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What is there to say about Kamelot that hasn't already been said? One of the forerunners of the power metal scene in the last 10 years or so, and they're still going strong, as shown by this masterpiece. 'The Black Halo' was absolutely amazing, so there was a lot of anticipation for this album. The single, the title track, was decent, but not too promising, thus I was rather worried. My initial worry when I heard the single off this album was not confirmed, for this is the best power metal album of the year thus far. Kamelot have created a dense musical utopia of good ideas with this, and I'd say it's a grower. Having listened to it countless times in the past week, it has only gotten better. This one doesn't seem to be very well received by the public---but I love it.
Kamelot have fine-tuned their sound a lot since 'The Black Halo.' While that release was purely melodic, modern power metal, this one is darker and more gothic feeling. When I mention 'gothic', don't think of wussy teenage girl bands, but dark, emotional vocals, dense and intricate musical arrangements remniscent of classical music, along with some of the most depressing lyrics I've ever read outside of funeral doom metal. Roy Kahn's voice has been tuned to perfection, and he sounds better here then he ever has. The best thing about Kamelot is, as I mentioned before, that the band utilizes heavy semblances of classical music into their songwriting. I don't mean they add symphonic keyboards into the mix, either. They literally approach their music like classical composers, and it shows in glorious, pounding compositions such as "Love You to Death", the title track and "Blucher." Beautifully done. You won't find any arena rock choruses here. With these elements, Kamelot has gone far beyond the realm of normal power metal generica, and into a world of their own. Truly magnificant, and I'm proud to be a fan of their music.
Going over individual songs here is pointless, as all of them have redeeming features. When I first listened to this, it reminded me of a haunted house, very dark and eerie, but with a certain elegance that modern haunted houses don't have, perhaps one from the early 1900s. That pretty much describes the music on here to a tee. The songs here are not as instantly catchy or gratifying as the best ones from 'The Black Halo', but there are not as many fillers here as there were on that album, due to this one being shorter and more compact (a very good decision, too). But once we dig through the surface, we have dark melody-infested tunes like the title track, the beautiful "Blucher", the haunting and lovely "Edenecho" and the epic "Up Through the Ashes", and straightforward and aggressive ones like "Rule the World", "The Human Strain", "Mourning Star" and the extremely catchy "Silence of the Darkness" (which seems to be stuck in here for diehard fans of 'The Black Halo'---not necessary, but it's a good song anyway). Even the rather lackluster piano ballad "Anthem" managed to find a place in my heart after adequate listens. Not all of these will instantly click, as at first I was a bit perplexed and bored by some of them. But give it a chance to grow on you---there are few albums as rewarding as this once it sinks in.
I hear people calling this one boring and uninteresting, a step down from 'The Black Halo.' And maybe it's not AS good as that album, but it's certainly a masterpiece all the same. This band will just keep growing and growing, they show no signs of becoming stale or stagnant. There's something so powerful, so emotional about them that you can't stop listening once you're sucked in. This is true for 'The Black Halo' and now it's true for 'Ghost Opera' too. This is one of those once-in-a-million bands that manages to have a 'golden touch'---that manages to continuously transcend the power metal genre and produce albums that prove that it's not dead, that power metal is more than gay double bass runs and keyboard masturbation. They can only go up from here, and I'll be listening all the way. Highly recommended.