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Kamelot - the Best Progressive Power Metal Band in the World
Early Days of Kamelot
The genre of Power Metal sprang in late 80's in Europe with such bands as Helloween and Blind Guardian, but very soon spread to other continents including the United States. Thomas Youngblood's Kamelot (formerly Camelot) was formed in 1991 in Tampa, Florida. The first two albums were featuring Mark Vanderbilt on vocals and were a solid first step forward for the band. This was a progressive metal based on intricate guitar riffs with a softening touch of keyboards and Mark Vanderbilt's powerful chanting similar to Crimson Glory's Midnight or Veni Domine's Fredrik Ohlsson. The first two records were called "Eternity" and "Dominion" and were released in 1995 and 1996 respectively.
Kamelot - "The Haunting"
Roy Khan Years
In 1998 the band released its third record "Siege Perilous" featuring Roy Khan (ex - Conception) on vocals. It was thanks to the new singer's powerful, yet soft and soothing voice that started to change the band's music. "Siege Perilous" was still somehow close to the first two records, while it seems that keyboards were more dominating on this album. As Roy Khan started to contribute to the lyrics, the songs became more poetic which fit the voice and the music very well.
In 2000 Kamelot release "The Fourth Legacy," which is a remarkable record sound wise. It holds in itself all the best qualities of the symphonic power metal genre, placing the band on top among other leaders of the movement like Stratovarius or Rhapsody.
"Karma" was released in 2001 and did not disappoint Kamelot's fans either. It was obvious that Roy Khan's majestic voice was the right choice for the band. The lyrics of "Karma" are somewhat more personal and intimate than on previous records. Symphonic arrangements become even more dominant here.
The following two releases, "Epica" (2003) and "The Black Halo" (2005), are parts of a symphonic metal opera, the theme of which is based on Goethe's "Faust." The latter features Simone Simons from Epica as guest singer. These two albums are true masterpieces that have to be listened together to catch the mood and the magic of the musicianship. "The Black Halo" was also the first record when Kamelot started producing music videos with "March of Mephisto" being the first one in the series of high quality videos.
After the release of two other strong albums, "Ghost Opera" (2007) and "Poetry for the Poisoned" (2010), Roy Khan leaves the band after suffering from anxiety and depression caused by a burnout from the years of intense work. Such a loss may have been the end of the great Kamelot, but they found a proper replacement for Roy: a Swedish singer Tommy Karevik.
In 2012 Kamelot released "Silverthorn" with Tommy as lead vocalist. Some fans stated that Tommy's voice is far from Roy's, but the new singer nevertheless fit into the band very well, delivering very emotional vocals as heard on "Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)," "Falling Like the Fahrenheit" and "My Confession." Additionally, the album featured a number of other singers like Elize Ryd from Amaranthe and Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy. Despite the change of singer, Kamelot's music did not change at all, continuing to deliver a high quality symphonic progressive power metal to the masses. "Silverthorn" became another chart topping conceptual release with a story about a young girl who dies by falling into the river.
After the release, the band spent several years touring the world before returning to the studio to record their eleventh record, "Haven," in May 2015. Carrying the same amount of energy and heaviness as previous record, "Haven" is a solid addition to the band's discography. A futuristic music video was created for the song "Insomnia."
It is worth mentioning that most of Kamelot's records were produced by Sascha Paeth, who produced such bands as Rhapsody, After Forever and Epica to name a few. The touch of his hand is what defines the great epic and symphonic sound of Kamelot starting from "The Fourth Legacy" and beyond.
Kamelot - "Insomnia"
Studio Discography of Kamelot
Eternity - 1995
Dominion - 1996
Siege Perilous - 1998
The Fourth Legacy - 2000
Karma - 2001
Epica - 2003
The Black Halo - 2005
Ghost Opera - 2007
Poetry For The Poisoned - 2010
Silverthorn - 2012
Haven - 2015
The Legacy of Kamelot
Whether one likes Kamelot or not, they have nevertheless defined the sound of symphonic metal. Their songs, no matter how heavy they are, engulf the listener with their soothing atmosphere, brilliantly crafted with orchestral arrangements and witty guitar riffs. Their lyrics are fairy tales that open new unknown dimensions of human nature, of our virtues and vices, love and hate, deep sorrow and humble joy. A highly recommended band to anyone who is into heavy yet beautiful melodic music.