Review Summary: Kamelot's best. They abandon every aspect of the happy power metal sound for a darker mood that just works.
Called one of the driving forces in power metal, Kamelot has brought listeners a unique style of the genre. Early on, they incorporated the stereotypical sound that has defined power metal: melodramatic guitars, blistering double bass, and over the top vocals. Starting with Epica though, they shifted towards the growing power-prog sound that many bands like Symphony X were using. The Black Halo continued this and Ghost Opera brought out the bands darker side. After covering all possible aspects of power metal, I was quite interested on the direction Poetry for the Poisoned
was going to take. The last two albums were disappointments as I did not like the abandonment of the band’s roots. While both had remarkable material, it could not make up for the lack of song strength on the rest of the albums. Poetry for the Poisoned
changes my mind completely on the group and returns them to the mountain of power metal greatness.
The first thing that is obviously noticeable is the darker mood of the album. Ghost Opera was probably the group’s darkest album to date, but this takes that and multiples it by ten. “The Great Pandemonium” starts the record with the best bass and drum work the band has ever done; the main beat of the song is so tribal like. Roy Khan also gives us a strong performance that fans of the band expect from him every time he opens up his mouth. While the backing growls deteriorate from the song just a little, the song does not let up for four and a half minutes.
As the rest of the album goes on, the listener is continually greeted with a darker and angrier side of power metal not really seen before. Songs such as “If Tomorrow Came,” “Necropolis,” and “My Train of Thought” create a somber hopelessness sound before erupting into an epic chorus that make the listener believe that the song is going to become all happy like most songs in the genre intend. That is not the case though and can be explained after a few listens. Like it was said earlier, the drums and bass work are phenomenal; they can be heard in just about every song on here. As for the guitars, Thomas Youngblood gets his time to shine in every song except “Hunter’s Season,” which Gus G from Firewind does the solo.
By the time we reach the end of the album we do not really see any downfall in terms of quality of the songs. “Seal of Woven Years” is one of the top songs of this year. From the epic orchestral opening, to the amazing bass lines and the great chorus, the song is also one of the band’s best. Next we see a concept song split into four parts. “Poetry for the Poisoned” has a strange vampire like theme lyrically but the music accompanying it is terrific. Guest appearances by Simone Simons and Amanda Somerville add to the quality as well.
Poetry for the Poisoned
has come to be Kamelot’s best work to date. While The Black Halo and Epica are great records, albeit overrated (especially The Black Halo), they really do not stand up to the quality presented on here. The drums are as tight as ever. The bass is both phenomenal and heard regularly. As for the guitars and vocals, well they have never been bad on a Roy Khan era Kamelot album. The darker mood of the album gives the band a side that they explored with a bit on Ghost Opera, but on here it just explodes. It gives them a side completely different from the days of The Fourth Legacy, Karma, and Epica. Thankfully it has become a good thing and I look forward to later albums to use this new mood of the band.