Review Summary: After 5 years of working on the Faust concept Kamelot are back - no concept, no borders. And they haven't forgotten how to make music!
Kamelot go kind of the same way as they did on Black Halo. The music is less positive as it was on earlier days, the progressive feeling of the band is growing, though it had been on it from the beginning. The greatest difference between Black Halo and Ghost Opera is that this album has no concept, while the forerunner told the tale of Ariel, which began with Epica.
The first track is called Solitaire and is a beautiful violin solo, running into Rule the World, a majestetic follower of Black Halo's opener March of Mephisto: Dark, progressive and exiting. Just a great song with a very oriental feeling to it. I don't really get the lyrics, but it sounds like a man who is hiding from shadows or demons every night, but never loses his faith that they will go away someday. Just my point of view...
The title track is a rather untypical uptempo song with much orchestra and a haunting female voice in the background of the chorus. Fits the lyrics very well - it's about regretting and never forget about things that happened. And every night in your dreams you're in that Ghost Opera mourning what could have been. Great message, like usual for Kamelot.
One of my alltime favorites is the following song, number 4; The Human Stain. Pumping bass and a ticking clock, a blurred voice of Roy Khan, who does a great job once again. The chorus is not as powerful as some others by Kamelot, but this one is pretty atmospheric and haunting, and the lyrics are great, dealing with human kind's failes in all possible ways. Fantasic symbols: In this silent tide we're driftwood passing by... Always makes me think about a lot of things...
Blücher introduces the war theme for the first time on this album. The name sound german, and actually it is. It was a ship which was destroyed during the second world war on the shore of Norway. The song is written from the view of a German soldier, knowing that he is going to die and writing a last letter to his loved one, but it could always be a daughter he's applying to. The song begins with a German prayer. Probably the new, German keyborder Oliver Palotai (cool guy by the way) has arranged that. Well, the song is a very special one, it has a progressive, dark feeling overall, but in the chorus it switches more into a ballad, with Khan singing with a female voice. I believe it's Simone Simons of Epica. Anyways, there are some experiments going on right here, too. Khan sounds like a roboter shortly before the chorus kicks in and also there are some noices, guns, and screams in the background at some places. Some will dislike that, but I think it goes very well with the song and its theme. At the end the torpedo breaks into the ship and Blücher sinks.
Yeah, Ghost Opera is not a story itself, but it contains of many little ones.
And Love You to Death is also one of those. The power Ballad of this album. Though it cannot pick up with Abandoned or the earlier ballads, I still enjoy it. Not later than here you'll realise how the songs evolve with the time. While the first verse is very calm, the second contains much more suspense, the more the story moves on. This song is about a couple. The girl has a sickness and she knows that she will die soon, and so she swears that she will watch over her lover in death.
Up Through The Ashes is Kamelot at its best. And as we know it. High suspense in the verses, then it rises into a great, epic chorus. All in all very orchestral, and dramatic. It deals with Pontius Pilatus' thoughts while he adjudges Jesus, and with his guilty concience while he is trying to convince the people that Jesus hasn't done anything bad. Really well done, and fantastically declaimed by Roy Khan!
Mourning Star is one of the songs that needs some time to get the listeners attention, but with patience you'll see that this song is just as great as the others. Once again a war, this time on the land, where a soldier begins to doubt in the reason of war and to believe in god. Good song, but gassy at times.
Silence of the Darkness is the most usual song you'll find on this CD. Good Power Metal with a great keyboard solo and powerful chorus, but it's nothing that Kamelot would not have done better during the past years.
Anthem is the full ballad on this album. Would have been a piano ballad, if there weren't those violines, punching in up to a very orchestral, epic track. I've heard some cry: Why does Khan's voice sound so dull on this song" - I guess that because he has written this song about his song before his birth. The child hears him singing this song on the other side of the womb. And if you keep that in mind while listening to this song, there are chills guaranteed. For some of you it'll be a little cheesy I guess, but I like it just the way it is.
Now there's just one track left. The only really negative point on this album is following: I miss an epic finale like III Way to Epica, Fall from Grace, or even Memento Mori... The thing you get here is a very good mid-tempo song called EdenEcho, with some very great moments, but for me it acts more like a dessert, a nice song at the end. The message is nothing special, but see how epic it sounds in spite of that: How come I want you like the soil yearns for the rain!" - Just seems to be the best declaration of love I've heard in my life!
So the album fades out with some pretty choirs and the CD stops turning.
This is not an epos like Epica or Black Halo. But it's a collection of purely adorable songs, each and everyone telling its own story with an individual atmosphere, protagonist and message. Unlike most album of the band, this one takes some time to grow into its real height. But if you have the patience, you'll be honored with great chills and journeys through fantastic worlds.
Though it doesn't reach the perfection of Epica and Black Halo, in the end it is Khan's voice that pushes the rating up a little bit. With him as a singer you can't do wrong, I swear!
Now that a re-release has come out, I would recommend buying the Second Coming, if you haven't got the original version yet. It containes a bonus CD with 10 live tracks, Anyone who has ever seen them live can tell what a awesome live band they are! Also there are 3 outtakes; Season's End and Pendulous Fall, actually planned to be on Ghost Opera, are two nice, but kind of unusual songs; I like them though. Epilogue was a bonus track from Black Halo and is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard in my life, though it has the nearly pity playing time of two and a half minutes... The last bonus is a remix of Rule the World. Like I expected, the whole, by the way great, song is ruined with effects. But you can just ignore it, and moreover it's still better than anything of that dance *** on radio!