Review Summary: The pure rawness of Kamelot's sound make this their best. Their later works, while being very good, do not match the magic that The Fourth Legacy brings.
The year 2000 was a pretty big year in metal. We witnessed the return of Bruce Dickinson to Iron Maiden. In Flames releases their last amazing album in Clayman and power metal giants Nightwish, Hammerfall, Helloween, Stratovarius, and Rhapsody release their latest outings. Another lesser known power metal band releases their recent record though. Kamelot's The Fourth Legacy
truly started this band's journey to the top of the power metal world. After picking up Roy Khan in 1998 and recording Siege Perilous, Thomas Youngblood and company were ready for bigger and better.
The Fourth Legacy
has a variety of different style songs within. From the speed of traditional power metal, to the obligatory ballad, to even Middle Eastern influences, this is a musical treat for power metal lovers. Frontman Roy Khan adapts to these different styles to give the listener something truly remarkable. Khan's operatic vocals (he was an aspiring opera singer) stand on top of Mount Olympus while the rest of the band on mere mortals on earth. Now Thomas Youngblood, Casey Grillo, and Glenn Barry are all marvelous musicians, but Khan reaches a level of vocal prowess that is only topped by Daniel Heiman.
(note: The album's track listing says that this is a 12 song album, but two of the tracks are more opening preludes to the song right after.)
opens up this power metal marvel with a 50 second instrumentation. We then enter hyperspeed with the title track, which also happens to be my favorite Kamelot song. Everything about this song is perfect. The riffing is phenomenal, the bass is actually audible, and the drumming is fast and furious. Roy Khan is the standout though. He does "fly like an eagle from oblivion" with his performance. If you listen to the chorus and it doesn't get stuck in your head, then you should not be listening to power metal. The solo of the song is also the best solo on the CD. Youngblood shows he is able to shred with the best of the best. Cue another epic chorus and you have yourself a power metal classic.
Sadly, we never reach the greatest of The Fourth Legacy
on the rest of the album. Silent Goddess
makes this fact because it is a bland song. This is a progressive/power metal song, and I just don't like the placing of it. In fact, the progressive sound songs are the most bland, but Lunar Sanctum
and The Inquisitor
actually have catchy portions to make tolerable and even good.
The remaining songs are more or less on equal level to each other, aside from Desert Reign and Nights of Arabia
, which make up the second best song on here. The Egyptian feel and the lifting chorus make me drool because I absolutely love everything Egyptian. We get the same type of feel in Alexandria
, but it doesn't reach that pedestal of Nights of Arabia.
The final four songs are split up into two parts: power metal and ballad. The earlier give a sense of rawness to the band, while being extremely catchy in the process (The guitar in Shadow of Uther
is the prime example). With the ballads, we get the softer yet amazing vocals of Roy Khan. The passion that he exhibits during the ballads is unmatched by many. Though he would top himself with Abandoned on The Black Halo, Glory
is a tear jerker.
Kamelot's second effort with Roy Khan on vocals proves to be my favorite. They started to drift and started to lose their power metal edge that was present on here. The Progressive/Power metal genre works perfectly for Kamelot, but going back to the sound of the early days would be a satisfaction for me.