Kamelot - The Shadow Theory

Kamelot - The Shadow Theory

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(CD/LP, Napalm Records, 2018)

KAMELOT released “The Shadow Theory” and this is the third full length with Tommy Karevik behind the mic. The reason for opening with this, is to highlight that this band has not yet escaped Roy Khan’s shadow (no shadow pun intended), at least to the mind of longtime fans, like myself. Although, in this day and age people tend to quickly forget as they are focused on the ‘now’ which becomes ‘past’ as fast as a sweep on you smartphone lasts... However, and in hindsight mentioning Khan on this album presentation is absolutely unfair to Tommy who has done an excellent work thus far and in this album sounds at his best with KAMELOT. Come to think of it, “The Shadow Theory” is such a solid album that all the KAMELOT fans should consider the transition period to be over.

“The Shadow Theory” is a concept album and to my mind this is (another) sign of how confident this lineup felt and took upon such a project which demands a clear musical vision without too much experimenting. “The Mission” lifts the curtain of a dystopian world where people have lost their connection with reality after being sucked into cyber space interacting more with AIs than with real people... Wait a minute, this does not sound like a future thing, right? Anyways, “Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)” is the first actual song and it carries the trademark KAMELOT sound with the classic double-bass drum Power Metal infusion we all love to hear. As I said, Tommy sounds at his best with all these sweet “twist” and “turns” in this vocals and his impressive ability to change pitch without breaking a sweat. The orchestrations and keyboard melodies feed the digital concept story and at some extent add a modern twist which does not sound strange at all. Yeah, everything sounds right and in place underlining what I was talking about the band’s high confidence. The immediate album hit is the amazing “Ravelight” which got stuck the moment it was released as a single. This sound contains one of the catchiest riffs Thomas Youngblood has written and, trust me, I am not overselling this. The way the vocals and the guitar talk to each other makes this one an album favorite and I bet has already secured a spot on the ongoing setlists. “Amnesiac” goes a bit more modern than the rest with more digital-sounding effects and a pounding rhythm section highlighted by what sounds to me like down-tuned guitar-action. This may well be just my mind talking but I think there is some Brian May of the “Innuendo” era in the guitar solo. At any rate, it’s super sweet. Doing great singing-duets is another KAMELOT trademark so expect to be blown away by the Tommy - Jennifer Habens (her voice has a Sharon den Adel quality) vocals which perfectly serve the concept aspect of the album. “Kevlar Skin” will quickly restore the Heavy Metal balance and the emotional ballad and I think this is the meanest song (another killer set of riffs) of the album and may remind you of KAMELOT first LPs carrying a clearer Power Metal profile. Even though I learned from reading the liner notes about “Static” that this the first song where Tommy tried vocal ideas, it does not sound alien to the KAMELOT sound, and this is another indication of how great this lineup worked in the studio. By the way, you will love the dramatic tone the orchestrations bring on this one.

The keyboards get with both feet into the spotlight with the a bit happier “Vespertine (My Crimson Bride)” with a boat load of melodies and layers which do not make the song complicated and, in fact, the tunes are so catchy that we may see this becoming a crowd favorite (singing-along is advised). All this happiness will start to fade away as the piano-sounding keyboard take the stage for “The Proud And The Broken”. Yeah, the mood gets darker but without dismissing the heaviness of the guitars which soon take the stage with the addition of some harsh vocals delivered Sascha Paeth who left the soundboard to growl a bit. Take note of the aggressive and high-pitched singing by Tommy and realize that this guy’s vocals chords know no limits.

I was prepared for another classic KAMELOT album but soon enough I got sucked into “The Shadow Theory” which sees the band moving forward bringing new elements and mixing them with the trademark sounds. I have absolutely no complaints and, in fact, I am really excited to see the band onstage.

9/10


Links:

www.Kamelot.Com
www.MySpace.Com/Kamelot
www.FaceBook.Com/KamelotOfficial
www.Twitter.Com/KamelotOfficial


Tracklist:

01. The Mission
02. Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)
03. Ravenlight
04. Amnesiac
05. Burns To Embrace
06. In Twilight Hours
07. Kevlar Skin
08. Static
09. Mindfall Remedy
10. Stories Unheard
11. Vespertine (My Crimson Bride)
12. The Proud And The Broken
13. Ministrium (Shadow Key)


Lineup:

Sean Tibbetts - Bass
Thomas Youngblood - Guitar
Oliver Palotai - Keyboards, Orchestrations
Tommy Karevik - Vocals
Johan Nunez - Drums