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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INFINITY OVERTURE – WELCOME TO INFINITY PT.1 (REVIEW)

Released January 21st 2011 on Lion Music

It’s often considered dangerous when a band sees fit to change musical styles.  That said, in the case of Danish metallers Infinity Overture that change is actually one that works. 

The band formerly delivered a debut in a symphonic metal vein on “Welcome To Infinity” (with Ian Parry on vocals) and a fine offering it was too, yet underneath there were progressive elements and some gothic overtones.    Band leader / guitarist Niels Vejlyt has seen fit to ring the changes bringing out these  “darker” elements further and also changing band personnel to better suit the new stripped back style.  So out is Ian Parry and in is newcomer female vocalist Kimmie Tenna Nielsen who is a superb find possessing a voice that is angelic yet powerful at the same time.  I am not normally one for female vocalists in metal but Niels has found a diamond here.

Musically the band deliver dark metal with lots of 7 string guitar and virtuosic solos but overall strong songs which are extremely well crafted.  Sonically the album is clean, clear and vibrant (mix by Sascha Paeth).  A couple of guest appearances from Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire) and Amanda Somerville add some further textures yet the band of Vejlyt, Nielsen, bassist Bernardo Fesch and drummer Jakob Vand hold a tight ship. 

Highlight come in the guise of opener “The Hunger”, “Secrets”, “Smoke & Mirrors” and the title track.  But my favourite track comes in the form of the melodic waters of “Angels” where Nielsen is quite superb and this is equalled by the soulful guitar solo from Vejlyt.  This track is worth the price of admission alone.

Overall “Welcome To Infinity pt.1” could be seen as a fresh start for the band in its own right and to these ears a direction much more to my liking.  The song writing is inspired, the performances top notch and its well packaged too.  Check it out.

Rating – 90%