Let’s just say it’s a darn good thing the band got Sasha Paeth in for production duties.Siege Perilous is the third album from symphonic metal outfit Kamelot. More notably, it is their first release with ex-Conception vocalist Roy Khan, who possesses one of the most unique and powerful voices I’ve heard, and his also has remarkable songwriting abilities. So how does a band show off their immensely talented new member? Certainly not with a sloppy, muddy production that leaves Khan’s mighty voice dragging behind the instruments. Siege Perilous is one of the most poorly produced metal albums I’ve ever heard, with puny buzzing riffs and inconspicuous vocal presence. Casey Grillo sounds like he’s asleep behind the drum kit, which is pretty shocking considering his awe-inspiring performances on later releases. Song structures lack the inventiveness and powerful symphonic elements in the band’s latest releases. It’s not a total loss… since there’s some solid songwriting here (mainly “Expedition,” “Rhydin,” “Parting Visions,” and “Millennium”), the band has some good stuff to throw at their audiences in live shows when they can really ROCK. (The band’s 2000 live album, The Expedition, features awesome cuts for “Expedition” and “Millennium.”) Perhaps the most noteworthy song is the instrumental “Siege,” which is probably the only song not crippled by the terrible recording. With Youngblood playing classically inspired passages on guitar and a surprise acoustic solo from ex-Conception guitarist Tore Ostby, it’s nearly the best song on the record.If you admire Kamelot like I do, you may want Siege Perilous just to complete the collection. Otherwise, think twice…or thrice.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
At least to me it’s the best. This was the first album that got me into Kamelot. With an intoxicating melody of flute, keys, and a sultry voice from Roy Khan, this band should be awarded Grammy’s upon Grammy’s for their unique style and sound. Khan really shines on this one where as in the other Kamelot albums, he’s pretty much head to head with the rest of the band. The production is excellent. Thomas’s guitar-playing is one of a kind, and when you mix that with who is possibly the best pure singer out there right now, you have a winning combination. From the title track ‘Providence’ to what I think is the best and most meaningful track, ‘Where I Reign’, there is no let-down. Others might think it lacks life and spark, but if you look at it from the prospective of watching a well acted play, or a well sung opera, you’ll have no problem enjoying Siege Perilous.
Now, if you’re used to Kamelot’s latest release (4th Legacy) don’t go rushing into things with this purchase. Siege Perilous is a heavier and more simplistic example of the band’s obvious talent. The guitar and drums tend to walk the path of ‘classic heavy metal’ala Blind Guardian, and the production volume on the vocals is a bit softer than it should have been. The other instruments tend to drown Khan (the vocalist) out a lot of the time. I got used to this after a while though, and it is barely noticeable now. In between these heavier parts, are some really creative sections with choruses that are just a notch below those on 4th Legacy in terms of overall goodness. This is one of those albums that might take a couple of listens to really get into, but once you do, it’s a non-stop rock ride! If you’re serious about getting into this band, then there is no doubt that you will enjoy this album to the fullest. However, if you’re expecting an album a lot like 4th legacy, think twice. I’m not saying the two are extremely different, it’s just that Siege is a little less…refined… Even so, I can not stand to give this CD less than 5 stars.
I finally got this and, if you people think this is bad/sloppy production well…all I can really say is, you’ve never been exposed to REAL bad production. Yes, this isn’t anywhere near the best and certainly not up to the standards of the recent Kamelot releases, but no one in their right minds should ever call this “lacking” or “terrible” compared to many, many other CDs that are out there!!!
You really want to hear terrible production? Listen to the original release of Sabbath’s “Born Again” (which I otherwise love simply because I love Gillan), or the original CD release of any of the first 4 ZZ Top albums, or, more recently, the godawful Riot CD “Brethren of the Long house”, another recent purchase that is SO bad it even degrades the music. It has NO high end at all, almost thought my tweeter fuses were blown!!! THAT is bad production, this is NOT!! And, given time I could probably make a list of HUNDREDS of CDs that sound worse than this!!
As for the music, I like it!! Almost up there with “The Black Halo” and “Ghost Opera” and, in my opinion, is better than “The Fourth Legacy” and is at least as good as “Epica” and “Karma”. But, with only 5 listens, I’m not quite sure about those last 2 yet, time will tell. And my faves at this point are “Expedition”, “Parting Visions” and “Irea”.
Bottom line – if you like Kamelot and already have “The Black Halo”, “Ghost Opera” and the great live CD and DVD “One Cold Winter’s Night” you won’t be disappointed by this. But, if you don’t already have all those, get them first. As for the “bad production” reviews I honestly say I don’t think it’s all that bad and haven’t read anything about my copy being a re-mastered release!
Named after the fabled chair at the Round Table reserved for the Knight who actually found the Holy Grail, “Siege Perilous” is the third album by Kamelot and the first to showcase the vocal talents of Roy Khan, formerly of Conception. Khan (part Thai and part Norwegian) has an incredible voice that just pulls you into its smooth embrace.
I actually got this album after already owning numbers four and five, “The Fourth Legacy” and “Karma”. I love those albums, but I have to say this is their best album out of those first five. The reason for this simply lies in how much it differs from its predecessors and the albums that follow. Musically, it truly stands out from its kindred. Whereas the band’s first two albums (“Eternity” and “Dominion”) were meant to be early Queensryche clones – due in large part to original singer Mark Vanderbilt modelling his vocal style after that of Geoff Tate – “Siege” sees the Florida-based outfit introduce a welcome element of smoothness and subtlety. Still most definitely “progressive power metal”, this album’s true power actually lies in it’s very LACK of power and its somewhat ethereal nature. There is nothing particularly overt or in-your-face about it. (A new singer with a deeper and richer voice certainly necessitated a new overall sound). This becomes evident from the very first heavenly keyboards and delicate beat of the opening song, “Providence”. And yes, the production sounds a bit muddied at times, Khan’s voice especially getting lost somewhat amid the low din of the instruments. But I think after a few listens you would agree that this element may actually add to the overall charm of this album.
They then took a decidedly more straight-line, power metal approach with “The Fourth Legacy”, dropping some of the progressive elements and adding a bit more speed and simplicity. The new production team of Sascha Paeth and Miro (absent on “Siege”) probably had a lot to do with that. (The second song here, “Milennium”, actually seems a bit out of place on “Siege”, its speed better matched to the overall mood of the succeeding ones). And please understand – this is not a bad thing, by any means. I certainly love all their albums since this one. And special attention should be made for the wonderful inclusion of strings, choirs, and female vocals on their sixth opus, the Faustian concept album “Epica” (not to be confused with the Dutch band named Epica, whose first album I review elsewhere – but to further add to the confusion, the singer of Epica, Simone Simons, makes an appearance on Kamelot’s upcoming “Black Halo” album). Kamelot’s sound has certainly evolved, mostly for the better. But I have to say again: because of how noticeably different it is from all the others, the beautiful magic of “Siege Perilous” immediately grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.
A true gem among all the precious stones of their impressive catalog.
My favorite songs are “Providence”, “Expedition”, “Parting Visions”, and “Rhydin”.