THE BAND: Roy Khan (vocals), Thomas Youngblood (guitars), Glenn Barry (bass), Oliver Palotai (keyboards), Casey Grillo (drums & percussion).
THE DISC: (2007) 12 tracks clocking in at approximately 48 minutes. Included with the disc is an 18-page booklet containing song titles/credits, song lyrics, band photos, and thank you’s. Recorded at Gate Studios (Wolfsberg, Germany). All songs written by Kamelot. * There is a limited edition package available – containing the music disc as well as a bonus DVD (which is short at about 10 minutes… containing the video of the title track, as well as the making of the video… each in the 4-5 minute range). Label – SPV/Steamhammer.
COMMENTS: If you’re a fan of Kamelot, as well as the power/symphonic/progressive genre, then without a doubt you’ll need to add “Ghost Opera” to your collection. Khan’s voice gets stronger as both he and the band mature. His ability to sing, his harmony and delivery of words, his emotion (both high and low) are truly a gift. Youngblood’s guitar (rhythm sections and solos) are quick when they need to be, crisp and befitting. Barry is steady on bass and Grillo is a master on the double bass drum kit… exciting, but not overly flashy. THE GOOD: From the beautiful one minute violin intro “Solitaire” to the brilliant final cut (“The Pendulous Fall”) there is no filler. “Ghost Opera” is an album you can listen to again and again without skipping tracks. Keyboardist Oliver Palotai is a nice addition. Kamelot has used keyboards on previous albums, but they’ve only been guest artists. Palotai’s contributions are welcomed. Quietly in the background and never overbearing… in my opinion, the way keyboards should be in most forms of metal. Musicianship is professional, tight, amazing. The orchestra is woven nicely into various songs. Dare I say Kamelot is becoming less focused on speed and crunchy riffs, as they at giving the listener a full musical journey of ups and downs. I keep asking myself – how will Kamelot out-perform their previous album… and they keep doing it. I loved “The Black Halo” (2005) and thought it perhaps their finest in their catalog… until now. Khan’s vocals soar once again. Sound production is once again stellar (crisp highs and thundering bass lines). Favorite songs include the mid-tempo “Rule The World”; the exciting title track of a dream gone bad with the opera as a backdrop; the chugging “Human Stain” featuring some great rhythm guitar, a very emotional Khan, and the piano sliding in at the right times; and perhaps the best power ballad on the album (featuring guest singer Amanda Sommerville sharing the vocals with Khan). THE NOT SO GOOD: The melodies are top notch… and taking anything away from the music would be criminal. A minor flaw with the album is the print in the liner notes… the song lyrics are printed in extremely small script over illustrations – making them tough to read. My eye-sight is 20/20 and I have to squint to make out all the words. The only other small detail I could think of is the shortness of the disc (recent albums ranging from 52-60 minutes in length) and the absence of an ‘epic’ song over 8 minutes. Not since 1999 (“The Fourth Legacy”) has the longest song been in the 5 minute range… “Love You To Death” is the longest track on the disc here clocking in at 5:13 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a “Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner” epic, but I think it would break that commercial prototype feel to this album as a whole. OVERALL: Brilliant album. Incredible melodies. Flawless musicianship. Distinct vocals once again are the trademark of Kamelot. My pick for ‘07 power metal album of the year (5 stars).