Review – Kamelot – The Awakening
Napalm Records (17th March 2023)
Reviewer: Stephen Brophy
One of the leading lights in the Symphonic/Power Metal scene, and they have been for a long time, The international mix of extremely talented individual musicians that always come together so tightly as a unit whether they are playing live or putting together a studio release and ‘The Awakening‘ is certainly no different. Personnel wise there has been one change since the last album with Alex Landenburg coming in on Drums, and he’s another powerhouse player.
Following on from 2018’s excellent ‘The Shadow Theory‘ this is the bands 13th studio album and no matter what way you look you most certainly can’t keep everyone happy in this genre of music, even more difficult when the band has been releasing albums for some 28 years. But I maintain that if what they do is of a high quality and it does enough to hit me in the guts I’m definitely happy with it.
What we get with this new album is 11 tracks excluding the Into/Outro, some beautifully mastered songs with guest musicians involved here and there to lift the music in different directions or add to what the band are trying to do, you just know that they don’t have guests on their albums just for the sake of it, they have to have a purpose within the music. adding Cello and Violin to ‘Midsummer’s Eve‘ evokes a feeling of being transferred back in time and just elevates an almost haunting mood to the track. Or with Simone Simmons (Epica) and Melissa Bonny (Ad Infinitum) singing backing vocals on ‘New Babylon‘ a choral or operatic effect is added to the opening and chorus and the addition of female vocals certainly adds a different dimension..
Of the 11 songs for me the highlights are the previously mentioned ‘New Babylon‘ which aside from the great vocals by all, including the gravel vocals has some excellent keyboards throughout. The power and aggression of ‘One Flag In The Ground‘ will make it a firm favourite live, it’s a cracking song. Add in ‘Opus Of The Night (Ghost Requiem)‘ and haunting ‘Willow‘ which in many ways is the most simple of the songs in construction but it is excellent and demonstrates what a great mix of music available here. Don’t just skip the Outro ‘Ephemera‘ either as it’s a lovely piece of music to close out the album
Kamelot are a terrific collective of musicians that for me are one of the top live acts out there right now, any band where your attention is drawn all over the stage is certainly one that will entertain. With Tommy’s wonderful vocals, Youngbloods furious guitar and all of the other instruments coming in and out as required you get a very well written and put together album, but that’s no surprise with this band. ‘The Awakening‘ works on pretty much any level if you enjoy Power Metal or just good music, it’s another top notch release from a band at the top of their game.
1 Overture (Intro)
2 The Great Divide
4 One More Flag In The Ground
5 Opus Of The Night (Ghost Requiem)
6 Midsummer’s Eve
9 The Looking Glass
10 New Babylon
12 My Pantheon ( Forevermore )
13 Ephemera (Outro)