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Cheese, whine, and one great song - 55%

BloodIronBeer, June 23rd, 2010

The archives currently lists Kamelot as “melodic power metal”. I suppose that’s opposed to the power metal that lacks melody? I don’t think I’ve ever heard a non-melodic power metal band.

The most accurate description of this album’s style, that I can offer, is symphonic and gothic tinged power metal. With a lean towards the commercial. Cue the parting of the sea as far as an audience goes.

The songs are catchy, the production is polished to a mirror sheen, Kahn’s a great singer, it’s epic - what’s not to love?

First and foremost, I’m not going to argue Kahn is a top notch singer. He’s just too melodramatic. Too much cheese for a seasoned power metal fan; and that's saying something.

All the emotion Kahn seems to be trying to pour into the words he’s singing, just isn’t doing it. Rather than hearing genuine stories of someone’s sorrow/lost love, I feel like I’m hearing a very by-the-numbers theatre routine.

The guitar and drums are second to the vocal melodies, and even the keyboard/symphonics. Aside from the few tracks that are worthwhile on here, there is no real solid, kickass guitar riffs. It’s just power chords playing chauffer to the vocal lines. The drums seldom do anything worth noting. And there isn’t a span of time more than a fill at the end of a riff with any serious heaviness to it.

Strung through album of somewhat enjoyable tunes, is garbage like the nu-metal leanings of “The Human Stain” and the unabashed corniness of the ballads “Anthem” and “Love you to Death”. After you remove these and the pointless Solitaire, and the unabridged mediocrity of Mourning Star and that leaves you with a few good offerings.

The title track is a true saving grace. The melody is haunting, as promised by the title and lyrics. I can honestly say I love the song, and it’s too bad more of the album couldn’t have followed suit. This stands as kind of a curiosity, as liking a song this much on an album I’m so unimpressed with, is very rare. It would have been nice if the whole album could have been themed around those type of lyrics and haunting aura.

Up Through the Ashes exploits the “symphonic” aspects nicely. Rule the World is refreshing in it’s Middle Eastern ambience. Silence of the Darkness has most to say in terms of musicianship for this band; but the song is particularly chorus saturated. Whatever else I missed, isn’t worth mentioning apparently.

It’s radio-friendly, chorus-heavy, melodramatic power metal. What more can I say?