To obtain, something of equal value must be lost..
Join Date: Feb 2007
Re: Official Rock Discussion Thread
Kamelot is my favorite band ever. Vocalist, Roy Khan has absolutely amazing range and Guitarist, Thomas Youngblood is one very original track artist. Casey Grillo's drums are super strong but they don't drown the music like a lot of metal/power-metal. Base Guitar player, Glenn Barry complements Youngblood really well. If you're into metal and haven't hear much Kamelot, then go hear some.
Their magnum opus is the two-part concept album Epica and The Black Halo. Sure, the most important aspect of music is how much you enjoy it but once you enjoy the surface, more times than not, you lose interest in it. This album has a tremendous story that evolves with every song and you can even give it an allegorical meaning.
Based on Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe's Faust, the story is about a young Alchemist who seeks eternal truth and leaves everything behind to search for it. On his quest, he runs into God's most faithful angel, Mephisto who refused to bow down before mankind, mocking them as inferior creatures. After a deal with God that if he obtains the soul of Ariel, mankind would be damned and if he fails, he will be cast away from heaven.
Epica is the first part of the two-part concept and deals with Ariel's quest for truth and Mephisto trying to get to him. It starts with a Prologue that develops into the intro of the first track. The first track is a standalone but the Prologue enhances the experience so for everyone wanting to give this a listen, I suggest hearing them in the order as they are given in the album.
Center of the Universe: The first real track of the album is this and it delves deep into Ariel's thoughts. He believes that someone before him must have known the truth to this world and since he cannot find it here, he must leave to search for it elsewhere. Musically, it is classic powermetal formula with extremely high pitch-range that might get on some pop-rock enthusiasts' nerves. There is a slow-down spot close to the end of the song that is one of the finest melodies you'll hear. 7/10
Farewell: Starts where the previous track left off but enters a range of unusual powermetal (yet familiar Kamelot). You get to hear Khan's low ranges here and he shines the most in this track. The story here is about Ariel's departure. There is a point where he says that God cannot remedy the human soul's thirst for answers and leaves everything and everyone behind, including the love of his life - Helena. There is an interlude that follows this, which takes us to Ariel's next destination. As for the song, it's one of my favorites to sing if I want to showcase my vocal range and if you sing powermetal, this can work for you too. 8/10
Edge of Paradise: This song is a little on the strange side but as long as you can accept that it's different from usual Kamelot, you'll like it. The song title explains itself, every time he feels he is close to the answers, it slips away. Losing hope, he turns to drugs ('poison burning in my veins') and falls in ruin. I love the entire album but this is possibly their weakest track. Still very good by normal standards. 6.5/10
Wander: This is the first ballad of the album that slows down the pace considerably. Again, one of my favorites to sing because the melody is very soothing. Here, he is regretting his every move since leaving Helena behind. A long time has passed and he is reminiscent of the seasons past. This is an absolute brilliant piece, musically and talks a great deal of philosophy in it as well. There is another interlude here, which signals the arrival of a key character into the story. 9/10
Descent of the Archangel: Wow, talk about a change in tempo. The archangel comes in the light of the shimmering moonlight, looking for Ariel who has no clue of the bet with God. Song explains itself with simple, yet haunting lyrics. Khan's range also receives a massive boost at one point of this song. Ariel's faith is shaken by Mephisto who offers him everything he could dream of in exchange for his soul. Yet another interlude arrives where Ariel is taken to Mephisto's glorious castle for an imminent banquet. 7/10
Feast for the Vain: This is a song that best portrays the interaction between characters. Khan plays both Ariel and Mephisto and a background choir plays all the other guests. Mephisto convinces Ariel to surrender his soul for all earthly luxury but Ariel has a condition of his own - Mephisto only gets Ariel's soul if he ever wishes to linger on in a moment forever. This is depicted at the end of the song. Very good lyrics here indeed. 8/10
On the Coldest Winter Night: The second ballad and much more difficult to sing even though it sounds easier. The previous songs fades into this one impeccably. Ariel runs into Helena outside Mephisto's castle. She had been searching for him all these years. They spend the night together and Helena gets pregnant but neither of them knows it just yet. 8.5/10
Lost and Damned: Not wanting to drag Helena into Mephisto's trap as well, Ariel explains to her why they cannot be together and proceeds to leave. He is still consumed by his quest for eternal truth. He tells her that he has a higher calling than love. Slow and fast alternate here, musically providing for a fun track. 7/10
Helena's Theme: Broken, Helena drowns herself and the unborn child in a river, promising to love Ariel in the afterlife. A prayer fro the River Spirit takes her to heaven. This is a female only track and not really a big track of Kamelot's. Consider this like an interlude since this feature neither of the two main characters. There is another interlude afterwards, when the focus goes back to Ariel.N/A
The Mourning After (Carry On): Ariel dreams of Helena's death and the story is confirmed when he wakes up. Feeling guilty, he mourns but he knows that he must carry on because his higher calling still awaits. This is the peak of Ariel's love for Helena (this and the next track). Musically, this is not as strong as some of the other tracks but it's quite emotionally charged. 6.5/10
III Ways to Epica: This features again both main characters. Mephisto tries to rationalize Helena's death, wanting to make Ariel feel better but Ariel blames his sorrow on God. Even faint cries of Helena's ghost can be heard in the background of the chorus. You'll also get a glimpse of Ariel's former self when he reverts back into the time he said his first 'farewell' to Helena. The chorus is AMAZING. This is the strongest track on this album. Youngblood also reaches his zenith in this track with brilliant solos. 9.5/10
Overall: 10/10, there isn't one song that's not great here. You'll like these songs if you listen to them individually but listen to them in this order (if you like this style of music) and you'll fall in love with them. I'll be doing "The Black Halo", the second and superior of the two parts, as well.
Note: If you think powermetal is just cheesy fantasy screamos, then this is the album that WILL change your mind.