Posted on December 27, 2009 -
Known for the Progressive and Epic elements they intertwine flawlessly with buzz saw guitar riffs and pummeling double drum work. Kamelot are an Epic Metal lovers wet dream. Each release surpassing the previous in talent, originality and production wise. Fans most notably admire Kamelot’s vocalist Roy S. Khan for his melodic ‘clean’ vocals and dark yet meaningful lyrics. The band as a whole is shown in top form on Ghost Opera, Guitarist Thomas Youngblood showing the most obvious improvement talent wise releasing some amazing solo work on a number of tracks. Unlike the previous album ‘The Black Halo’ bassist Glenn Barry’s low end tone is far better showcased and stands out above all the other instruments at numerous occasions most notably on the gritty track “The Human Stain”. Skin man Casey Grillo puts down some of his best drumming to date and some immensely impressive symbol work, Not to mention the return of his head bang worthy double bass stylus. Now onto the album review, A play by play of each song and my opinion on each track.
KEY: Song Title – Track Length – My Rating – My Review
Solitaire – 1:00 – 5 out of 5 – I know it’s just an Intro but it truly gives you a feeling of the melody you the listener is about to experience, That and it fits so well into the following track. The intro is a mesmerizing one minute of beautiful violin and synth work.
Rule The World – 3:40 – 5 out of 5 – The first actual song on the album starts out with a low mix of ripping guitar riffs and a pummeling drum beat that slowly speeds up as the song opens. A haunting inclusion of instrumental work by the orchestra picks up and Khan belts out those soft melodic vocals he’s known for. This has easily become one of my favorite tracks on the album due to the catchy guitar and drum work and at around 2:30 into the track comes a short guitar solo with some intense drum work by Grillo.
Ghost Opera – 4:06 – 5 out of 5 – The first single and Music Video off of Ghost opera is of course the title track. The pace quickens and the mixture of eerie guitar work and pummeling double bass sets the stage for this popular track. The chorus to Ghost opera is by far one of the best on the album, Especially with the inclusion of some beautiful female vocals in the background. This is a song one can come to love very quickly as it’s catchy but at the same time holds true to the standard Kamelot epicness.
The Human Stain – 4:01 – 5 out of 5 – This song starts out with gritty bass and soft eerie guitars which stop suddenly emitting soft piano and Khan belting out some of the most meaningful lyrics on the album. The chorus is very catchy the drums having more of an anthematic hard rock sound rather than the pummeling double bass we are all used to. Also I enjoy the loud over powering bass in this song, It gives the track a very deep feel and its nice to have the bass stand out over the guitars from time to time. An all around excellent track with a very guitar work toward the later part of the track.
Blücher – 4:03 – 5 out of 5 – This song is odd for Kamelot, not that it’s bad it just has more of a Modern or Futuristic feel to it. Even Khan adds to the futuristic feel with synthesized vocals in the pre chorus. This song also includes female vocals in the chorus and has a very melodic feel to it, Very moving vocals and drums able to nod your head to make this track a keeper but the stand out point is at 2:50 with one of the best guitar solos yet followed by an odd array of echoed voices and those synthesized vocals. Very original for a band that basically has there entire career around being original.
Love you to Death – 5:13 – 6 out of 5 – Easily the most gentle track on the album, It is a beautiful ballad which also serves as a duet between Khan and a female counter weight. The lyrics on Love you to Death are extremely meaningful and instantly made me think of my girlfriend.. I ponder if they meant this song to make us think of our loved ones well it worked and whats better, the longest guitar solo yet is heard on this track, By far some of my favorite guitar work on the album by the way. An all around amazing track and an instant classic for Kamelot.
Up Through The Ashes – 4:59 – 5 out of 5 – This song has a very epic entrance and soon buzz saw riffing and some very nice drum work take the stage. The song starts out with a mild tempo but the tempo rises as the chorus gets closer and closer and eventually the double bass returns along with some very cool echoed vocals. This song is just a solid Kamelot track, Excellent guitar work and catchy chorus’ they are known for.
Mourning Star – 4:37 – 5 out of 5 – The song starts out quietly with the echoed chanting of a male choir vocalizing and an almost water drop like sound effect before pummeling double bass and epic arrangement by the orchestra take the stage. Khan’s vocals come in synthesized out, audible but synthesized until the chorus kicks and he is joined by the female vocalist for a soft chorus. This song features some very cool sound effects and the synth work with khan adds a lot to the track making it seem a bit more epic. At around 2:50 Khan starts screaming in an eerie ghostly way thats echo’d out. (the ghostly lyrics remind me of the little girl from Poltergeist when she’s stuck in the t.v.)
Silence Of The Darkness – 3:43 – 4 out of 5 – This is the sole track that I was even a little skeptical about, It is kind of repetitive and bland to me compared to the rest of the album. This is not a bad song, Just sounds like something off The Black Halo rather than something new which is the feel I get from the rest of the album. You may enjoy this track more than i but I’ll give it it’s dues towards the end of the track is easily some of the best guitar soloing on the album.
Anthem – 4:24 – 5 out of 5 – The second ballad on the album, Khan comes out in full form for easily the most touching lyrics on the album. The inclusion of piano in this track truly makes it stand out but just as you think it can’t get better the Orchestral section kicks in giving the track more depth then half way into the song the music dies out and comes back with a vengeance the Orchestral section releasing the most stunning sounds like something off a movie soundtrack and deep drums rumble as Khan belts out the final lyrics to the Anthem of life.
EdenEcho – 4:13 – 5 out of 5 – The pianos return with a deep meaningful barrage of sound and the double bass kicks in as the final track takes place. EdenEcho is a solid track filled with epic arrangements by orchestral means and also the pummeling drumming and head bang worthy riffing to end out the album on a good note with an intense display of guitar riffage at its best.
All in all Ghost Opera is a masterpiece among the barrage of common metal that has been flooding the market as of late. Fans of Kamelot do not worry, Though it may be different from The Black Halo the guys still keep to there epic/progressive roots. If you are a fan of Epic or Symphonic Metal and rock then this will please you, Fans of Power Metal will most likely like this but it may be a bit timid for fans of the more extreme side of the Metal Verse. Regardless this album has my vote for Metal Album of the Year for 2007 thus far! Please let me know if my review was helpful by clicking Yes, If nothing else I kept your interest for a few moments. Also check out my review of The Black Halo.
Thanks for reading,
-A loyal Kamelot fan.