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When I first read that Khan left Kamelot a few months ago, the same feeling of empty heartedness and disbelief when Tarja got kicked out of Nightwish overcame me. Khan had an incredible stage presence whenever he stepped on a stage and could sing like no other in the genre. I thought he could never be replaced in this band. But so happens that he needed to quit and needed to be replaced due to him being ill and completely burned out. So here we are, new album, new singer and a new return for Kamelot. Going in, I didn't expect this be the same band but just a shell of what they were, I wasn't expecting too much to be completely honest.
Kamelot are masters of their craft, and their fans know the, "Kamelot sound" and have all become quite demanding over the years. The symphonic atmosphere is still here on this record the moment the first track begins to play but that's not much of a surprise since that is a given. What I really wanted to know was how Tommy would fill in the gap left by Khan's departure, which seemed to be a canyon of a gap. I've been a fan of this band forever and I can't help but see myself being very judgmental of this new singer.
After the opener, you hear Tommy speaking and I couldn't care less what he has to say at the moment, just play the damn song already. As anxious as I was to hear the music, this definitely wasn't a good first impression. Finally the single, "Sacrimony" kicks in, which truthfully, sounds like a Kamelot song and reminds me of the track, "Ghost Opera" or something out of the album, "Fourth Legacy" or even, "Epica" you know, the chugging guitar riffs, the double kicks and the symphony in the background. Very energetic and powerful song, good stuff! In my head I’m thinking, "Alright, this is definitely a Kamelot song and kicks ass so far!" That being said, it's safe to say they haven't strayed far from their formula. The moment Tommy begins to sing, an eerie resemblance to Khan is present. Kamelot seem to have recruited a singer that sounds very similar to Roy, and if certain people out there haven't been following their story, they'd think it’s the same damn singer. Catchy chorus, good song structure, it’s all us Kamelot fans have grown to love about them.
As the album progresses, not only do Tommy's vocals get better, but the album as a whole does and Youngblood actually starts to shred for once; something that has been absent in many Kamelot songs. I forgot this and started to think that he couldn't shred at all to be honest. The music arrangements and production are top notch and absolutely wonderful to listen to on this record. Every Kamelot album as of late, has had a slow piano ballad and of course, this album wouldn’t be a Kamelot album without one. Don't expect a song as good as, “Abandoned” cause you aren't going to get it. Don't get me wrong, “Song for Jolee” is a good track, but it sounds like it belongs in some Disney movie. Some may love it or some may pass on it and move on. The next notable song is, "My Confession" Tommy soars on this track and the symphonies accompanied by the drums and guitars are in perfect harmony. Awesome song. As previously stated, the album gets better as we go on. A good way to see what an album and a band has to offer, is to listen half way into an album or further because from experience, albums tend to wither as they progress. But not this bad boy, “Solitaire” is the 10th song on this album and is powerful as hell. I found myself listening to this track multiple times. Finally! A negative point! What sucks is that the longest song on this album, "Prodigal Son" Doesn't kick in fast enough. It's slow up until the sixth minute then the track turns fantastic. I don’t know why they chose to take so long to bring up the tempo of the song. The album winds down with the track, “Continuum” an instrumental song, which brings a suitable close to the album. It's slow and soothing allowing you take in everything that you have listened to and acts as a perfect curtain call to an amazing album.
All things considered, Tommy is an ideal replacement for Kamelot; he stepped up to the challenge and passed with flying colours. If a guy like me can look past Khan leaving and embrace this album the way I have, then anyone can. No it isn’t as good as the epic, and I mean EPIC, "Black Halo" but it’s definitely better than, "Poetry For The Poisoned" and a strong answer from the drama that this band went through. This is a revitalized Kamelot ready to kick some ass and I can't wait to see what they have in store for us. We Will miss you dearly Khan, but Welcome Tommy!
Sacrimony, My Confession, Silverthorn, Ashes To Ashes, Solitaire, VERITAS