Kamelot
Silverthorn: Limited Edition


4.5
superb

Review

by JDubb USER (6 Reviews)
May 22nd, 2020 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tragic Repercussions Stemming from the Death of Young Jolee

From 2006 to 2009, I lived in Richmond, VA. I would take frequent trips from my Apartment in Shockoe Bottom to Carytown to visit the famed Plan 9 music. In addition to a great selection of new and used CDs (and used music VHS), they had an incredibly rich dollar bin. One day, around 2008, I came across Black Halo in the dollar bin and bought it on a whim. Hadn't listened to Kamelot before, but thought “why not?”. Looking back, what a buy – it opened me up to Kamelot albums prior, as well as after.

In 2012; I, like most, was concerned when news reached me of Roy Khan leaving the band. It didn't seem that he was a vocalist that could be replaced. Surprise, Surprise – in comes Tommy Karevik with an incredible voice (as well) and a concept album, Silverthorn. To me it was a seamless transition – Kamelot didn't miss a beat. In actuality, it may have been a step up from Ghost Opera and Poetry for the Poisoned, which although good, were also “same-same”.

I ended up purchasing the box set limited edition, including an additional vocal track and instrumental tracks, but most importantly a booklet telling the storyline of the album. My review below is less on the music itself, which is Kamelot at their finest (along with excellent guest vocalists), and more on the concept of the album – as told in the booklet as well as the lyrics. The concept is as follows.

The protagonist is a privileged young boy in Cotswalds, England, with a twin brother (Robert) and a younger sister (Jolee). Their mother is an “accomplished cellist” and their father is “well-respected”. On a fateful day, the boys are flying a “colorful kite made of china silk” near the banks of the Bittenham river. Young Jolee, upon much begging, is finally allowed to fly the kite – inadvertently being led towards the river by an approaching storm. She closes her eyes, as foolheartedly directed by her brothers, and follows the pull of the kite. Falling into the river, she becomes entangled with the kite, is swept down the “rushing river”, and is inferred to drown. As her body was never found, “no closure is offered to the family through actually seeing your loved one in that inanimate state”.

As described in the track “Ashes to Ashes”, Jolee's death becomes “a crack in the mirror” as the family is “ravished from our paradise”. The protagonist, as sung in “Song for Jolee”, “can't stop the bleeding” and “crying” for Jolee, “a princess captured in a wooden frame”. The protagonist laments – “I'd trade eternity for one last look at you”. The track “My Confession” also displays this lament.

Over the following years, the mother and father become estranged. The mother hiding within “her own fortress of sound”, a small chapel, and periodically playing a sad and mournful single song on the cello. And the father becoming more violent (“causing pain”) towards the stubborn brother Robert. The twins make a pact to never speak of their direction to Jolee, to close her eyes while flying the kite, and carve “Veritas” (truth) onto their chests. I imagine that the track “Manus Dei” sums up this time - “Heal this broken melody 'cause each day I die in hell”. The funeral, the twin's shame/burden, and their fractured remaining childhood is reflected in the track “Prodigal Son”.

Death begins to stalk the family, with the mother serving as the cellist at the funerals. Robert ultimately runs away to escape the beatings from his father. It may be surmised that Robert is responsible for some if not all of these deaths, as in the track “Veritas”, Robert believes that “death is the answer to life”. The mother and father are the next to pass, along with various other family members. At each funeral, the protagonist hears his mother's mournful song on the cello, races to the back of the church, and never finds the cellist – only horse hair and a white rose in the seat.

The protagonist moves on, falling in love with Aurora – a beautiful and intelligent woman. “Her smile was a beacon which drew you in to safety and made you feel like you mattered in the world”. Shortly following marriage, the protagonist receives word that an Aunt has passed. While at the funeral, he hears the same cello melody that his mother played and, upon rushing to the back of the church, finds no one but a white rose in the chair and horse hairs. Later, he visits a family friend (Alphaeus) at the small chapel his mother built for solitude, returns, and finds that Robert has killed Aurora with the cello bow “Silverthorn”. The track “Silverthorn” appears to describe Aurora's murder through Robert's eyes - “A deadly serenade in the moonlight, the bringer of pain”. But may also, in the end, reflect the protagonist's sadness over Aurora's death - “Life is a flower, fading away, we are not destined to stay”, “Love is forever, the spirit is free, time is a borrowed gift for you and me”, and “everything comes to an end”.

Robert assumes the protagonist's identity, sending the protagonist to jail for 10 years for the death of Aurora. While in jail, he carves onto the wall. The track “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)” likely falls here with the line - “A passing life each day, a carving on the wall, it's like a night without awakening”. He is visited by an angel (“Angel of afterlife”) with a raven on her shoulder – who “sings me songs and soothes me to sleep” - “calming me down, Chaos inside my nebula”. The protagonist suffers, as he asks the Angel to “erase my memory” - “Don't want to hear, don't want to see, don't want to think about the lie that follows me.” His desire to be with the Angel, presumed to be the soul of Jolee, is reflected in the track “Solitaire”, where he asks “please shine oh night, my dear, embrace me, it's time again”.

The protagonist's testimony is finally heard. Due to the testimony of Alphaeus, the protagonist is released from jail and Robert (“living quite highly in my stead”) is seized, tried, and convicted.

The protagonist finds himself playing cello with the Angel. And ultimately sitting on a bench in a London park, when he hears someone humming his mother's distinctive cello tune. The story ends (as does my review).



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user ratings (11)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2020


12500 Comments


I came across Black Halo in the dollar bin


The Black Halo*

Also, that statement is a travesty in itself. The Black Halo isn't (newer) The Fantastic Four.

JDubb
May 23rd 2020


509 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good catch on "The Black Halo" - my bad. Nocte, I could not even begin to describe the multitude of great albums that I have unearthed in various dollar bins, bargain bins, and the like across multiple used CD stores, various U.S. States, and 25+ years of "digging in the crates". And that doesn't even include flea markets also across various US States. Sometimes I feel anger and sadness that someone wantonly discarded of these albums and that they have made their way there, but that does not mean that I value them any less. Great example: recently found Opeth - Ghost Reveries for less than $1 at MacKays in TN. Does that make this landmark album any less of an album - not to me. Very simply, "one man's trash is another man's treasure".

hxciluvatarhxc
May 23rd 2020


448 Comments


I def saw The Black Halo be heavily discounted across multiple mall FYEs back in the day. Only so many metalheads knew who they were.


just to clear it up, are the extra tracks worth tracking down? this is probably only my 4th favorite kamelot record so I dont know if I care enough to get deep into the accompanying booklet but id be interested if those alternate takes were good

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2020


12500 Comments


are the extra tracks worth tracking down?


My Opinion: They're less essential than the standard cut of this album. It's dependant on your level of fandom I guess. If you're invested in a career long appraisal of the band it's a good idea. If you pick and choose your albums then probably less so.

hxciluvatarhxc
May 23rd 2020


448 Comments


hmmm, I am a pretty big fan of the band but if they amount to interesting curiosities as that makes it sound eh.


Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2020


12500 Comments


I think I've only listened to this version maybe 1 or 2 times. Typically I'd listen to the original or gravitate back to The Black Halo. Just me.

Based on the two comments you've dropped above I guess you need this version about 65-70%

JDubb
May 23rd 2020


509 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

To be more specific, the Box Set Limited Edition comes with two CDs (the original and a bonus CD), two booklets, and a poster of the band. Both booklet covers depict the dark-haired, beautiful Jolee with ravens, similar to the cover of the box set. One booklet contains the original CD, along with transcribed lyrics, band photos, miscellaneous gothic images, and band thanks. The second booklet provides the Story of Silverthorn (26 written pages long), along with additional pages of photos of the band and guest musicians. In addition to instrumentals, which serve as an interesting listen or two, the bonus CD contains two songs not on the original CD: an instrumental named Kismet; and the vocal song Grace. Kismet is 1:42 long and primarily consists of strings with some middle eastern stylings, with a mounting crescendo towards the end. Grace is 3:24 long, contains a programmed drum undertone and a more mainstream chorus than your typical Kamelot song, and is a decent (but not essential) addition to Kamelot's portfolio.

botb
May 23rd 2020


13838 Comments


plan 9 is the spot!

Dreamflight
May 23rd 2020


1769 Comments


"How to misuse an amazing singer part 1 of 3" by Thomas Youngblood.



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