Kamelot
The Black Halo


4.0
excellent

Review

by marbledking USER (17 Reviews)
April 19th, 2014 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: March of Mephisto ends in loving memories

Kamelot is undoubtedly, a trully exceptional band, with a distinct personality. This was evident right after their first releases in the beginning/mid of the 90's. Their "subtle" power/artistic metal sound was distinguishable and appraised among the rock/metal audiences. Their diversity, their quality, concerning music and lyrics and Roy Khan's unique voice played a key role to this evolution and Kamelot are evaluated nowadays as a great contributor to our favourite music.

"The Black Halo" is the second part of their concept, based on Goethe's "Faust", concluding the story that was set forth by "Epica". Lyrically, we could say it is vaguely based on Goethe's work. It retains the central idea of the character Faust, who begins a second adventure after waking up in the fields, after the tragic end of the first part of the story. The negative thing here is, that Kamelot don't really pick up the greatest themes from this masterpiece, but they remain more focused on the love story between "Ariel" and "Helena" and the feelings and memories after their separating. This is considered a huge try to be on the "commercial" side, on my part. On the one hand we have the use of the name "Mephisto", but not the use of "Faust" or "Gretchen", accordingly. This happens for obvious reasons. "Mephistopheles" is already a famous "brand" name, while "Ariel" and "Helena" are for sure more popular than the original german ones.

The afore mentioned thoughts don't mean in any case that the album is lyrically weak. On the contrary, Kamelot are once again on top of their game here, and tracks as "The Haunting", "Abandoned", "Moonlight", prove the latter. Of course if they could have avoided some commercial "lovey" lyrics at the end of the album, it would have been much better.

Musically, they follow the succesful path of "Epica" in a more grandiose and polished way. It's not a foul to step on something succesful. It would be a foul if they had tried to copy it. This is not the case. The two records have huge similarities and some differences. The keyboards part is more grandiose on the "Black Halo", the production is more polished, the rhythm guitars are less heavy and the part of female vocals is more restricted. The influences by the second era of Iced Earth ("Dark Saga") are here more than obvious and the experienced listener also deciphers elements (f.e. piano) "borrowed" by "Thane to the Throne" (Jag Panzer). Thus said, we have to clarify that Kamelot never sounded as heavy as these bands. They follow more the "european" melodic/speedy tradition.

Roy Khan seems to be the main protagonist in the "Black Halo". He is an accomplished singer and he has a distinguishable voice. But on the larger picture, he cannot fullfill the role of the "prime diva" that he is so much after. On "The Black Halo" he is not endorsed by backing vocals on the refrains and this reveals he doesn't have that epicness to carry this out. His higher tones of the scale, though well delivered, are really weak. Roy is not a power metal singer. He can fit in perfectly in a progressive band or a quality rock band, but for Kamelot, he is not the best choice. Of course, that doesn't mean he doesn't deliver above average. My opinion is that a singer with more inner strength and expression would be better.

Really stand-out tracks on this release are, the opening track, "When the lights are down", "The Haunting" and "Moonlight". Melodies are unparalleled, showing great inspiration and musical prowess. Unfortunately, towards the ending of the album we get more generic tracks and less excitement. But this is a bit understandable for a release that doesn't finish on 30 minutes. The keyboard solo of the great keyboardist Jens Johanson on "Mephisto" (though, of course, well executed) is outplaced and doesn't really blend with the atmosphere of the song. Same goes with Sagrath's vocals. Though a clever idea to give a dark tone on the song, his approach is not to my liking. I would prefer something more guttural and not so epidermic.

In conclusion, "The Black Halo" holds moments of grandeur and splendor but also more generic ones. Though well intended and heavy enough, it is obvious that commerciality played a key role here. This is not bad by itself, by i feel that if they tried to be more diverse and innovative with the lyrical themes, judging by the treasury of words they possess, they could have gone much further. Musically, it is a natural sequel to the very succesful "Epica" and it's hard to decide between the two. If I was pressed too hard to decide, I would say that I clinge more on "Epica", based on Youngblood's brilliand guitar intermissions and better soloing. Still, "Black Halo" is top notch melodic power/artistic metal and recommended to the audience of the scene as well as to people who would like to listen to some melodic music with clean and well executed vocals.




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user ratings (985)
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
EvoHavok
April 19th 2014


7820 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think the fact that Roy is different from typical power metal singers is what makes the band so special and better appreciated.

I also don't agree with the commercial part you insisted on. Sure, it's accessible metal and has lyrics about love, but there are also songs such as 'Soul Society', 'Memento Mori', title track, which actually delve into subjects that not many power metal bands choose, and while not as deep as the original work, they still reflect the existential dilemmas of Faust/Ariel pretty well.

Good review, though, so pos!

Crawl
April 19th 2014


2683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Epica >



and yes, Roy Khan makes this band

TheRealVermicide9013
April 19th 2014


231 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

5 this or die, Roy khan makes Kamelot but the new singer is decent and the last ep of the band was enjoyable too

warlordfun
April 19th 2014


406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Very enjoyable record, but a bit inconsistent in my humble opinion. Great review, i believe this is your best one, so have a pos!

Digging: Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant

TheRealVermicide9013
April 19th 2014


231 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Karma, Epica and This are power metal classics, not even the less intense tracks make this album lovwer than 5

CalculatingInfinity
April 19th 2014


9231 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@warlordfun: Bang on, the middle section is boring as fuck.

Crawl
April 19th 2014


2683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love Fourth Legacy too

Toondude10
April 19th 2014


14235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Karma is their best, but this is a close second.

Toondude10
April 19th 2014


14235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^

TheRealVermicide9013
April 19th 2014


231 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Didn't thought you liked kamelot snide ? Still is a wonderful surprise tbh :D

KriegdemKriege
April 19th 2014


1544 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Bad album.

TheRealVermicide9013
April 19th 2014


231 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Classic album

Toondude10
April 19th 2014


14235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Classic album [2]

TPM731
April 20th 2014


240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's interesting to see a different perspective on this. Sure, It's nice to see people writing "5" reviews for this, but sometimes a differing opinion can be the most interesting to read.

Toondude10
April 20th 2014


14235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

True, but if it's completely against to what most of the people think then everyone goes apeshit

TPM731
April 20th 2014


240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

But the people who do are insufferable fuckwits, so it's best to just pretend they don't exist.

CalculatingInfinity
April 20th 2014


9231 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"It's interesting to see a different perspective on this. Sure, It's nice to see people writing "5" reviews for this, but sometimes a differing opinion can be the most interesting to read."



I would if I could write a review to save my life or had the desire to write one. Either way a 3-3.5 review on this, written by someone who can back it up would be nice.

Toondude10
April 20th 2014


14235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ah come on, you can do it.

CalculatingInfinity
April 20th 2014


9231 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Toondude: Too busy listening to Kamijo's Symphony of the Vampire constantly :P.

EvoHavok
April 20th 2014


7820 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

How is it compared to Versailles' self-titled?



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