The bonus track 'Snow' is a killer melodic metal song. In the multimedia part of the disc you'll find cool photo's of the band, merchandise information, and the opportunity to find an added bonus feature. Though 'Epica' hasn't completely knocked me off my feet yet like Karma, on my initial listens Kamelot haven't deviated very far from what has made them melodic metal's best band. Fantastic vocals, awesome guitaring and great songs. Due to the superfluous stuff such as the interludes it will take a little longer to find the treasures hidden behind the gates of Kamelot. Once you get through you'll find Kamelot is back and ready to defend its honour!!!!


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Kamelot - 2003 Epica
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Comments
#1 | melodiapositiva on June 10 2017 19:30:36
Roy khan is without any doubt a 'different' singer.
He's far from the tipical screamer of this genere, and that's what makes Kamelot appealing .
Without him, it's sure that i wouldn't like this band, because they are really repetitive, Fourth legacy,karma and this album songs could be all in the same album,there's little progress.Except for the ballads, they always play at the same speed and that's boring!
Anyway what they do they do it great, but it would have been better if they had followed the style of Conception or Savatage, much more varied bands.
 
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