KAMELOT – Poetry For The Poisoned Track-By-Track Reflections
August 19, 2010, 6 years ago
by Mark Gromen
Ninth album from the now multi-national outfit originally from Florida, although you (much like the band) can ignore the initial four discs, since the first two had a different singer and the band only found their footing at the dawn of this millennium. Not sure how the title refers (are we the poisoned deemed worthy of hearing their poetry?), but the cover art is striking, despite any JANE'S ADDICTION (Nothing’s Shocking) reference points. Initial reaction that there’s a grittier (speedier?) underbelly to the tracks, a greater emphasis on guitar (at the expense of keyboards), for which older fans have been awaiting the return. That’s not to say KAMELOT have flashed back to The Fourth Legacy, nor have they abandoned the pensive storytelling scope of EPICA or Ghost Opera. Speaking of Epica, the Dutch band’s frontwoman (and ‘Lot keyboardist Oliver Palotai’s girlfriend) Simone Simons guests on one track, as does Sunshine State neighbour Jon Oliva (JON OLIVA'S PAIN, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, SAVATAGE), Bjorn “Speed” Strid (SOILWORK) and guitarist Gus G. (OZZY OSBOURNE/FIREWIND).
‘The Great Premonition’ – Opting for a staccato modern metal noise and whispered vocals for the initial minute. Lively track briefly settles down in the middle. Upon repeated listens, can (barely) hear Simons cooing far in the distance.
‘If Tomorrow Came’ – Beefy guitar tone kicks off. Whispered vocals behind Roy Khan, whose voice is modulated, at times.
‘Dear Editor/The Zodiac’- After a street scene (rain, women talking, truck passing), starts with an eerie voiceover. Has something of an Alice Cooper feel about it, in lyrics, as well as music. Oliva gets some of the most twisted lines (naturally).
‘Hunter’s Season’ – Bouncy electronic rhythm begins low and builds into opening guitar bridge. Blistering guitar run around the 3:30 mark. This one NEEDS to be in the live show!
‘House On A Hill’ – Khan’s initial notes are a cappella: “Call me a liar, a king or a fool, but sing me a song of prosperity. Higher and higher, the farther we fall. Hard to remember.” Eventually joined by synth, then whole band, although drums begin the same time as Simone Simons. The two voices alternate verses and join in duet, come the chorus. Spanish guitar flourish in the final minute, before abrupt ending.
‘Necropolis’ – Despite the title, not deadly. Marching stomp to begin, then Khan, with slightly flanged vocals. Mid-tempo number that picks up pace/intensity in the later half. For some reason, music creates visions of ancient Egypt.
‘My Train Of Thoughts’ –Audience applause leads into a railroad sample before any music is audible. Wades similar lyrical waters as Savatage’s “When The Crowds Are Gone’, ie. the mindset of a musician when out of the limelight. There is a second, disembodied voice, surely meant to be warring thoughts inside the head.
‘Seal Of Woven Years’ – Symphonic intro, with distant tolling bell. Upbeat tune, with brief classic rock guitar spot in the final minute.
‘Poetry For The Poisoned’ – Four parts combined into a single 9:20 track. Opens with drums atop synth and Khan’s voice. ‘Incubus’ picks up intensity prior to the voiceover: “The word incubus means ‘to lie on’ and it was believed that any heavy feeling in bed, such as a weight pushing down on your chest, especially accompanied by nightmares was a sure sign an incubus had attempted to have nocturnal intercourse with you. Given the religious fervour of the Middle Ages, it’s not all too surprising that the idea of a demon love was to account for this phenomenon.” Simons and piano join the fray as it moves into ‘So Long’, Casey Grillo’s drumming still resonating in the background. Two-thirds of the way through, it’s ‘All Over’, Simons heading a gang-vocal backed section that includes acoustic guitar. Ends with a short guitar driven instrumental.
‘Once Upon A Time’ – At start, aggressive guitar (backed with piano) picks up where last one left off. Instantly recognizable as Kamelot, this lively finishing track, is the way albums should end. At 3:45, the shortest composition.
Having recently seen the band perform in front of 50,000-plus at Wacken, can’t wait for the intimate ProgPower USA set (as well as North American headlining tour), especially if a few of these are included. The album is scheduled for release in Europe on September 3rd via earMUSIC and KMG Recordings in North America on September 14th.