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Kamelot is an interesting band, historically. The band released some albums before the excellent vocals of Roy Khan were introduced, but many people seem to either forget they are on the market or brush them aside as meaningless. To start, this is not as groundbreaking or as brilliant as their other work, but “Dominion” is still a solid release.
The band definitely has a knack for writing intro tracks. Each album, I believe, has an intro to it; and they serve to set the tone for what’s to come. Well, this particular intro is very epic sounding, just like the rest of their intros. Does this intro set the tone for “Dominion” well enough? For the answer, let’s look further into the album.
When the first track, I have trouble believing it’s Kamelot; it’s not just the vocals either. Until about 40 seconds into the song, the typical Kamelot guitar tone is thrown in. For the uninitiated, there’s a lot of soloing over top of power chords. Usually Kamelot’s guitar work is far from typical power metal, though. There’s just an air of majesty in their guitar lines. But on this release, the majestic elements come across pompous and frilly, especially when the synthesizer is playing along (listen to the chorus of “Rise Again” for an example).
There are some really cool riffs and solos on this album, but they are spaced too far apart. I mean, you have this really, really awesome riff, followed by a slow part accentuated by extremely cheesy synth, followed by a solo, and so on. It’s very predictable, but still memorable in places. Some of the riffs are very memorable and can stick with you all day, but entire songs lost in the mix. I hate to rip on Kamelot even more, but aside from the vocals, everything else seems so typical.
One thing that bugs me on this album are the drum lines. The drums feel very uninspired, and just kind of there; even more noticeable when comparing this album to any of Kamelot’s newer work (from “Fourth Legacy” on). There are some interesting rolls and fills, but it’s just not enough for me. The drummer really lets it fly on the track “Creation”, but that seems about it. One thing that is nice about the drumming, though, is that it’s not just run-on-the-double-bass drumming, but it still gets old, as does that style.
The singer sure does have a different approach when compared to Kamelot’s other work. He reminds me a bit of the vocalist for Jag Panzer for some reason. Maybe it’s because I’m not used to a midrange approach in power metal. He certainly sounds like a bit like Khan on a few choruses though, especially the chorus on “Heaven”. I wouldn’t say he’s as good as Khan, but Khan is exceptional, so it’s almost unfair to compare the two. I mean he has a good voice, but his vibrato is lacking, and seems very forced instead of natural. When he goes for a more high pitched sound it works in his favor, so maybe he should stuck with that. Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything.
Production-wise, this album is good. It’s not spectacularly clean, and it’s not raw. Everything seems about right in the mix, so there are no complaints there. A bit more originality in the songwriting department couldn’t hurt, and a lot of the lyrics seem a tad typical and cheesy (“Heaven, is a heartbeat away!”). They definitely showed that they could write stellar tracks, like “We Are Not Separate”, but most of the tracks just get lost, they’re not exactly filler, but their not top notch quality either.
By far the best track on the album is “We Are Not Separate”, which definitely shows the good of what was to come from Kamelot. This is probably the most memorable, best written song on the album. It even holds its ground against their newer material, which is quite an accomplishment in itself. Another standout is “Creation”, and it may be because there are no vocals, so the band isn’t held back by mediocre singing.
Luckily Kamelot capitalized on the good elements from this album for their future work. I will only recommend this to die hard power metal fans and especially fans of Kamelot. I really ripped on this album, but it’s decent when compared to other power metal releases, but when compared to Kamelot’s other work, it just doesn’t cut the mustard.