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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.