KAMELOT - Ghost Opera
May 11, 2007, 12 years ago
Easily the most accessible and exciting Kamelot platter since The Fourth Legacy. During the intervening seven years, a trio of albums demonstrated guitarist/founder Thom Youngblood’s adroit ability to meld classical orchestration and progressive metal, a skill that will undoubtedly allow him to create a Trans- Siberian output of his own, if not score movies/ TV, when he hangs up the Arthurian moniker. Although, for metalheads, much of the past symphonic-underpinned concept album material, while majestic and emotional, came at the expense of the primordial grit and urgency the heavier arts are known for (require?). Actually, for Ghost Opera the TSO comparison is apt, given the prodigious use of piano, strings (particularly violin), brass instruments and dual sex voices. After the opening ‘Solitaire’ violin intro, the remaining ten tracks barely eclipse 42 minutes. While most of these cuts tease the listener that full-blown speed lurks beyond the first few measures, one can’t help screaming, “Thom, give us longtime fans another guitar scorcher, beginning to end!” Please don’t say the old school approach is too simple to write, watered down or uninspired. Take a page from Nightwish, or your own career, circa the aforementioned Fourth Legacy, and let it rip! Still, the titular selection and a closing ‘EdenEcho’ approach the full gallop of ‘Nights Of Arabia’. The real genius is in the nuances which prevent these all from sounding like previously heard material, be it the strains of Asian melodies in ‘Love You To Death’, Roy Khan’s modulated vocals (some might contend distorting such a voice is tantamount to sin) and staccato industrialized start to the paradoxically entitled ‘The Human Stain’ or brass fanfares, buzzing airplane and female vocals (once again provided throughout by Youngblood’s Mrs., Mari), on ‘Blucher’ (which also sees Khan’s throat distorted) or the music box subtlety of ‘Anthem’. Give it a (ghost of a) chance!