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The coolest power metal-cats are back with a new album, ready to cover some new ground and kick some more ass! That's what they've been doing before, and I can now say that's what they're still doing! After the first listen-through I was actually disappointed, but the thing is, see, now I can't stop listening to it! The album is quite a natural progression from the latest masterpiece The Black Halo and a worthy addition to their collection of magnificent works!
Well, how is this a progression then? The first thing you will notice is that this is heavier (which of course is awesome!), less instantly-catchy and more mid-tempo-oriented. With this being said, oh yes they have moved even further away from power metal. That's tricky of course, some will say nay and some will say yay. Personally I don't mind at all, as long as the music is good, I don't care how it's categorized. Now, let's have a little closer look at the songs...
The album begins with an intro-track, Solitaire, and once again Kamelot shows us how to make intros that actually are worth a damn. We're introduced to the album with some humming keyboard-ambiance and a beautiful violin-performance which together create a nice atmosphere.
The violin leads us to the first real track, Rule The World. This is where the heaviness kicks in when the song starts with a catchy riff and mid-tempo drumming, flavoured with middle-eastern instrumentation. The guitars calm down for the verse just rise up again for a wicked chorus with some catchy singing by our favourite power metal-vocalist sir. Khan.
Now we are up for the very orchestrated, heavy and also fast title/single-track. The song is Kamelot all the way through and the chorus will haunt you like a... well, ghost (from the opera).
The Human Stain is a real odd-ball, or at least seems like one at first listen. This is absolutely not power metal, but well, who cares. The slightly industrial-sounding keyboard-stuff is awesome and there are some really good background humming in the chorus in addition to Khan's singing performance.
Blücher, that seemed like a weird name, now I know it was a heavy cruiser during WW II. Anyway, this is an awesome song, and probably the only one (excluding Ghost Opera) that caught with the very first listen. It begins with a tender touch, but when the verse begins we get a heavy and evil sound with the help of some low horn orchestration and strings. Before the chorus we hear a voice with some robotic effects that can seem weird at first, but it sounds very haunting and cool to me, so it's all good. The chorus again is light and melodic as an effective contrast to the verse.
Love You To Death took a few listens to get used to, it's a love-ballad with some cool ambiance, a duet with a female singer and a good chorus with one of the most emotional "I love you"-lines I've heard in a while. It just takes a little while to really digest it.
Up Through The Ashes is another heavily orchestrated track, a bit like a mixture between the verse of Blücher and Ghost Opera, then we get a really powerful chorus and some really heavy rhythm-guitars. Awesome!
Mourning Star begins with some dreamy ambiance and manly choirs before we again move to heavier territories, after a cool bridge we get a catchy chorus, flavoured with a female voice. Not much to say about it, but it's a really good song as well.
The next song, Silence Of The Darkness, could easily be on any other Kamelot-album. It reminds me of the Karma-times for some reason. It's the fastest song here and also the most guitar-driven. Unfortunately, this songs chorus doesn't really do much for me in all of it's speed and so on, and the keyboards-solo, while it may be technical it kind of lacks in melody. This is actually my least favourite song.
Anthem is the all-keyboards-and-vocals-ballad, and it is a beautiful one. The pianos and orchestrations sound tender and powerful at the same time and Khan delivers as usual. I love it!
EdenEcho starts of with a piano-riff that leads into heavy riffing and quite speedy drumming. The chorus is powerful although not so memorable, but the verse is excellent and in the middle-part there is a great choir-thingie going on and it returns to end the song/album as well.
So ends this (kind of short) masterpiece. There are no weak links which I really noticed when I had in mind to try to figure out the best tracks, and only listen to them, well I ended up listening to the whole album once again.
I won't give it 100% just because of that one chorus and the keyboard-solo, but as you can see, the miss-steps are extremely minimal.
I love this album to death! :P