Kamelot
Haven


4.0
excellent

Review

by theChickenCow USER (3 Reviews)
May 8th, 2015 | 4 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Can a bombastic dystopia encompass a melodic silver lining?

Haven is Kamelot's second studio album with the Swede Tommy Karevik on vocals and it is certainly a much more realized attempt than its predecessor, Silverthorn. The latter being an album that, while enjoyable throughout, won't eventually age well considering its too safe approach, stagnant sound and predictable progression. Haven, on the other hand, is a much more ambitious and at the same time straightforward and honest effort. The album's concept features an attempt to escape a dystopian and maddening society. While the mainstream media clich├ęs around this worn-out setting are still there, the underlying message from start to finish is, as the band themselves explained, an attempt to simultaneously blend frustration and optimism. The album fully succeeds in that regard. The ability to deliver on this emotional premise is the strongest point in favor of Kamelot's 11th offering.

In order to explain that, we have to delve into some less literary, and more technical-oriented matters. The first thing that stands out, compared to previous albums, is Karevik's vocal delivery. It's finally evident that he is a wunderkind concerning melodic awareness and lyrical reciting. Who could be a better fit for a band that made a name based on their theatrical approach to power metal? The vocal intricacies Karevik employs add a much needed layer of obscurity into the band's otherwise predictable and "safe" sound. The bare-bone song structures remain the same and Grillo's drumming is yet again full of energy albeit standard for a power metal act. Same goes for Tibbetts' bass playing. The much needed diversity comes from the artistic choices concerning the melodic parts. The delivery once again is not as standard as it might seem at first glance and most songs feature nice twists and turns even among their own choruses. Youngblood and Palotai (even though their instrumental solos sometimes feel forced) manage to complement Karevik in an interesting melodic delivery that ultimately manages to capture the essence of the album's concept.

The mixture of aggressiveness and theatricality is carried out superbly throughout most songs. This doesn't mean that the band never slips into cheesy and cringe-worthy crevices (always given the genre's already wide merits). Songs like the atrocious "End of Innocence" and the lead single "Veil of Elysium" prove to be a good measure against highlights such as the electrifying single "Insomnia", the symphonic power ballad "Under Grey Skies" or the rhythmically catchy "My Therapy". The other musical themes further enhance the concept of the album. The song "Beautiful Apocalypse" with its industrial touches or the aggressive pieces "Liar, Liar" and "Revolution" with the harsh vocals provided by Alissa White-Gluz.

An important factor concerning Kamelot are their lyrics. Unfortunately, the overall impression, carried onto Haven by Silverthorn, is that the band tries hard to imitate Khan's mastery of the subject. Thankfully, Karevik's delivery manages to conceal once again another weak point of the album. This, however, does not mean that there are not steps taken in the right direction. The pseudo-intellectual and "serious" word choices and lyrical themes (like in "Veil of Elysium") are once again challenged by an antithesis featuring natural-flowing lyrical passages fit for Kamelot's sound, such as the chorus from "Citizen Zero", which somehow reminds us of the Khan era lyrical compositions:

When the hounds are out
Feeding me a lie
When the hounds are out
My sickness is released
When the cards are down
For all the world to see
When the cards are down
And the strings are cut
These mannequins will sleep



user ratings (274)
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Xenorazr (3.5)
    Haven sees Kamelot continue their walk on the right path after previous stumbles, but they...

    PsychicChris (3.5)
    Haven is an album that feels comfortable enough but the less ambitious songwriting does ma...

    crashandridemusic (3.5)
    Kamelot succeeds with Karevik at the helm for the second time....

    cardonaj (4)
    Kamelot bounce back in a mighty way to overcome their previous album and create an album f...

  • ExplosiveOranges (4)
    Somewhere in time, I will find you and haunt you again.......



Comments:Add a Comment 
Ebola
May 7th 2015


4531 Comments


Great review, pos. Never been a huge Kamelot fan but need to give this a try eventually.

Piripichotes
May 8th 2015


797 Comments


Pos'd.
I have mixed feelings about this album... It has 4-5 great tracks, the rest sounds so uninspired and there are plenty of fillers here, not to mention the length, considering they have 2 short instrumental tracks that could've been left out easily... This is a 3.8/5
No replay value though...

theChickenCow
May 8th 2015


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@Piripichotes

You raise some valid points. The album can be rated anywhere between 3.5-4 imo. I chose the highest point in the spectrum simply because after many listens it still feels fresh and it's certainly a step into the right direction. It's a contrast with albums like Silverthorn and Ghost Opera, which were quite constrained and limited in scope. I think Haven has a lot more replay value and it certainly feels cohesive/straightforward enough to listen effortlessly from start to finish (a couple of filler tracks make this slightly inconvenient though).



Acanthus
May 9th 2015


9812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The mixture of aggressiveness and theatricality is carried out superbly throughout most songs.



Disagree on the aggressiveness, it really is lacking throughout large parts of the album.



On one hand I like certain songs and they stick in my head, but on the other there's just so many that don't. Still unsure of where this will fall rating wise, it's good but hasn't clicked fully.



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