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Ahh, Kamelot, one of my favorite power metal bands. Epica, their sixth studio offering to the metal world, is a splendid piece of work indeed. What did you expect, with a man like Roy Khan on vocals?
Musically, well, it’s a fucking mystery to me why Kamelot does not recruit keyboardist Miro permanently. His keyboard work rules big time. Just listen to the intro to “Center Of The Universe”. Speaking of that song, it fucking rules. Definitely one of the best power metal songs ebar. It has everything. The brilliant keyboard intro, the powerful guitar work, the fast drums, and the catchy as something really catchy chorus. “But that’s standard power metal!” I hear you cry. Sorry, the fact is that “Center Of The Universe” has all those traits completed so much better than in other power metal songs, plus we get that really sweet vocal duet with a very nice female voice. Yes, like OSheaman mentioned, following up on such a brilliant song is hard, but I think that Kamelot does a very very fair effort, and the album has no definitive “bad” songs whatsoever.
The Guitarwork here is very prominent, and not once does the keyboards drown the awesome riffage courtesy of guitarist Thomas Youngblood. His fast playing is as good as anything within this genre, and the slow melodic parts are just like slow melodic playing should be done, slow, but crushing and powerful. And to answer your next question, yes, this album has a fair share of ballads. Now, I love ballads, so naturally, it doesn’t hurt the album one bit for me. In fact, these ballads fucking rule. Moreso than many other power metal ballads I’ve heard. Off course if ballads is not your thing, you are going have somewhat lower opinion on this album (shame on you if you don’t like ballads). “Wander” is the definitive ballad on here, especially for that haunting chorus. m/
The keyboards are, as said, awesome. Be it furious leads or haunting background melodies, keyboardist Miro delivers. GET HIM AS A PERMANENT MEMBER NOW! Ahem….. Were was I? “Descent Of The Archangel” is a prime example of the awesome use of keyboards in the background, like “Center Of The Universe” is THE example of the lead work (the intro). The drums and bass does nothing special for me, but they do what they should do, so no complaints on that part there either.
Now off course, here comes the big one. Almost completely unmentioned until now, Roy Khan, mastermind behind the vocals. Boy, does this guy rule. Easily the best vocalist I’ve heard in power metal, Khan does everything to perfection on this album. From the incredible power his shows in choruses such as those of “Center Of The Universe”, “Farewell” and “Lost And Damned”, to the emotional onslaught of the ballads of the album, Khan consistently delivers and owns your soul. Thank you for being such a mighty singer Khan, you really lift this band up to incredible heights.
And yes, you do want the limited edition. “Snow”, the bonus track, is an awesome song, and no, it is not ridiculous at all that you get a temporary tattoo with the package. In fact, that’s incredibly cool. Now shut up, you filthy “power metal is so cheesy” naysayer, and run out and buy this album. Or download it, or borrow it and burn it. Whatever you do, don’t miss it. Hell, even the silly little interludes rule. So sayeth Roy Khan the wise.