Kamelot
The Shadow Theory


4.5
superb

Review

by Toondude USER (72 Reviews)
April 6th, 2018 | 50 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Call me a dreamer, call me a fool, but this is one of the best metal records of the year.

There's no doubt that Kamelot was a staple in the progressive/power metal community nearly fifteen years ago. Karma, Epica and The Black Halo were all considered by many as some of the best albums of the genre and have been continuously held in that high regard. However, in the year 2018, it seems that fans of Kamelot are split into two groups. One group supports the direction the band is going in alongside new vocalist Tommy Karevick. The other group mostly consists of older fans who are the opposite, complaining and criticizing their most recent material, nostalgic for the days back when Epica and The Black Halo was released and when Roy Khan was the vocalist. Regardless of your thoughts on the matter, it's become obvious that Kamelot are a much different band than they were all those years ago. If anything, it's highly doubtful that they will ever release another one of those albums ever again. For better or worse (but for this case, MUCH better), The Shadow Theory proves that very notion.

Many listeners are going to criticize that fact that the album sounds too familiar to their last two albums, Silverthorn and Haven. Admittedly enough, the lead singles, 'Phantom Divine' and 'RavenLight', are definitely going to be seen as your typical Kamelot tracks. The solos, synth work, and drumming, never really deliver any defining moments compared to most of the band's more notable songs. In terms of production, mixing, and pacing, this album doesn't entirely push the band away from their comfort zone. However, that doesn't mean they don't stretch their limits in some cases. Songs like 'Amnesiac' and 'Static' give a greater emphasis on Oliver Palotai's fantastic orchestral arrangements and keyboards, while much of Thomas Youngblood's guitar work on 'Kevlar Skin' and 'Mindfall Remedy' is heavier and darker, reminiscent to that of 'Revolution' from Haven. The melodies, harmonic guitar riffs and Sean Tibbetts bass work are bombastically catchy on 'Burns to Embrace' and 'Vespertine' while delicately yet efficiently seemed together with Palotai's symphonic touch to deliver a perfect balance between the two different styles. However, two of the biggest stars of the album are Karevik, and drummer Johan Nunez, the newest member of the band. Nunez is more than a capable replacement for Casey Grillo as his experiences with his previous groups, the carnivorously heavy Nightrage and the more thrash-based Firewind, help drive the energy throughout the entire album while also helping to deliver the heavier sections throughout the album. With Nunez on board, it's likely that Kamelot will be creating even more songs that are heavier, faster, and darker in the near future.

Tommy Karevik on the other hand is what makes this album what it is. Not only is this his best performance with Kamelot, it's his best performance, period. While certainly delivering a wonderful performance on throughout the entire album, it's on the slower tracks 'In Twilight Hours' and 'Stories Unheard' where he truly shines. (The former with help of Beyond the Black's Jennifer Haben). However, it's the track 'The Proud and The Broken' where all of the songwriting, performances, and arrangements come together in the best way possible. The engaging verses, beautiful chorus, and perfectly executed instrumentation all help create a wonderful track filled with everything that we've come to love from Kamelot, all with one of the best endings to any song that band has ever crafted. It's a song that will stand as one of the greatest achievements that will certainly be recognized as a crowning achievement for the band for years to come.

The Shadow Theory stands on its own as Kamelot's best album since The Black Halo at least. Everything from the instrumentation, Karevik's vocal performances and the orchestral elements have improved so well compared to the band's last few albums. It might not win over much of the band's detractors or anyone still too sore that Roy Khan left (look, Khan made an Easter song called "For All', that should satisfy your blue balls for a while), but as it stands it's nothing less than a fantastic edition to their large discography and one of the best metal records of the year. This is Kamelot on their A-game, and it's very unlikely that they will slow down.



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Xenorazr CONTRIBUTOR (3)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
April 6th 2018


13236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

inb4 Xenorazr drops his lies *cough*



cc is always welcome



I absolutely love this album, even after several listens and I don't think that opinion is going to change. Blow me.

Digging: Coheed and Cambria - Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures

Friday13th
April 6th 2018


6560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice, good to know it's not bad. I am definitely gonna take the detour to hear Khan's Easter song first though haha

Toondude10
April 6th 2018


13236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I mean, tbh I do get why some people won't like this. It does sound very similar to their last album in terms of the production, but other than that to me everything on this album is just better.

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2018


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

You can't kill the truth, Toondude!

Toondude10
April 6th 2018


13236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

LIES!!!!!!!

SoccerRiot
April 6th 2018


5350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It's another Kamelot album. What do you want from me?

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2018


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

WHISPER WHISPER IN THE DARK



TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE



POISONED BY YOUR FLY INFESTED POETRY

Toondude10
April 6th 2018


13236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

LIAR LIAR ON THE WALL

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2018


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

But in all seriousness, I think this is just a less interesting, less memorable version of Haven, which was solid, varied and a bit of a grower. This, however, hasn't left nearly as much of an impression.

Toondude10
April 6th 2018


13236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I honestly can't deny that they really don't push themselves outside they're comfort level throughout most of this (I do think Amnesiac and MindFall Remedy at least stretch it a wee bit) so if you can't see past that then I won't blame you.

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2018


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

And that's the main reason for my lack of enthusiasm. It's like having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (maybe toss some banana slices or blueberries in), it's fine for what it is, it serves it's purpose. But after a while you want the eggs, the sausage, and maybe even a cappuccino instead of the slightly oversweetened iced coffee.

Titan
April 6th 2018


19088 Comments


will give this a spin.....that tower of 3.0's.......uh oh

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2018


8839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Xeno’ truth is truth tho

Toondude10
April 6th 2018


13236 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

lolno

MarsKid
April 6th 2018


7189 Comments


You are a dreamer, you are a fool

Digging: Black Peaks - All That Divides

bloc
April 6th 2018


52151 Comments


Really looking forward to hearing this

Digging: Symphony X - Underworld

MarsKid
April 6th 2018


7189 Comments


That veritable Sauron's Tower of 3s is pretty imposing lol

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2018


8839 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It looks kinda cool to be honest

SoccerRiot
April 6th 2018


5350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

That's because this album is just... ok. Nothing more, nothing less, but also nothing special. It's an average power/symphonic metal album with only a few tracks that really stand out in a significant way

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2018


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I'd honestly argue that it has only one true highlight.



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