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Album Review: KAMELOT - The Awakening

Review by Claire Williams

When asked to review Kamalot’s new Album ‘The Awakening’, I could not say yes fast enough. I have been a fan of Kamelot since around 2003 back in the Myspace era, ending up down a Symphonic Metal Rabbit hole, finding some phenomenal artists and quickly I became hooked.

Kamelot was the inspiration for a lot of my writing back then. To say their music induces a passionate and creative drive in me,would not begin to describe what I feel when I listen to their old and newer tracks. They have always been consistent with quality over the years and never failed to grip me with their film soundtrack worthy creations.

Kamelot are one of the most prestigious bands on the Symphonic metal scene,formed by Thomas Youngblood in 1987. In 1997 Norwegian singer Roy Khan (Now progressive metal band Conception) took the role of lead until 2011. Shortly after, Youngblood announced their new Vocalist, Swedish singer Tommy Karevik. Kamalot have kept the same energy and high quality sound throughout, working with Highly acclaimed artists such as Simone Simmons from Epica and Gus G of Firewind.

Their highly anticipated 13th Studio Album ‘The Awakening’ has just been released on18th March 2023, and shows the creative genius we all know and love from Kamelot, raising the bar far beyond anything they have released before.

Their last Studio Album ,’Shadow Theory’, was released back in 2018, and I can hand on heart say that their newest release was well worth the wait.

Featuring the haunting vocals of Melissa Bonny, (Ad Infinitum) and Simone Simmons (Epica) as well as Intoxicating Strings from Grammy Nominated cellist Tina Guo and Renowned Violinist Florian Janoske, “The Awakening" stays true to the aural foundations fans have embraced for decades.

The album begins with their intro ‘Overture’. The track gives a truly gargantuan feeling of darkness and passion. This really is an energetic and dramatic start that really fits to the trademark we see some of Kamalots past tracks such as:‘Ghost Opera’(Ghost Opera:The Second Coming 2007) And ‘Lost & Damned’ (Epica 2003)

‘The Great Divide’ follows with another mesmerising opening with the vocals From Tommy Karevik that really pull you in, with a fluidity between the transcendent tone of Thomas Youngblood on guitar.

“Like an everlasting storm

You will be my paramour

Cause beyond the great divide

Where the days and dreams collide

From the Ashendust reborn

We will rise again forevermore”

‘Eventide’ is one of those songs with a chorus that just sticks in your head. A faster pace that really grips at the right point in the album. Drums from Alex Landenburg truly stand out here,tying in nicely with Sean Tibbetts on bass, and the ambient tones of Oliver Palotai on keys making the track lyrically poetic and musically devine.

‘One More Flag in the Ground’ marches you into a battleground of emotions. It has more simplistic lyrics, however this does not take away from the quality of the track., hosting a skillful mix of Symphonic and Gothic Metal that blends beautifully. I am captivated by the eerie sound that seems to weave in and around Tommys powerful vocal and leads perfectly into the next track ‘Opus of the Night (Ghost Requiem)’ continuing with the talented melancholy tone of Tina Guo on Cello. It feels like a crescendo preparing you for the emotional ballad to follow.

Midsummer’s Eve’ is heartfelt and magical, really showing off the range of Tommy’s Vocal. The hypnotising Violin from Florian Janoske completes the feel of this track.

“Still unkissed Maiden of mist don´t let your soul go to waste”

Picking up the tempo with ‘Bloodmoon’, you can feel the sadness in every word. A young boy wants to earn his fathers love. You can hear the pain and emotion as Tommy delivers every line with passion and theatrical depth.

‘Nightsky’ to me tells a story of strength, taking a breath and starting again, as darkness falls, it is not the end, you can get through it and light will inevitably follow. Oliver’s symphonic skills bring a kind of bright and uplifting energy, like everything is going to be ok. A real feel good track.

Bringing us back to the 80’s with ‘The Looking Glass’. It's giving Power Metal, mixed with Symphonic and a hint of progressive Rock. How they can blend so many genres seamlessly is beyond me, but they do and it sounds great with their epic guitar solos and strong keys. Vocally, Tommy, I have no words! Not a flat note in sight.

Time to change up the style somewhat and bring in the doom metamixed with Symphonic Metal,‘New Babylon’ that brings back the phenomenal vocals of Simone Simmons and Melissa Bonny, really setting my fan girl into overdrive as it was through Kamelot I discovered my love of Epica.

So much talent in one track.

From Classical Operatic vocals to Guttural screams, a pleasurable cacophony of sound, this really stimulates my brain. I think It's my new favourite.

Willow’ starts with angelic synth and a soft melody. A perfect backing for the calming tone Tommy delivers soothing my brain somewhat after the excitement of New Babylon. We also get a powerful chorus to set off the relaxed verse. It really works well. Absolutely beautiful.

Continuing with the calm lul of Willow we come to ‘My Pantheon (Forevermore)’. Don't let the soft dynamic of this track fool you, just as you start to drift off to that relaxing field of music, we are hit with an apex of sound when the track really kicks in. Powerful screams and epic soulful vocals, I'm quite sure I heard a little of Simone in there too. Sadly that brings us to the final track on this epic journey of an album.

Now what theatrical masterpiece is complete without a dramatic outro!? ‘Ephemera’. A perfect end to an album that flows like a movie or play, telling a story with music. I can see the thought that has gone into each track and the placement on the album that ensures fluidity and consistency, from high energy to calm serenity.

Each song in my mind could easily be open to interpretation by each individual listener, resonating with us all in different ways. I think this makes the Album more unique and you get a true impression of the visionary genius behind its creation. It takes me back to a time in my life when creativity began and I started on my road to be a Writer and Musician. Artists like Kamelot, and Epica awoke something in me that I can't quite put into words. I really hope they continue for many more years to come. I highly recommend you listen to ‘The Awakening’. I hope it evokes the same muse in all of you as it has in me.

A Pleasure to review.

Watch 'Eventide' here:

Still to come on the Awaken the World Tour Europe - Part 1: w/ special guests Myrath, Eleine, League of Distortion Mar 22, 2023 - Roskilde, DK / Gimle Mar 24, 2023 - Oslo, NO / Sentrum Scene Mar 25, 2023 - Gothenburg, SE / Trädgårn Mar 26, 2023 - Stockholm, SE / Berns Mar 29, 2023 - Helsinki, FI / Vanha Ylioppilastalo Mar 31, 2023 - Tampere, FI / Pakkahuone Apr 1, 2023 - Oulu, FI / Tapahtumakeskus Tullisali Apr 3, 2023 - Tallinn, EE / Helitehas Apr 4, 2023 - Rīga, LV / Melnā Piektdiena Apr 6, 2023 - Warsaw, PL / Progresja Apr 7, 2023 - Prague, CZ / Meet Factory Apr 8, 2023 - Budapest, HU / Barba Negra

KAMELOT are: Tommy Karevik – Vocals Thomas Youngblood – Guitars Oliver Palotai – Keyboards Sean Tibbetts – Bass Alex Landenburg – Drums

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23 jun 2023
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22 mar 2023

I couldn't agree more with your review, and you got me want to finish writing mine 😁. I like what you wrote at the end, that each song was open to every listener's interpretation... The return of Simone Simmons on Kamelot's album provoked a happy dance, and all the guests were yet again top notch. Thanks for that review so full of enthusiasm 😊 /Claire

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21 mar 2023
Obtuvo 5 de 5 estrellas.

Very well written and useful review

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