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Underrated, indeed. It is unfortunate that this album is so overlooked in the Kamelot history, with most fans preferring The Fourth Legacy and beyond. While I won't deny the awesomeness of those subsequent albums, the band's earliest works certainly bear some looking into, especially this album, Kamelot's third album and first to feature long time vocalist Roy Khan.
Musically, Siége Perilous sounds much like its predecessors, with lots of classical sounding keyboards and driving guitars, and yet the songs provide a glimpse of what was to come on the next few albums. Thomas Youngblood's songwriting continues to improve, quite a bit better here than Eternity or Dominion, but not quite to the level first realized with The Fourth Legacy, where Khan would have a hand in the songwriting efforts and the classical sound would diminish quite a bit. Here, Roy Khan provides a much needed boost to the vocal department, outshining Mark Vanderbilt's efforts across the board, while Casey Grillo debuts on the drums,, replacing founding member Richard Warner. David Pavlicko plays keyboards here one final time, after which Michael 'Miro' Rodenberg would take up keyboard duties, creating a very stable lineup for Kamelot that would endure up to Ghost Opera, where Oliver Palotai would become a permanent member.
The album as a whole is strong and catchy, with no bad songs to be found. Highlights include Providence, Millennium, Where I Reign, Parting Visions, and the instrumental closer Seige, which is the most classical sounding song of the bunch here, replete with sweeping keyboards and harpsichord. I really wish that Kamelot would return to this sound, it is so much fun to listen to. I'd even settle for a special summer tour where the band plays this album in it's entirety as a throwback. With Khan having departed the band by the time of this review, it seems unlikely that such a thing would occur, but it'd be a blast for sure.
Overall, it may not be Kamelot's best album, but it's far from their worst effort by a long shot, and is a go to album for me when I just want to enjoy something a bit different than Kamelot's other stuff. Underrated? Very much so.
Kamelot was one of the first bands I liked and for good reason. All the albums after this one were some of the best in whatever genre of music they'd be classified as. Even major changes in sound like the one between Karma and Epica failed to stop their sound from being good. So imagine my surprise when I bought this album, the last Kamelot album I really cared about buying, and it wasn't good.
The first problem is that Kamelot didn't yet know how to use Khan's voice. As a new addition to the band, I'm not sure Khan's full potential was even realized. On some of the songs Khan's voice is almost completely drowned out by the rest of the band. The parts which you can hear him aren't even that interesting. It's almost as if Khan's voice entirely devoid of emotion, the same emotion which, in later albums would make songs great. The choruses that Khan sings fall are not catchy at all, and with the power metal approach they are taking Khan's voice was going to become a staple for the band after this point, but he's simply not challenged and it shows.
Another big problem is that the band takes too much of a power metal approach. The Kamelot that most people are used to takes a darker tone with the guitar in the lead and the keyboards there to add to the sound. The guitars on this album are toned down and the keyboards take over. This setup really only works in one song, Siege, which is an instrumental where it all fits together very well. The problem with that is that the keyboards aren't very good either. The melodies aren't very memorable and kind of boring. None of the music is bad, it's just it's not the outstanding stuff that most Kamelot fans are used to.
It's not all bad though. There are parts in almost every song that show what Kamelot would become, but they are few and far between .In most songs that only adds to the frustration because you know how good they could be if it weren't hidden behind weak keyboard melodies. Take the song King's Eyes for example, it has the best chorus on the whole album. Khan's voice is actually aloud to shine, and as I heard it for the first time I actually had hope for the album. The chorus is the only good part in the entire song, because as soon as it's over Khan's voice is hidden behind the weak keyboards again. It's almost as if the band was afraid to stick out and show they were something different.
It's hard to find a grade for this album. It's average power metal so it should get an average grade. It's also Kamelot and when compared to their other music it's depressing how little they tried on this album. This is an album that only diehard Kamelot fans, who are interested in Kamelot's evolution in sound more than the sound of the album, should hear. This is certainly not the place to start, every other Kamelot album with Khan as lead singer is steps above this and much easier to get into.
It's not that I don't like Kamelot's style. I love the combination of the strong guitar work with the keyboard and the slower vocals.
It's just that Kamelot doesn't seem to have done anything with it yet.
The songs on here start sounding very similar very quickly. When you first pop this CD in and get past the rather unfocused Providence, you get to the very strong Millenium, which has some nice riffage work and a great beat, although Khan's vocals seem unsure of their direction. Then you get to King's Eyes, which has a nice new beat but riffage that sounds oddly familiar, as do Khan's vocals. Then you get to Expedition, which has a so-so beat and VERY familiar riffage, not to mention Khan's unchanging vocals. You might start to notice a definite pattern in terms of riffage and vocals when you hear the same basic riffs and vocal insecurity on the next track, Where I Reign. After this, even the rhythm starts to repeat, and you might start looking very seriously at the ol' eject button. Hit the skip button instead. All the way to the last track, entitled Siege. Here we finally get some fresh riffs, and the guitar solo and the really cool keyboard work breathe real life into the album.
And then the album is finished. Overall, I wouldn't spend money on this album. It's not terrible, but it's not really worth the price. Save your money for Epica instead.
Siege Perilous is not a bad Kamelot album, just not the greatest. It is the first album with new singer Roy Khan. It's hard to listen to this one if you have heard Karma or Epica, because it is not even close. I think Khan was just getting used to singing with the Kamelot crew, and hence not his best performance. It is good, but not as great as he sounds on the following albums. The songs are pretty decent, none stick out at me though. They all sound the same, there is no distinct difference, and I even wonder if there is a bit of riff recycling. But the riffs are well done. All the instruments are well done, keyboards, organ, etc. Millennium has probably the greatest Kamelot riff ever and the instrument Siege Perilous is just beautifully written, guitars, keyboards and all! The one thing that I noticed is that this album does not have the same speed as 4th Legacy or Karma. Most of the songs are mellow or just slow sounding. Where Karma is all out speed/power metal. Nonetheless, this is a great album, but I would only recommend it to Kamelot fans because there are better Kamelot albums out there.
In fact, one of the only flower-metal albums I can put up with, because while it does have a lot of keyboards, the guitar work is definitely in place, and the emphasis is on the riffs, as opposed to meaningless wankery.
This is pretty much what flower-metal should sound like - it's melodic, without resorting to the excess cheesiness or forced hooks of bands like Sonata Craptica. The songs are very much classical-sounding, and there really aren't gratuitous guitar or keyboard solos that sacrifice the overall cohesion of the songs, and also I must note that the drums aren't homoerotically loud.
Every song on here is pretty damn good. They are, for the most part, very similar sounding without any particular one being "the obligatory speed metal song" or "the obligatory ballad". Highlights include "Millennium", "Rhydin", and especially "Parting Visions".
As I said, it's no thrash riff-o-rama - but nonetheless it works. Probably because they don't try too damn hard to be emotional and end up whiny, and the keyboards are used tastefully, to provide atmosphere as opposed to being the main overwhelming focus. Definitely worth getting, if nothing else just to prove to your neighbours that metal is more than just vicious shrieking.