Kamelot - Haven
Label: Napalm Records
Reviewer: Ahmed Ali Atteya - 2015-06-06
Surprise surprise! The masters are finally back.
Since the departure of their longest running front man and the voice that reinvented the meaning of Power Metal vocals Roy Khan or, as fans love to call him only “Khan”, right after releasing their 9th studio album titled “Poetry for the poisoned” in September 2010. KAMELOT is known for refusing to bind to the normality of their genre, that’s why they are the first band that comes to mind when the term Symphonic Power Metal enters any discussion. Needless to say that they are THE first Metal band I ever listened to and since then I’m hooked forever.
The new album "Haven" was out in North America on 5th May and the world by the 8th May this year, after rumors of leaking it. Therefore the band didn’t take the normal ritual of releasing a new record: Music video, album teaser, then the whole album. This time it was a teaser then the album itself, which was – for me – an indication for how bad the band needs this record to put them back on top like the old days. And well…, IT SUCCEDED!
"Haven" made a stunning debut on Billboard going straight to #1 on Rock/Metal charts with little competition from other rockers such as HALESTORM and THREE DAYS GRACE.
Personally? I fell in love with the album, it’s so good to the limit that it urges you to that state when you air drum and lead an imaginary orchestra. Musically it is so deliciously mixed because it sounds like the good ol’ KAMELOT we knew before Khan’s leaving.
To set the record straight, the band had a very rough patch trying to fuse their music with a progressive touch so hard that they announced themselves under the “Progressive Power Metal” genre, which wasn’t them at all and lost them a good load of fans. This time they played it their own way, not how the music market wants them to play it. Most importantly, we have to emphasize how powerful and in-control Thomas Karevik sounds across the record.
Guest top-dollar stars are a must in every record the band made since "The Black Halo" and this time they have the amazon princess Alissa White-Gluz (ARCH ENEMY, ex-THE AGONIS) raising hell in the track "Revolution" and "Liar Liar". Alongside Charlotte Wessels (DELAIN) singing the heart melting "Under Grey Skies" to the magical mixture of sadness and folk tunes conducted by Troy Donockley (NIGHTWISH).
The beauty of the album lays in the wrongs-made-right. First, the band got back to their bases, playing the most simple melodies the most unique way possible and settling to the truth of Khan’s huge effect which wasn’t pinned to the man himself but to the spirit he puts through his voice to their music, which created previous wonders. Which comes clear to ears when Thomas sounds so much like Khan not in sound but in performance: steady vocal lines with full control over every verse and singing play he can add. Superb!
So what if I tell y’all you’re gonna bang your heads to many tracks in there? If you’re not enjoying a mellow track then you’re gonne be hitting the whiplash with some heavy tracks like "My Therapy", "Beautiful Apocalypse", comes the heaviest track of all "Revolution" with a heavy package of bass lines tied to background growls and well placed screams. All wrapped up inside tight lead guitar melodies we missed since “Ghost Opera”.
Musical style is not that progressive anymore. Dual solos between guitarist and band founder Thomas Youngblood and the legendary keyboardist Oliver Palotai are back again with too much skill to comprehend in one listen. Closing the act with an orchestral instrumental “Haven” to finish the ride to the land of dreams.
In the end, I tried so hard not to be a spoiler and ruin the fascinating ride awaiting you with this album. Seriously I enjoyed every speck of it and how enjoyable it is to the limit I would’ve loved to review every teenie tiny part of it down to the bone. But as usual, KAMELOT’s music is all about the essence, not the rough technicalities. You’re up to a steaming hot pile of delicious rhymes, tunes, riffs, down tempos, headbanging, teary eyes. It’s a feel-good experience we all need sometime and now it’s granted.