Kamelot, a band from Tampa, Florida is like no other in its genre. In its latest release, Poetry for the Poisoned, the band has produced a highly eclectic collection of tracks.
Kamelot is a band which is difficult to label. OK, it has all the trademarks of a power metal band; it has some lyrics which dabble with fantastical subjects, double bass drumming, epic guitar solos and other traits which are often associated with this genre of music. Kamelot, though, is made up of four open minded musicians who aren’t afraid to tread into unknown territory.
You can hear a lot of power metal elements in albums such as Karma, The Fourth Legacy and Epica but these are also mingled with progressive and symphonic metal elements. Sometimes you also find the addition of an acoustic guitar, a recorded narration, sound effects etc. The band members aren’t show offs; they rarely go doodling into long and unnecessary parts, as they prefer to work on how to flesh out a good song.
Another element which puts this band head and shoulders above the rest is their frontman: Mr. Roy Khan. You have to listen to his voice to see what I mean. He has one of the best and most distinctive voices in music today; especially in a genre where singers are all trying to edge each other out on who will sing the highest notes. Khan is balanced like the rest of the band. Honestly, I think he excels much more in his lower registers especially when he is singing a ballad.
Poetry for the Poisoned spirals down the listener through a chaotic whirl of synths, electric guitars, drums and whispers into the The Great Pandemonium. This track is a beast and is as good as March of Mephisto from their seminal album The Black Halo. For this track, they joined forces with Björn “Speed” Strid from Soilwork. (Lovecraft aficionados check out the video for this song because you’re in for a treat 😉 ) This is probably Kamelot’s darkest album and the band makes sure it leaves an impact on the listener with the first track.
The album then flows into a short track with a synth driven introduction called If Tomorrow Comes. This one is fast paced and short and its end leads abruptly to a filmic section which delicately ‘introduces’ The Zodiac; an interesting track about a serial killer which includes Pain’s John Oliva on vocals. Another track which really struck me is The Hunter’s Season, which apart from some jaw dropping vocal bravura from Khan contains one of Youngblood’s best solos to date.
Finally, there is the trilogy Poetry for the Poisoned. Like the song Elizabeth from Karma, this one is divided into parts. I admit that I prefer Elizabeth to this trilogy. Maybe I need to give the record a few more spins, but nothing can beat the last part of Elizabeth; it comes off as so over the top and emotional. In my opinion Poetry for the Poisoned is a really balanced album. It doesn’t bring to the table anything that hasn’t ever been done before, but it contains a great opener, some recorded narrations, kick ass solos, an epic divided in three parts and top notch production.
Kamelot are a band to be admired in an industry which churns out crap each day and expects us to buy it. They could have released another Black Halo but instead they chose to experiment and create a compelling and interesting record. I would highly suggest this album to all fans of metal especially those who enjoy the melodic, lighter side of the genre. I would also suggest this to those who aren’t into this genre, but are open minded listeners and just enjoy good music.