Kamelot - The Black Halo
Since their first album, Eternity, Kamelot have evolved greatly. From a more or less basic approach with a strong reliance on the guitar work to a full-blown symphonic experience with everything it implies. Of course the band's success has given them acces to greater production values, but it feels like Kamelot has been slowly but surely, finetuning their sound, especially through the past four albums. With The Black Halo, Kamelot evolve even further and achieve something pretty close to perfection in the production department. Musically this is a highly infectous blend of Heavy, Power and Symphonic Metal with a few Progressive tendencies from time to time. Kamelot have managed to find their own distinct sound and The Black Halo expands their universe even further.

Thomas Youngblood's exceptional guitar work and the amazing melodies are still my main attraction to Kamelot. I found it funny that I was reminded of Call of the sea from Eternity right from the start when the first riff sets off March of Mephisto. Peeling away the layers shows that it is still the same band as the early days, now the keyboard and orchestra just plays a much bigger role in the music. Since it came out I've always held Dominion as my favorite Kamelot album. The old albums with Mark Vanderbilt on vocals had a very special charm, which on the later albums has been exchanged for a more polished and brighter feel, but also better arranged songs. Today it is more of a mood thing, which period I prefer.

Anyway, onto the album. The last three Kamelot albums have all opened with a catchy, fast-paced melodic wonder of a song, which somehow kept improving with each album. This time things have changed. March of Mephisto is an atmospheric mid-tempo song that brings out an interesting side of the band. On guest vocals Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir lends some growls, which contrast to Roy Kahn's clear voice very effectively. While this blend works very well it is not 100% successful. It sounds like Shagraths voice has has been through the electronic blender that is vocal effects and it comes out slightly less dramatic than I had imagined. Maybe this is just me but to get the ultimate effect his voice should have been further ahead in the mix. Besides that this is a very interesting opener to the album which sets the atmosphere right from the start. Jens Johanssen also guests on the song with a keyboard solo.

For those longing for that fast paced opening track your wish is granted with When the lights are down. The opening keyboard melody gave me chills right from the start. I believe I have heard it somewhere else, but I just can't place it. That's usually a good sign. The band hasn't lost their touch and the chorus is one that will grow until it sticks to your brain like a big fat singing tumor.

The album is not easily digested but great things await those with patience. After 10-15 listens the songs really began to stand out. Several short atmosperic interludes add to the atmosphere and gives the album a connected feel. Unfortunately no lyrics accompanied the promo, so I won't say more than that The Black Halo continues the Faustus saga begun on Epica but it easily stands on its own.

Musically the album is filled with strong songs. I will comment shortly on some of my favorites and try not to give too much away. The Haunting is a very melodic song with a feeling of yearning that draws you in and it has an absolutely wonderful ending part which shamelessly fades out far too soon. I'm guessing that Simone Simons (Epica) is the very fitting female voice in this song. Soul society is maybe a bit too keyboard reliant, but with those melodies, who cares? This pain is a more guitar driven song with a lot of energy and Nothin ever dies has a outstanding and powerful chrous. The title track uses the keyboard to great effect. In the beginning it gives the song intensity and a great sense of urgency. A varied, fast paced song and another definite highlight.

Roy Kahn's voice is silky soft and extremely enticing. He has this emotional touch that makes his voice one of my favorites in the genre. Take a listen to the wonderful ballad Abandoned as an example. Kahn's voice gives the song all the drama it needs. Just beautiful.

Memento Mori is an impressive 9 minute opus, slowly building towards its climax which sees the return of Shagrath in a short but cool duet with Mari (Masqueraid). But why the vocal effects on Kahn's voice? Damn, I hate that.
Serenade provides a powerful ending to this wide-ranging album.

A special mention goes to Casey Grillo on drums. He does a great job of keeping the music tight while adding little detail to the songs. Like the way he leads When the lights are down into the chorus and a multitude of other places where he enhances the music in a good way.

The Black Halo keeps growing with each listen and contains no bad songs. Though I miss a few faster songs the album is very varied and in the end another outstanding effort by Kamelot. This band has created some of the most extremely melodic power metal and put shortly, The Black Halo is among Kamelot's best albums.

Written by Steen
Sunday, March 6, 2005
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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by filip - greece (Anonymous) - Thursday, March 10, 2005
awesome album by kamelot (again!!) - biggest dissapointment: 1st track, just listen to the rhythm going off at 3:14 (that's the keyboards isn't it) - c'mon, it just screams to be doubled up by the same tempo in a heavy guitar riff :( instead, a solo comes in, which is ok, but that's no excuse to not include the guitar riff as well :P
it's really strange, this is the 1st or 2nd time something like that occures to me :S
anyway this album is sooo good. it met my (high) expectations. it has a satisgying portion of fast-paced heavy parts (i wasn't really worried about the medolic ones, they're always there, always wonderful). now let's see them live! >:)

Comment by Alanna (Staff) - Thursday, March 10, 2005
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I can't wait to hear this - Kamelot's one of my favorites....! And this sounds quite good, especially since I'm more into epic and melody than speed these days.

Posted by Alanna (Staff)
Thursday, March 10, 2005

Comment by dj (Anonymous) - Friday, March 11, 2005
This album is probably second only to Karma, theres more heavy thick guitar distortion here and that production is killer. Khan's voice is outstanding as always. Every damm song is a top highlight. Kamelot is without a doubt at the top of the game in this genre, from The Fourth Legacy to The Black Halo now, they just keep getting better and better each time, that itself is worth some serious appreciation. This is a 9, no doubt about it.

Comment by Jonas - dk (Anonymous) - Saturday, March 12, 2005
They Have Done it Again, it´s a fantastic album from Kamelot.

Comment by Ole Bach (Anonymous) - Wednesday, March 16, 2005
The new album from Kamelot is one of the best albums ever.The whole thing around the album is fantastic,the musicians, the production, the cover.Kamelot must soon come to Denmark and play.

Comment by stratos (Anonymous) - Wednesday, March 30, 2005
just perfect!especially the 3rd song is a masterpiece

Comment by Tommy (Member) - Friday, April 8, 2005
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A solid and fine review.
It does slowly grow on you, complex and wonderfully melodic at the same time.
Khan's graceful voice lift these songs even higher and I simply love the mix of Progressive, Power and classic Heavy Metal that only seems to get more and more dynamic.
The fantastic and rich atmospheres found on Epica are also present in this one, haunting and compelling, this aspect being one of Kamelot's many strengths.
Breathtaking, clever and emotional lyrics only enhance the overall quality.
Years ago I said that this band would evolve into one of the most important and best Metal bands of all time. Apparently being unable to put out anything short of outstanding for a long time, they have surely come a long way.

RevelationZ Magazine

Posted by Tommy
Friday, April 8, 2005

Comment by Alanna (Staff) - Saturday, April 16, 2005
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I have to agree with almost everything you have to say here, having finally spent some time with this album... I agree that it is amazing. I never thought anything would knock "The Fourth Legacy" off its throne but this one not only kicks it off but stops all over it. Not that I don't still love "Fourth" but damn, this is a fine piece of metal. If I could have engineered the "perfect" Kamelot cd, this would be it. To the opening track "Mephisto" with its strange and beautiful keyboards and grinding war-like march to the epic and pompous "Memento Mori" and the lulling loveliness of "Moonlight", there is not one moment that I'm not just completely amazed here. Khan's voice is a slice of heaven, silken and smooth like butter... and all the musicians are just in top form. With the spectacular production and sublime songs, this is destined to be a classic on down the line. My question is...how will they possibly top this???

Posted by Alanna (Staff)
Saturday, April 16, 2005

Comment by Alex13 (Anonymous) - Saturday, October 29, 2005
This one is on the game level with the 2 prev ones. One of my fav 3 releases of the year. 8 Does seem kinda low tho. It's like putting Kamelot and their releases now that they are still on their prime on the same level with all the rest just "good" releases. Kamelot stand out and arent just another metal band that has just happened to make a good album. Actualy they are more likely to be the best Power Metal band out there atm. The Black Halo is one of the best Power Metal releases of the 10 last years, and quite possibly album of the year

Comment by Steen (Staff) - Saturday, October 29, 2005
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Hey Alex13,
If the Black Halo was on level with all the rest just "good" releases then it would have gotten a 6/10. In my view an 8/10 is given to completely outstanding albums that are at the top of their genre and I would still give it that rating today. I know that our rating system is different than most others so you can't directly compare the grades to other sites. Fantastic album, and it does feature in my top 5 albums of the year so far.

Posted by Steen (Staff)
Saturday, October 29, 2005

Comment by kotmasha (Anonymous) - Sunday, November 13, 2005
Coming from a "classical music only" background, including heavy 20-th century classics, I must confess that this album has been a positive shock for me: from a general agreement that "yes, I could listen to metal from time to time" this album made me seek out deeper education in the genere.
I fully agree with Steen that this album is a full-bodied work of art. In contrast to other albums I heard it really gives you the sense of completeness that can usually be found in symphonic music: none of the parts sounds the same when taken out of the whole. Great performers, good lyrics, very deep music. Kamelot, I hope you are working on a new album!!!

Comment by Veronica (Anonymous) - Monday, June 19, 2006

Kamelot rules.

Comment by Gabriel (Member) - Friday, October 17, 2008
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I have written this review about"Epica":

In my opinion "Epica"is the Last Album of the Real Kamelot!

And it's a Masterpiece,but in the some way incompleted because "The Black Halo"sounds muddle-headed in comparison to"Epica"like a sequel:it's a good album,maybe a great album,but is not a real sequel of the plot of Epica:where is Epica(in the words of Khan at the time of Epica"Ariel will visite a phisical place called Epica in the second chapter")?
Why Ariel has wings on the cover of "Epica"?
Why we have two different personifications of the Devil:in the First Chapter a Woman,in the second a Man(Shagrath)?
Thomas at the time of Epica:"Helena will become an Angel in the Second Chapter"?
It's another false promise.

To be honest,"The Black Halo"is very undervalued,seems like"Highlander II",a totally muddle-headed sequel without a real sense in the Epica Concept(but"The Black Halo"is a good album and"Highlander II"a real sequel).

It's the Last real Epic Album of Kamelot,today they could call "Phantoms of the Opera",are more a Gothic/Prog Band than a real Epic band.

Khan is a great Singer,my favourite(I'm a Singer/Songwriter,if you want listen my voice click on this link:


),but it's more a Gothic/Prog Singer than a real Epic Singer and Conception maybe it's better place for him.

If you want see a show(in the Amphitheater of my Country) where i have played a set of"Epica"concept click on this link:

http://www. telealtairpinia.it/spettacolo/emergenti24ago08p7.htm

A Golden Hail,

Antonio Giorgio.

I think that the World of Kamelot is the world of Myths and Legends and this album is more like a Gothic/Prog/Psychological Album than a Real Epic Album(it's the sequel of an album called"EPICA"!!!???!,it's seems a Symphonic Version of Conception.
Khan today is too important in this band and he don't has a real Epic Feeling in his voice and in his style.
If you want listen a Real Epic-Metal listen bands like Virgin Steele o the Early Kamelot untilò "Epica".

Posted by Gabriel
Friday, October 17, 2008

Comment by Gabriel (Member) - Friday, October 17, 2008
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The Correct Link of my show with Kamelot Songs is this:


Antonio Giorgio.

Posted by Gabriel
Friday, October 17, 2008

Comment by Gabriel (Member) - Saturday, April 25, 2009
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I apologize with my review on this album....maybe i have exaggerated,this album is a masterpiece like"Epica".
Is different but has the same Quality
There's only a missing:the visit of a Phisical/Mystical place called EPICA....but i hope that i will develop this theme in a different way in the concept of my band called MYTHIC VISION( www.myspace.com/mythicvision)with the album "Mythica".
My vote about "TBH"is 9.5/10.
Golden Hails!


Posted by Gabriel
Saturday, April 25, 2009

Review by Steen

Released by
SPV - 2005

1. March Of Mephisto
2. When The Lights Are Down
3. The Haunting (Somewhere In Time)
4. Soul Society
5. Interlude I: Dei Gratia
6. Abandoned
7. This Pain
8. Moonlight
9. Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso
10. The Black Halo
11. Nothing Ever Dies
12. Memento Mori
13. Interlude III: Midnight - Twelve Tolls For A New Day
14. Serenade

Supplied by Target

Heavy Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Kamelot - Official Website

Other articles
Karma - (Tommy)

Epica - (Tommy)

Interview With Thom Youngblood - (Tommy)

The Black Halo - (Paul)

One Cold Winter´s Night - (Brian)

One Cold Winter´s Night - (Alanna)

Reissues: Eternity / Dominion / Siege Perilous / Fourth Legacy / Expedition / Karma / Epica - (Brian)

Ghost Opera - (Alanna)

Dominion - (Steen)

Poetry for the Poisoned - (Alanna)

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