I have always been a fan of the ‘fantasy metal’ genre, where power metal is fused with the steel of wailing guitars, the silver of clean vocals, and the platinum of driving and conceptual lyrics. Kamelot have done just that, but forged a broadsword whose magnitude I have YET to see matched in the battlefield! As you listen to each song (all of which are ultimately enjoyable), you will hear a LOT more intricacy that you may not catch at first listen. These guys put a LOT of effort into each and every song, which will range from the epic powerbolt title track “The Fourth Legacy” driven by the unforgiving trio of Youngblood/Barry/Grillo, to the poignant and heart-warming tale of “The Sailorman’s Hymn” smoothed over by Khan’s excellent vocal capability. If you are a fan of Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, Demons & Wizards, Gamma Ray, Iron Savior, Nightwish (for their conceptuality and range), and the like — I guarentee you will find this CD a great addition to your metal library!
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Have you ever heard an album where you could just sit back, close your eyes and let the music sweep you into an expedition within your own mind? Kamelot’s aptly titled Fourth Legacy achieves just such a monumental enterprise! From the ripping neo-progressive Metal lead-in of “New Allegiance,” it becomes immediately clear that this is not your run-of-the-mill American Metal CD. For within that seemingly complex arrangement, there is the underlying emotive spark that launches your unseeing eyes across time and space. Each track is a visit to an exotic, ancient location in time, where your senses are invaded by images of the past, created by the delicate movements and passages. Kamelot wields their ability to translate musical signatures into tangible emotions and intuitive imagery like the legendary painters of old utilized color and brush texture to manifest visions of the human will! When you listen to The Fourth Legacy, you’re not just listening to immortalized Melodic Metal music; you are actually experiencing the blood and toil of thousands of years of worldly inspiration!
A really good book is one that puts you right there in the setting by use of vivid descriptions and lush vocabulary; where you just have a feel for that time and place. Music should be the same, and Kamelot seem to have found a firm grip on just how to mesmerize a listener with a barrage of powerful rhythms and rich, full melodies, to give them just the bit of originality neseccary to set them apart from the up and coming masses of power/progressive metal units that are emerging from the legacy of such bands as Helloween, fates Warning, Queensryche, and even Rush. One listen to the “Fourth Legacy” and you will hear the influence of those bands immeiately. The title track blisters forth with the double bass drum attack even most death metal drummers would be frightened by, without sacrificing precision and clarity. The accompanying guitar playing of Thomas Youngblood is equally frantic, yet tight and clean. Imagine if you will, the violinists of a symphony orchestra tossing aside stratoverious’s for stratocasters instead! The result is magnificent, as if Beethoven himself played the electric guitar instead of a keyboard. And speaking of keyboards, guest artist Miro is the grand mountain looming in the background of the coloresqe landscaping if Kamelot had crafted their work into oil paints. The song arrangements are quite lucious and rich, adding power and grandeure to the tight ensemble that Kamelot is. “Silent Goddess” has a distinctive late ’90s groove, with Neal Peart like drumming from Casey Grillo, who gives a percussion clinic throughout the “Fourth Legacy.” “Desert Reign” is brilliant instrumentation that transcends the listener to a place where magic carpets fly by and genies escape from bottles, providing a perfect lead in to the driving rhythms of “Nights of Arabia,” which has a chorus that will be etched into the brain for hours after listening. “Shadows of Uther” continues to drive forth with traditional power metal triplet patterns and rhythms, with orchestration that brings to mind a more metal minded Kansas. Kamelot provides break in the action with the sombre and brooding “sailorman’s Hymn”, then picks up again the records gem, “The Inquisitor” which is a mid-paced, no nonsense sinister rocker, with a killer guitar riff at mid point leading into the solo break. “Glory” offers more thought provoking lyrics and provides another moment of rest , then the album wraps up with another double bass kicker “Until Kingdom Come” and the groovier “Lunar sanctum” which closes the release in an all out jam session, showcasing the individual talents of Youngblood, Grillo, and bassist Glenn Barry, who is also solid throughout. Vocalist Roy Khan has a clean and solid voice, at times similar to Geoff Tate and the more refined effects of Warrell Dane, displaying a wide range but slightly lacking the emotional tones achieved by the ‘Ryche frontman. Therein is possibly one of only two complaints there may be regarding “Fourth Legacy”; that raw emotion is not always captured by the voices and instruments, however technically proficient they are, and finally, that while powerful and driving, I’d like to hear more straight ahead raw guitar riffs from Youngblood, a la the lead in to the solo break mentioned on “Inquisitor.” that slight lacking of edgy riffing is what may turn the usual headbanger off to Kamelot, but one cannot deny the overall power generated by the “Fourth Legacy”s texture and rich, full arranging. I am by trade a fan of more harsh, riff heavy thrash, but as a fan of good music, I found “The Fourth Legacy” to be a very fulfilling, enjoyable, and memorable listen. No matter how you prefer your metal served up, Kamelot is just plain and simple good music, and metal fans of all genres should find something here to cheer about! 4 1/2 stars
With singer (Roy S.) Khan now firmly entrenched in Kamelot’s songwriting core, him and guitarist Thomas Youngblood are directing the band away from the Crimson Glory-like days of their earlier albums. The result is something far ahead of their previous work, in both intensity and songwriting. The value of Khan as part of this band is tremendous, the extent of which will only be fully evident with more releases.I normally stay far away from the symphonic power metal sector, finding it hopelessly derivative, shallow, and generally boring. I find that Kamelot has succeeded where others failed because they offer superb heavy guitar exploits, powerful melodies, and godly vocals from Khan. But wait…don’t qualities like heaviness, melodic sensibility, and soaring vocals usually characterize power metal? Yes, that’s true, but I think The Fourth Legacy is a little more elaborate than your average power metal album, with more diverse songwriting, and Khan’s vocals dwarf most singers. His unique accent, combined with his fervent passion and incredible timbre make him one of the best metal vocalists out there.Quite simply, power metal doesn’t get better than the mighty one-two punch of “New Allegiance” and the title track. “New Allegiance” short-but-sweet instrumental opener where powerful orchestral strikes are punctuated by devastating drums that grow with intensity, building towards “The Fourth Legacy.” There, a glistening riff drives Khan’s uplifting vocals and lyrics, with a chorus that’s both unforgettable and heroic. A haunting choral/symphonic section builds the suspense before Youngblood’s solo. Traditional power metal is again performed on “Until Kingdom Come,” but it’s intensity pales before the incredible “New Allegiance/The Fourth Legacy.” Actually, the fact that “New Allegiance/The Fourth Legacy” is the album’s finest moment is perhaps it’s worst attribute. Since the album blows you away at the very beginning, in comparison the rest of the album sounds unfortunately tepid. It never really matches the awesome beginning.But the rest of the album is by _no_ means bad. For the most part, it’s excellent. Exquisite balladry, highlighting Khan’s emotional voice and the beauty of Youngblood’s guitar, comes in the form of “A Sailorman’s Hymm” and “Glory.” “The Inquisitor,” with ominous verses and harrowing riffs, is an awesome song, although the chorus doesn’t raise the song’s excitement in considerably. Actually, that’s one of the problems with this album. The production sometimes keeps Khan’s voice buried and it takes away a lot of the power of what could have been killer choruses. “Silent Goddess,” “Shadow of Uther,” and to a lesser extent “Until Kingdom Come” and “Alexandria” all suffer from this problem. It doesn’t really denigrate the songs to a point where it makes them weak, it just doesn’t put them over the top like it should. Kamelot takes the listener on a foray into Middle Eastern lands with “Desert Reign” and “Nights of Arabia,” the former being a fine instrumental that paints a vivid picture of an Arabic kingdom, the latter being a delightfully dynamic composition almost theatrical in its delivery. “Lunar Sanctum,” which closes the album, is relatively subtle, with slow-building string arrangements amid the crunchy guitars. It’s mystical and symphonic, and closes the album almost as good as it started. Almost.Be sure to get Kamelot’s new album, Karma, as well.
It’s rare to find a decent power metal band from America (it’s hard enough to find a decent power metal band at all). Fortunately, with the aid of Roy Kahn, Kamelot excels. Blending progressive metal riffs with power metal speed, the band has been able to shine in the genre. The Fourth Legacy, the band’s forth studio release, is a stellar achievement. This is not to say that the album follows a pattern of sorts.
As all power metal albums have an instrumental introductory song, so this release has “New Allegiance”. The second song is usually the catchiest and most straightforward song, as is the title-track, “The Fourth Legacy”. From here on, however, Kamelot prove that they have a great command over various types of melodies. Guitarist Thomas Youngblood (whose name sounds medieval enough) shows that he can handle Middle-Eastern-inspired melodies (as shown on “Desert Reign” and “Nights of Arabia”) as well as medieval ballads (clearly demonstrated on the all-acoustic gems “A Sailorman’s Hymn” and “Glory”). The beauty of the album is, that even the so-called “regular power metal songs” are stand-out tracks. The melody and accompanying keyboards in songs such as “The Shadow of Uther” and “Until Kingdom Come” are enough to stay ringing in listeners’ heads for hours. Even the last song, the outstanding “Lunar Sanctum” (which is neither power nor progressive metal) has its memorable moments.
Melody alone does not make this album a success among clones – most (if not all) power metal bands are melodic almost by obligation. Instead, it’s the creative collaboration between voice and guitar, rhythm and riff that make this album a must-have for any power-metal fan.
See also: Kamelot – Epica, Aina – Days of Rising Doom