Kamelot
Epica


4.0
excellent

Review

by Steven McMahan USER (49 Reviews)
November 25th, 2008 | 23 replies | 3,919 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Although not as strong as the follow up, Epica is nonetheless an amazing power metal album that showcases Kamelot near the top of their game.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

A wager is made in the heavens: if an exiled angel (Mephisto) can claim the soul of God’s favorite man, then he will be able to reenter heaven. But if he cannot, then he will be eternally condemned to hell. After leaving all he’s ever known to search for truth, Ariel (the object of the bet) is introduced to Mephisto, who offers him every possible worldly desire in exchange for his soul after death. Ariel makes a compromise, saying that if at any point he’s so content that he wishes to linger there forever, then Mephisto can have his soul.

Thus is the basis for Epica, part one of Kamelot’s two-part concept album based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust story. These two albums make what is most likely the power metal powerhouse’s finest hour (or rather, two hours).

Unlike the Dragonforce’s of the power metal world, Kamelot puts dramatic and operatic vocals over hard-hitting metallic guitars, drums and bass. The result is epic, melodic and powerful songs that are not only better than a lot of power metal, but also don’t come off nearly as cheesy as most.

The musicianship present is more than solid. Guitarist Thomas Youngblood delivers plenty of great riffs throughout the album, never letting things get boring throughout. He can also solo quite well, and displays said skill in the first two songs (and later on as well). Even though the production drowns out the bass while Youngblood is playing, it is audible in the softer moments of the album and there are some great basslines present here. Drummer Casey Grillo also showcases substantial talent in the first two songs, laying down a great double bass pattern behind Youngblood’s rapid fire riffing. Grillo is never hyper-technical throughout the album, but simply backs the rest of the band, and does so quite well.

Even with the strong musicianship on display here, it’s Roy Khan’s voice that elevates Kamelot to a significantly higher level. His powerful, amazing and (to my knowledge) unique voice displays not only great range, but also the ability to hold notes almost perfectly. This is all no real surprise when you consider the fact that Khan has had classical training, and this also (helps) explain why his vocal style brings to mind opera vocal styles. The man truly towers above his band mates in terms of sheer talent, which is why I’ve devoted a full paragraph to him.

As mentioned before, Epica is a concept album. Although the lyrics don’t always make it clear what going on in the story, reading them a couple times will certainly help (and the wikipedia article(s) for both albums explains them perfectly). Although The Black Halo is musically superior, Epica does a slightly better job with the concept – or perhaps just with the interludes. All four of the interludes are interesting to listen to, and help Epica flow almost perfectly as a cohesive body of work.

So far all I’ve done is praise this album, and it’s a bit hard to come up with real negatives. There is a small sense of monotony when hearing the album for the first time, but this soon goes away as one learns the songs. Epica’s two ballads, “Wander” and On The Coldest Winter Night”, are placed on the tracklist so as to help break this monotony, and “III Ways to Epica” stands out because it showcases everything good about the band in six glorious minutes. The interludes also help this, creating moments of (delightful) distraction from the excellent songs. An aroma of cheese might float to some listeners' noses during the album, but the “epic” and dramatic nature of the songs still works so well that the songs are awesome (as in “awe inspiring”, the word’s true definition). The only real problem with Epica is that it is consistently great, but not consistently amazing like The Black Halo is.

Most power metal bands seem content to write extremely cheesy songs usually delivered in an equally cheesy manner. Songs about Lord of the Rings, dragons, wizards and mythical lands seem to permeate the genre (or at least what this reviewer has yet to come across). I won’t say that Kamelot has come to save the genre, but they certainly stand as a force to be reckoned with. Epica is a strong testament to this - epic, heavy, melodic and powerful throughout most of its duration, it’s an album every fan of the genre should own (unless you don’t have The Black Halo yet).

Final Rating: 4.2/5

Recommended Tracks
Center of the Universe
Wander
Lost & Damned
III Ways to Epica



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user ratings (459)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Trajan Paul Murphy (4.5)
Epica is a very entertaining album that is an amazing listen from beginning to end....

Dan Brass (4.5)
A sublime release from power metal's finest....

Seth T. White (Cravinov13) (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ninjuice
November 25th 2008



6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Former version of the review was a bit skimpy so I added more to it. I also ended up praising it a bit more than I'd like but oh well, the album rocks.

Poet
November 25th 2008



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These two albums make what is most likely the power metal powerhouse’s finest hour


Eh not really.

good review otherwise. Wished you talked about one of the best power metal songs ever in Center of the Universe though.

rasputin
November 25th 2008



14538 Comments


Good band, I've only heard Karma in full though.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2008



16299 Comments


Rasputin --- Your changing of avatars has made me shed tears.


Thought I'd let you know.This Message Edited On 11.25.08

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

rasputin
November 25th 2008



14538 Comments


Shed tears in a good or bad way?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2008



16299 Comments


Bad.

In other words, it doesn't make me feel good, man.

rasputin
November 25th 2008



14538 Comments


Dude it's Snake Plissken, the baddest motherfucker to have escaped from LA andNew York

BallsToTheWall
November 25th 2008



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Crying makes me feel good man. Kamelot is no exception.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2008



16299 Comments


KURT RUSSELLThis Message Edited On 11.25.08

Poet
November 25th 2008



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The only Kamelot song that has even made my eyes water is Abandoned. That song is one of the best songs ever.

PayneTiger777
November 25th 2008



4388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

POWA METAAAAAAAAAAAL.....WAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWW!
KAMELOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT..WOOOOOOOOW!
KURT RUSSEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLL....DUN DUN DUN DUN!!!

And I agree with Poet.This Message Edited On 11.25.08

myhigherpie
November 25th 2008



3027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

probably the greatest power metal album of all time along with burnt offerings and one of my personal favorite albums of all time.

I cant explain why, but for some reason Descent of the Archangel is my favorite song off this album. The way they symbolize the descent of Mephisto with the synth and keyboards is absolutely breathtaking.

this albums full effect comes into fruition if you give a shit about the story. Sort of how like Opera is pointless if you do not know the plot to accompany the music.

Lunarfall
November 25th 2008



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album kinda isn't that great.

ninjuice
November 25th 2008



6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I obviously beg to differ.
Anyways, I love how this got less pos votes than before lol. Apparently I really need to stop caring about my approval.

BludgeonySteve
November 26th 2008



558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Every song on this album gives me chills. Metal chills that is.

jingledeath
November 26th 2008



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is great but The Black Halo rapes this and any other album they've released.

Captain North
November 26th 2008



6784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"CARRY ON, CARRY ON...MEET ME ON THE OTHERSIDE"

Epically awesome album.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This and the Black Halo are two of the only power metal albums I can still listen to. Amazing songwriting on these albums. "Center of the Universe" is incredible

Burn2Burn
November 26th 2008



2378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Farewell is immense.

ninjuice
November 26th 2008



6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Wander" is really sweet too, but of course their best ballad would have to be "Abandoned".



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