This was Kamelot's third album with singer, Khan and follows the upward trajectory plotted by their previous efforts with him: 'Siege Perilous' and 'The Fourth Legacy'. I believe that this, along with 'The Fourth Legacy' and espcially 'Epica' represent Kamelot's finest hour, though judging by the ratings I have seen most believe it to be 'Tha Black Halo'.
1. Regalis Apertura (1:57) - A pretty standard Kamelot opener: a short, classical piece with an eastern feel to it. It sets up the album nicely and leads into...
2. Forever (4:07) - ...with a superb guitar melody and thumping double-bass drumming. Khan shows on this track why he is one of the best vocalists around, starting off lowish in the verse, then going into some soaring high vibrato, before supplementing his own singing by doing the backing vocals for the 2nd and 3rd choruses. An excellent speedy opener with a good solo from Youngblood 10/10
3. Wings of Despair (4:32) - The song opens with a bit of proggy guitar and jingly baroquish keyboards. This song, like so many on this album, possesses a very melodic and catchy chorus which you will be humming for a long time. There is a bit of a breakdown in the middle but then it launches back into the main part of the song with a blistering guitar solo 9/10
4. The Spell (4:20) –The worst song on the album in my opinion (though that I give the worst song a 7/10 is testament to the strength of ‘Karma’). To be honest I’m not all that keen on the weird sounds present in the intro, the girly ooos in the background of the chorus and it’s pace is a bit slower than the rest of the album. However, looking on the Kamelot website many voted it as their favourite from Karma and it is a live favourite so make up your own minds.
5. Don’t You Cry (4:18) – Time for a good old classical guitar-sounding ballad from Kamelot. Khan shows a very tender side to his singing and I believe the song is about the guitarist, Thomas Youngblood, losing his father. Although no-one can deny this is a good song, I prefer Kamelot’s other acoustic efforts such as ‘On The Coldest Winter Night’ and the superb ‘Glory’ from ‘Epica’ and ‘The Fourth Legacy’ respectively. 8/10
6. Karma (5:12) – Aaaahhh…the title track. When I first heard this I was not at all keen on it because the intro sounded a bit like dance music to me with its weird keyboard synths that they have going one there. However I have grown to love it and it is now my second favourite of the album. The song also has a proggy verse/power metal chorus combo which works very well, and the chorus is driven by Grillo’s furious drumming and Youngblood’s quick palm-muted picking. The song slows down in the middle before building up for a solo and then final chorus. A superb song 10/10
7. The Light I shine On You (4:15) – Not one of my favourites as I find it a bit slow and although the band has produced another great chorus and solo, I feel that this song is just lacking somewhere… 7/10
8. Temples Of Gold (4:11) This is a beautiful ballad from Kamelot, though not all acoustic. Khan’s tender singing, combined with the laid-back bass, gentle acoustic accompaniment and dream-like sitar (I think) combine to create and exceptional verse. The chorus takes it a up a notch with the introduction of a distorted guitar palm-muted in parts, however it is not played aggressively and in fact compliments the song superbly. 10/10
9. Across The Highlands (3:46) – Present throughout this track, as the title suggests is a Celtic theme seen in the main guitar melody and solo. The song is driven by Grillo’s pounding drums and the use of the baroque-sounding keyboard is a good touch. Again, another soaring chorus 8/10
10. Elizabeth I: Mirror Mirror (4:22) – This a slower track, opening with what sounds like a xylophone. Much of the song is soft guitar- and piano-driven and accompanies Khan’s high ‘aaahhh’ing. But the song really takes off with about a minute and a half to go with some crashing power chords, drum rolls and then the outro solo.
11. Elizabeth II: Requiem For The Innocent (3:46) – The is perhaps the most proggy song of the album shown by Thomas Youngblood’s opening guitar. The rhythm guitar coming in at 1:07 is excellent with its palm-muting and quick picking and is just one of the many examples throughout the album of Youngblood’s great playing. Also of note on this track is the ethereal backing vocals from a lady…very spooky. The song fades out on a piano and into the final track…
12. Elizabeth III: Fall From Frace (4:15) – The intro is just so full of energy: the drums are pounding, the bass is rumbling and the guitar melody and rhythm are, once again, otherworldly. The main part of the song may only be short at about 3:00 but it sure does pack a punch and is helped by Khan having slightly more aggression in his voice during the verses. The chorus is also outstanding: Youngblood shows us more of that tremolo palm-muted picking and is one of the few occasions where Glenn Barry’s bass makes a fleeting appears. The song then fades out with some bass and wood blocks or something. A big fat 10/10
I think this is Kamelot at their most melodic and at their most power metally: it is full of catchy melodies and soaring vocals and is therefore one of their best albums in my opinion. Although I would have like to hear a bit more of Glenn Barry’s bass, I can hardly complain too much at such a brilliant album! However, if you are more into progressive metal and perhaps find catchy things shallow, I would say that this is perhaps not as much to your liking as ‘The Black Halo’ for example. If you are a fan of power metal though then you must add this to your collection now!