Kamelot, a band that has forged together many forms of Metal into haunting, beautiful, and masterful melodic music is back in 2015 with a spectacular new album. After Roy Khan had to depart from the band so sadly, theatrical power vocalist Tommy Karevik to step in. Luckily, Kaverik was very fit for the job. The band recorded their first album with Kaverik in 2012. “Silverthorn” was a departure from older albums and lacked the dramatics and emotion older albums contained. It was a bold move to change it up, certainly the guests Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz helped modernize Kamelot. It was the first album with a new vocalist, so it was really different as the band settled in. Now, the band has found synchronicity with a new album in all its glory, “Haven”.
“Haven” is everything great you can expect from Kamelot; Symphonic and Neoclassical themes, dramatic theatrical vocals, an interesting theme, and amazingly talented guests. Thomas Youngblood, Kamelot guitarist and mastermind, said “Haven” was going back to Kamelot’s emotional roots. I loved this idea, because it keeps the band authentic even with a more modern sound. The band going back to their roots ensured a good album was ahead. However, “Haven” completely obliterated all expectations. This album from start to finish is just insanely epic and so addictive. I say addictive because of the catchy riffs, melodies, and spot on theatrically performed vocals. They nailed this album to a cross, burnt it, then turned it into a beautiful and ornate glass vase. Every song is just spot on with everything I want and expect from this band and so much more.
The album opens with heavy and smoothly flowing track Fallen Star, tight, rhythmic, and powerful in such a glorious way. The tone in Tommy’s voice has grown exponentially, already clear from the first track. One of the best songs on this album is no doubt Insomnia, melodic and creepy and filled with desperation. Citizen Zero follows the Sci-fi themed album perfectly with well versed lyrics. Not my favorite track, but it has a good rhythm to it and incorporates more Symphonic elements. Tommy also shows some higher range and also lower range which I really enjoy. Veil of Elysium is a track that just will not get out of my head. Between the dramatic orchestral and synth, guitar riffs and beginning solo, and a vocal line delivered with ease. I absolutely love the story on this song and every piece of instrumentation. Next, is where we get to hear a brand new guest for Kamelot rip the shreds out of a romantic and saddened power ballad. Charlotte Wessels of Delain provides the beautiful and understated vocals on Under Grey Skies. Her and Tommy’s vocals are revolutionary together. This song sounds like an old love tale between forbidden lovers, forged long before anything to do with Sci-Fi. It also features Troy Donockley and his excellent folk influences with pipes. Kamelot and guests created something magnificent with this track. This is easily one of the best songs of 2015.
The album continues to rage on with heavier and creepy track My Therapy, softened interlude Ecclesia, and Symphonic jam End of Innocence. You can hear Charlotte’s excellent and gorgeous backing vocals throughout a lot of tracks. Beautiful Apocalypse is another epic track of the album and it contains a lot of things I wanted on this album. The level of heaviness is all over the place, keeping the album from becoming stale or monotonous. Also the tone of Beautiful Apocalypse sounds more Gothic than any other track on the album and the vocals are spot on. Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) features the growls and clean vocals of maiden Alissa White-Gluz, who absolutely shreds this song and also Revolution. These tracks are heavy, some of the heaviest music I’ve heard from Kamelot. I love both of these tracks, because they utilize every part of the band and two guest vocalists in many ways. It’s like a really exquisite dish done two ways, but they somehow go together in one bite. I also love the use of Charlotte’s range throughout these tracks, yet to be wholly discovered, as well as Tommy’s range.
This review is just a simple overview of what “Haven” has to offer. In simple words, it is a fantastically diverse and immensely well done Symphonic Metal album. It is an essential album for anyone who enjoys great Metal Music and I do not see how anyone could dislike it as a whole. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of what Thomas, Tommy, and everyone involved with Kamelot has to show us.
Album Rating: 10/10- Musical Perfection