Review Summary: Dominion is a step in the right direction. However, the main issue with Eternity-sub-par vocals-is still present here.
Kamelot did not exactly get off to a superb start. Their debut album Eternity
was decent in most regards, but was unfortunately rife with sub-par vocals. For better or worse, Eternity
was not a major release, not even being released in America at the time, and thus did not likely reach the ears of very many people, giving Kamelot another chance to prove their worth with Dominion
Most of the band have taken steps in the right direction on Dominion
, and none more so than Thomas Youngblood, who provides more entertaining and creative riffs and solos, such as on "Heaven" and "We Are Not Separate". He has also expanded his technique by using an acoustic guitar on several songs, like on "Crossing Two Rivers", and "Creation". Bassist Glenn Barry gets several moments in the spotlight on this album on "Heaven" and "Birth of a Hero." Drummer Richard Warner still does not get many standout moments, but manages to shine on "Heaven." Keyboardist David Pavlicko even plays an important part of the song "Birth of a Hero", providing the basis for the rest of the band to follow. Pavlicko also creates a tense atmosphere on the beginning of "Sin."
However, much like Eternity
's main weakness is sub-par vocal performances. After listening to Eternity
one would have thought (or rather, hoped) that vocalist Mark Vanderbilt would have gotten some constructive criticism, and would have gone off to take voice lessons before Kamelot recorded again. It appears that he has not, for his vocals have improved only slightly. He does not attempt his awful high notes as much, and he sounds a bit less shaky than before. He still does high notes though, most egregiously on "Heaven" and "One Day I'll Win". However, even Vanderbilt has his good moments on "Crossing Two Rivers", and "Troubled Mind".
The band also attempt to incorporate symphonic elements to their sound on "Crossing Two Rivers", "Song of Roland", and "Creation". These elements are a welcome addition, but only are fully utilized on "Creation", which can leave the other songs feeling a little incomplete at times. "Creation" is also notably the best song on the record, showcasing the entire band (except Vanderbilt) equally at some point or another. The song also provides the listener a much-needed break from Vanderbilt, which is quite helpful for making it through the album.
is certainly a step in the right direction for Kamelot, even if Vanderbilt still drags down what would otherwise be a solid album. However, Vanderbilt has learned his limits more, which is ultimately what makes Dominion
an improvement over it's predecessor.