Released by: SPV/Steamhammer
Release Date: October 30th, 2012
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Thomas Youngblood – guitars
Casey Grillo – drums
Oliver Palotai – keyboards
Sean Tibbetts – bass
Tommy Karevik – vocals
01 – Manus Dei
02 – Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
03 – Ashes to Ashes
04 – Torn
05 – Song for Jolee
06 – Veritas
07 – My Confession
08 – Silverthorn
09 – Falling like the Fahrenheit
10 – Solitaire
11 – Prodigal Son
12 – Continuum
Is hard to believe a Kamelot world without the multi talented vocalist Roy Khan, but this is exactly what the US Power Progressive Metal band had to cope with after the singer decided to part ways and turn the tide after a longtime partnership that sealed the band’s fate and made them a staple of the genre and beloved among their die hard fans. Khan’s voice has always been a distinct staple of the band that set them apart from others in the same field, his emotive atonement and his passionate vocals always we’re distinguishable, and helped spread the Kamelot brand and style to the masses. I followed the guy since his days in Conception the Norwegian progressive metal outfit in his early years, so when I found out he was out of the band for good; well hope failed a little bit and left the future of the band in a melting pot of uncertainty.
But give the rest of the band and Thomas Youngblood some credit for sticking with it and hitting back on the road with Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire) and Tommy Karevik (Seventh Wonder) to lend their guest vocals after Khan pulled out of the last leg of the Pandemonium Over Europe in 2011. This is where the guys got a first glance of Tommy the also very gifted and rangy progressive metal vocalist from the Swedish band Seventh Wonder. As the big revealed took place and it was announced who would take Roy’s place I was left with a void and attitude of reservation until we waited to actually hear the new material, well it’s hear now and these are my two cents.
Let’s just put it out of the away now, Tommy is a terrific vocalist he’s range is unquestionable and he has terrific stage presence and is young and motivated, but he’s not Roy Khan and with that I am actually thankful for. The band knew it was time to move on and enter a new chapter in their lives in which the sound as well as the image had to evolve a little. Khan was the glue that kept made the band complete while Youngblood, Grillo and the rest of the cagey veterans wrapped the overall style of Kamelot and their brand into the fold. But let’s be honest here as for all great bands eventually their sound becomes stagnant and people get a little exhausted of the same style, this was something that had to change and on Silverthorn the band’s now tenth studio venture we are witness to a more progressive and also symphonic avocation of their sound which gives Karevik a sort of plain field for him to leave his stamp.
Despite the bands’ success in albums like Epica, Karma and The Black Halo who featured a collection of greatest hits for any standard band, it was time to lead the winds of change and incorporate a new voice, no simple task as they would be trying to keep a dignified and honest sound and let Tommy give justice to the old classic Kamelot tunes. This is one of the appraisals I have to give we know that Karevik is a strong vocalist, but can he sing the old classic songs with the same passion and style as Khan? Well for the most part yes and that’s part of the reason why I’m sure the band hired him, but his vocals are completely different then Roy’s and only in a few glimpses does he sound like Khan, he has smoother vocals that fit a little more into the progressive vein of things, also he doesn’t feature any operatic influenced pipes which we all know that was one of Khan’s primer as he was able to hit certain notes with more passion and reach. But this is not bad in fact Tommy has a beautiful voice on the slower ballad numbers here the likes of “Song for Jolee” feature these traits on full display, coincidentally this song may be one of the best written and powerful songs that Kamelot has ever done.
We have heard early clips of the more Kamelot power metal symphonic jolt of the song “Sacrimony” (Angel of Afterlife) throughout the you tube circles and this particular song is the most explosive on the record, but doesn’t follow all the rules because after that the structure of the songs is varied and doesn’t really follow any formula; somehow the album still works without being too disjointed. The one song that sounds completely different is the ripper straight up metal approach of “Ashes to Ashes” and I have to say I like it since it features less symphonic elements and a more straight ahead groove. The steel crushing backbone of “Veritas” has those trademark Kamelot grandiose explosive choruses that leaves a mark. The title track reminds of that the old Kamelot sound as is still there as vibrant as past records and Tommy steps in and makes his vocals more prominent with this song and as the album keeps torching forward.
It took more then a few spins to digest the concept which resolves around “the story of a young girl who dies in the arms of her two twin brothers, taking the three siblings’ big secret to her grave” as Youngblood quoted. The story line is alright me personally I always enjoyed the dark aura that surrounded the band’s past records and their writing, but this one doesn’t stray too far away from those circles either. The bottom line and what you really want to to know is if Tommy Karevik cuts it as a viable replacement for the eponymous vocals of Roy Khan right? Well YES he does he hits every note sharp and loudly, he has a terrific range as we stated earlier, he’s the right man for this new era of Kamelot. So let’s now compare here as we know is hard to replace vocalists that we assimilate a sound to, but give the guy a chance because as with his voice, the band’s sound will grow and get more accustomed to fitting his particular atonement and vocal approach. The album remains strong through most of it’s core and adds a nice mix of power metal, progressive and slower more lyrical tracks to keep the element of mysticism and haunting in direct effect. The band is always tight and the rhythm and bass can always be counted on to keep the ball rolling steady, Thomas throws in a few more in depth compositions to the fringe to add to the diversity and overall the band’s sound keeps on slowly progressing. The band had no choices here and they took the right step and headed the only direction the band had to go and that was FORWARD and after the lack luster efforts of “Ghost Opera” and “Poetry for the Poisoned”, a new chapter in the life of Kamelot has been reborn and one that hopefully will keep a streak of great albums to follow in the future.
“Even if you stumble, you’re still moving forward.”
Written by Denys