KAMELOT – SILVERTHORN

Kamelot_SilverthornCover

Out now on SPV/Steamhammer

Kamelot have always been one of the better symphonic prog bands with classics album like ‘Karma’ and ‘The Black Halo’ always seen as benchmarks for the genre, yet to these ears the band were on the wane for the last few years.  2012 saw some big changes in the band with lead vocalist Khan leaving.  Now when one of the world’s most praised metal vocalist leave’s your band it can sometimes lead to problems, not so for Kamelot as they have enlisted the glorious pipes of one Tommy Karevik who previously (and we are led to believe will continue to do so) came through the ranks with Swedish prog metal and V1 faves Seventh Wonder.

‘Silverthorn’ as such as peaked my interest in the band and I’m pleased to report this is the most I’ve enjoyed a Kamelot album in sometime.

The whole band sounds reinvigorated by Karevik’s arrival with guitarist Thomas Youngblood in particularly fine form.  Those that know Karevik from his work in Seventh Wonder might be a little surprised by his lower timbre performances on many of the tracks yet he also delivers the more associated higher pitch stuff as flawlessly as ever on ‘Song For Jolee’. Just view it as another string added to his bow.

Elsehwere there is plenty to enjoy in the likes of single ‘Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife)’, the dark pulsating groove of ‘Veritas’ and the atmospheric title-track.  Given many of the tracks are more streamlined than those heard on previous album makes ‘Silverthorn’ a more immediate release and one that is likely to appease fans both new and old.

Production is pretty much flawless, dark and powerful and another fine sonic statement from producer Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Edguy, Rhapsody).

Overall ‘Silverthorn’ marks a very strong return to action by a band that has cleared the lead vocalist change hurdle with ease.  Good stuff.

Rating – 88%

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KISKE SOMERVILLE – S/T (REVIEW)

Out Now – Frontiers Records
 
Michael Kiske is a great singer, no arguing that point. His performance on Helloween’s seminal “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” albums had him marked for greatness. It wasn’t to be, however. Kiske has gone on record time and again how he doesn’t want to make metal music and basically disappeared from the scene. He’s done some solo stuff and several guest performances on distinctly metallic projects. Not to mention his work with Place Vendome, a project he preferred not to refer to as metal. So how come this new album falls decidedly in the metal corner of the market? Money talks and bullshit walks I guess…

Opening track “Nothing Left To Say” wouldn’t be out of place on a Primal Fear album. Second track “Silence” is aimed squarely at the Evanescence/Within Temptation crowd, with those annoying contemporary keyboards and choppy guitar riffs that have been done to death in this genre. “If I Had A Wish” is a faux-Helloween track. Only lacking the power that made that band so enjoyable. And so it goes on. Primal Fear, Helloween, Epica and After Forever all alternate with varying degrees of success. You can’t help but feel this album has been put together after a marketing study to determine what the present day metal fan expects. “Rain” is a particularly insipid song.

Both singers are a cut above average, even if Kiske has lost some of his mojo over the years. Unfortunately I find their voices don’t mesh together particularly well. Production and execution are both solid if not particularly inspired.

A formulaic and bland album. Faceless and lacking excitement.

Rating – 60%
Review by Sancho