Kamelot – Haven (Napalm Records)

  Van Muylem    2 januari 2016

Due to a lack of time I overlooked this beauty and now I can finally talk about the must see for 2016! Indeed: Kamelot has a new album and will tour a lot during 2016! I can already tell you that their new album is absolutely worth it!

Produced by acclaimed music producer Sascha Paeth and mastered by Jacob Hansen, Haven is a massive album that is sure to please critics and fans alike. Additional guests include Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Troy Donockley (Nightwish) and Charlotte Wessels (Delain). The breath-taking cover and artwork was created by Stefan Heilemann and additional art/layout was done by Gustavo Sazes. 

For the newbies or people who are still uncertain if this band is worth a shot I can point out that they bring melodic metal mixed with progressive influences and doom/gothic metal references. Their 2012 release Silverthorn got them a new vocalist Tommy Karevik, whom has been totally accepted by their fan base, and took the group on the longest and, thanks to lots of sold-out shows, most successful tour of their career to date. And now they strike back with an album that is bigger, better, faster and simply a masterpiece!

For me it’s clear that this band has grown a lot since their debut in 1991. Somehow the darkness on this album got an antidote with the catchy tunes and choruses. We start with the melancholic and very melodic/symphonic Fallen Star. This song gives me goosebumps and touches me deeply. This is simply the best starter for any album! The guitar play and the vocals are simply heavenly! More rattling drums comes with Insomnia, just as a more theatrical sound putting the story upfront joined forces by the catchy chorus. The guitars are raving and I hear a great solo. It’s only the second song and yet we get a real wow moment!

This is well crafted and powerful music! More of the same high quality comes with Citizen Zero, empowered by the choir, the synth and the symphonic sound. This is how Wagner’s music would sound like if he would have been born in this century! Be ready for some head banging and more air guitar play! Veil of Elysium sounds very epic, with a perfectly fitting voice and a catchy sound on witch you start to weep along with the rhythm. Under Grey Skies is a great ballad, where we also hear Charlotte Wessel (Delain) and the whistle played by Troy Donockley (Nightwish). Hell yeah, another highlight calling up the X-mass feeling! This is pure heaven for symphonic metal-lovers! My Therapy has a more industrial versus metal rock feel without losing the catchiness and the great sound with that little dose of positive energy fighting against the darkness and despair.

 Ecclesia is a heavenly interlude, digging out some pathos. End of Innocence has a touch of nu metal, whilst the vocals are jumping up and down the ladder backed up by other vocals lifting it higher and higher and presenting us a jewel of a track keeping us on track and in the loop whilst never losing the story line out of light. Feel the energy, touch the goosebumps on your arms, wipe away that sole tear! It sounds a bit double, but within the hard reality I feel a gasp of hope. Face the reality and fight against it! Stop dreaming and face it! I feel that this one will create a special feeling during the many concerts!

Beautiful Apocalypse rocks on, a bit as if mixing Moonspell with Coal Chamber. To me the Arabic feel and the nu metal touch gives it (together with the topnotch vocals) the things needed to become a killer track! Listen to the bass and the guitars, just as the extra instruments and sounds mixed in! The fact that we hear again some vocal help from Charlotte does indeed help a bit! This one is just perfect! Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) is another perfect collaboration and yet another killer track! The additional vocals by Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) and the cinematic feel, together with the finger licking guitar solo and hammering drums is setting yet another chest filled with diamonds! We go back to peace and a more softer and symphonic sound with Here’s to the Fall. I cherish the piano and get some kind of Dracula feel. As the song progresses more vocals are added.

Let’s note that this is the second great ballad (truly: there are only 2 ballads on it, so that says it all, right?). Revolution awakens you from a bitter sweet dream. The powerful grunts from Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) and the female and very spooky vocals gives it that special feeling, just as the touch of Marilyn Manson and some death metal punches! Towards the end it gets a bit softer, but the desperation overrules the peace. Strangely enough they close the album with a cinematic track and a choir that takes over, a bit like during The Hobbits and Lord of The Rings. As I put on the automatic repeat function I get back to the beginning and don’t regret it at all!

It’s clear that this album is better than the previous one, things are sharper and the sound is wider. The guests are just perfect! I’m a happy man and want to sign in to see them on stage in my own country! So where are the bookers? I will follow!