by Christophe Pauly
- Photojournalist –
November 6, 2012 at Trix Antwerpen in Belgium –
Xandria will perfrom 20 shows as special guest of US melodic metallers Kamelot – along with two more support acts, Canada’s Blackguard and Triosphere from Norway.
Marco Heubaum – Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Gerit Lamm – Drums
Philip Restemeier – Guitar
Manuela Kraller – Vocals
Xandria Concert Photo Gallery
by Christophe Pauly
- Photojournalist –
November 6, 2012 at Trix Antwerpen in Belgium
Kamelot, one of the most influential, exciting and innovative Metal acts in recent history, has announced their highly anticipated return to Europe on the heels of their new album Silverthorn. The tour began in Eindhoven, The Netherlands on November 2nd, 2012, and the band will take their spectacular show to over 20 top venues and cities in Europe. Kamelot’s new album, Silverthorn, is the followup to Poetry for the Poisoned, which was released on September 10th, 2010, by earMusic/KMG Recordings.
Thomas Youngblood: guitars, backing vocals
Sean Tibbetts: bass
Casey Grillo: drums
Oliver Palotai: keyboards
Tommy Karevik: lead vocals
Elize Ryd: guest-vocalist
Alissa White-Gluz: guest-vocalist
Rule the World
When the Lights are Down
The Great Pandemonium
Center of the Universe
The Human Stain
Song for Jolee
Drum Solo (Casey Grillo)
Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
Keyboard Solo (Oliver Palotai)
March of Mephisto
Kamelot Concert Photo Gallery
by Justin Gaines
- News Editor/Senior Columnist –
It’s been an interesting couple of years in the Kamelot camp. Longtime vocalist and Roy Khan abruptly left Kamelot almost immediately after the progressive/power metal band’s 2010 album Poetry for the Poison was released, leaving the band to fulfill its touring obligations with fill-in singers like Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire) and Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus) before finally deciding on Seventh Wonder singer Tommy Karevik as their new front-man. Considering the role Khan played, not only as the voice of Kamelot, but as a key songwriter and part of their overall image, it’s no exaggeration to say that all eyes (and ears) are on the band’s latest album – Silverthorn – to see if the Kamelot magic is still there.
The obvious question is how does Karevik measure up, and is he a worthy successor to Khan. It takes maybe half of the first (non-instrumental) song “Sacrimony” to determine the answer, and that’s a resounding yes. Seventh Wonder fans already know that Karevik has a great range and is capable of conveying both power and emotion. Honestly, the band may have done him a disservice by having him try to fit Khan’s vocal mannerisms here (and apparently his wardrobe). It ought to be a real eye-opener when the band writes an album that takes full advantage of what he has to offer.
Of course this album is about more than just a new vocalist. Poetry for the Poisoned was not very well-received by fans or critics, so there was additional pressure on the band to make an album that would maintain the very high standard set by previous Kamelot releases. Fortunately, Silverthorn measures up quite well, quickly steering away from the darker, more sinister Poetry for the Poisoned sound and back towards the grand and dramatic feel of Ghost Opera and the Black Halo. It’s all about the interplay between the powerful melodies, pounding rhythms, sweeping orchestral elements and dramatic, emotional vocal performances, and in every one of those areas the band is in top form. Thomas Youngblood has come up with extremely addictive melodies as well as some very intense solos, and he and keyboardist Oliver Palotai seem to have an uncanny knowledge of just the right time to pass the spotlight back and forth between their two instruments. They each get to showcase their talents and it never once seems needlessly technical or over-indulgent. Through it all bassist Sean Tibbets and drummer Casey Grillo prove why they’re one of the genre’s best rhythm sections.
As with the previous few Kamelot releases, Silverthorn features some impressive guest performances. This time around the band is joined by singers Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Alissa White-Gluz (the Agonist) and Amanda Somerville (Trillium), the string quartet Eklipse as well as producers Sascha Paeth and Miro, who contribute guitar and keyboards, respectively. Each guest adds another dimension to the album’s overall sound and scope.
Silverthorn is an extremely cohesive album, with each song maintaining the album’s overall story and tone, but it does have some songs that stand out more than others. Chief among them is “Sacrimony,” the album’s first single, which instantly calls up the classic Kamelot vibe and makes a very effective introduction of the band’s new singer. The tranquil “Song for Jolee” is another highlight, thanks to an absolutely gorgeous performance by Karevik that’s probably the one moment on Silverthorn that recalls his work in Seventh Wonder. The wickedly catchy melodies and strong vocals make “My Confession” another highlight. The album starts to flag a bit towards the end, but finishes strong with the nearly 9-minute epic “Prodigal Son.”
In terms of Kamelot’s other releases, Silverthorn is definitely a step above Poetry for the Poisoned and is probably on par with Ghost Opera. It doesn’t reach the heights that the Black Halo did, but it’s not unreasonable to expect this revitalized band to top that in the years to come. Silverthorn is a very strong progressive/power metal overall, and while it’s probably cliché to say it grows on you, that’s very much the case. Each time you spin it – and you’re going to have this one on repeat for a while – you come to appreciate it even more. For those who might be on the fence about Kamelot without Khan; you can relax. It’s still Kamelot; they just have a better vocalist now.
Edition Notes: It’s fairly common practice to see “special editions” of new albums that come in a digipack and have a live song or demo tacked on as a bonus track. Kamelot took this to a whole new level with the Deluxe Edition of Silverthorn. Inside the surprisingly hefty box, you’ll find the main album (in a thick and gloriously illustrated digibook), a bonus disc with the instrumental version of Silverthorn (in a much less glorious cardboard sleeve), another sturdy digibook with the full Silverthorn story and large photos of the album’s guest stars, and finally a nice poster of the band. This set really puts the “deluxe” in Deluxe Edition, and is well worth the extra dollars over the standard version. Even those who have moved on to the MP3 format ought to be impressed by this one.
Genre: Progressive Metal, Power Metal
Thomas Youngblood (g)
Casey Grillo (d)
Oliver Palotai (k)
Sean Tibbets (b)
Tommy Karevik (v)
1. Manus Dei
2. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
3. Ashes to Ashes
5. Song for Jolee
7. My Confession
9. Falling Like the Fahrenheit
11. Prodigal Son
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5/10 (album), 9.5/10 (deluxe edition)
by John Kindred
- Publisher –
Sept. 27, 2012 at the Beaumont Club in Kansas City, Mo.
Nightwish’s Imaginaerum North American tour rolled through Kansas City on Sept. 27, with special guest Kamelot. Interestingly enough, only several days after the concert, vocalist Anette Olzon and Nightwish parted ways. Whether amicable or not, there wasn’t any onstage tension that precluded this sudden change in direction by the band. Former After Forever vocalist, Floor Jansen, has stepped in to fill the void left by Olzon’s departure, allowing the band to complete its scheduled tour.
Kamelot also has traveled down a similar road recently, as singer Roy Khan left the band a few months back. His replacement, Seventh Wonder’s Tommy Karevik, became the band’s new singer on June 22. The band features founding members Thomas Youngblood (guitars) and Sean Tibbetts (bass), drummer Casey Grillo, keyboardist Oliver Palotai and guest-vocalists Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz. Preparing for the release of their new album Silverthorn in late October, the band currently is introducing Karevik to their fan base as they open up for Nightwish.
Performing an abbreviated set, the band promptly took the stage at 8 pm. The American symphonic metal band may not have been the focal point for many of the fans in the attendance, but that didn’t stop Kamelot from bringing their A-game. Kamelot opened their set with “Rules the World” and instantly was met with an enthusiastic response from the crowd. While time was a factor, Karevik worked the stage, engaged the audience and absorbed the energy within the venue, and then he casted it back into the crowd. Master shredder Youngblood was in fine form, delivering searing solos and crunchy rhythms.
The band performed their new song “Sacrimony” from the upcoming Silverthorn studio album. They also played “Ghost Opera,” “Human Stain” and handful of other songs. The highlight, though, was “March of Mephisto,” with which they closed out their set. The song’s driving rhythmic pulse provided by Tibbets and Grillo, anthem vocals and blistering guitars served up a fantastic live rendition of the song. Although their set was about an hour in length, Kamelot did the best they could under the circumstances. It was nice to see them finally stop in the Midwest and unleash their metal might.
Kamelot set list:
1. Rule the World
2. Ghost Opera
3. The Great Pandemonium
4. Humain Stain …. Karma
5. Drum Solo
9. March of Mephisto
Nightwish took the stage soon after. Not being a huge fan, still I was intrigued about how their musical delivery would unfurl in the live setting. Their musical compositions generally are lavish excursions, with layers of instrumentation. The band, at least on this night, comprised keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vourinen, drummer Jukka Nevalainen, bassist Marco Hietala and vocalist Annette Olzon.
What was apparent from the get-go was that the keyboards were the lead instrument, guiding the music of Nightwish. Throughout the set, the guitars played a supporting role to the music and provided a layer of rhythmic crunch to the keyboard melodies. Hietala and Nevalainen laid down a heavy groove for all involved to play over. While Olzon handled a majority of the lead vocals, she often shared her duties with Hietala, who provided a gritty metallic growl to her soulfully sweet delivery.
The crowd was extremely charged to see their heroes hit the stage. The energy carried over from Kamelot performance, and the intensity in the audience definitely went up a few notches. Except for a drunken heckler in the audience, everyone was respectful of each other and the youth of America displayed a genuine passion for European symphonic power metal. The band delivered a flawless performance.
Nightwish set list:
2. Wish I Had an Angel
5. The Siren
6. Slow, Love, Slow
7. I Want My Tears Back
8. The Islander
10. Last of the Wilds
11. Planet Hell
12. Ghost River
13. Dark Chest of Wonders
14. Over the Hills and Far Away
15. Song of Myself
16. Last Ride of the Day
by Chris A.
Staff Writer –
A Trip to Hell: The 70,000 Tons Of Metal Day 3
The Cayman Islands
On Wednesday, the heavy metal sailors woke up to find the ship slipping into its anchoring position off the coast of the Grand Cayman Islands. Small tenders soon shuttled several hundred black-clad tourists from the ship to the docks, where we passed through an almost invisible customs inspection. On the island, the metal heads were greeted by an assortment of tours, food, shopping and activities.
During the six hours we had on shore, popular activities included taking tours, such as “Hell,” a small town on the island that featured strange rock formations like demons from Hell. Our crowd fit right in, and Hell apparently was quite a popular destination. Also high on the list were the Rum Cake Factories. which offered generous samples of flavored rum and rum cakes. Before long, everyone on the island was smiling. For many, the only place to go was Seven Mile Beach, where you could hang out on the white sand or snorkel off the shores with stingrays. Others opted for a turtle hatchery, where sea turtles were hatched and eventually released into the Caribbean Sea.
Booze, food and jewelry also beckoned the visitors from more than 50 nations. With four cruise ships in the harbor, the long-haired, black-clad heavy metal sailors attracted great attention. Perhaps the image that best sums up the guests from the 70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruse to the Caymans is the photo of the young man on the beach, flashing metal in front of a “666” that was made out of rocks in the sugary-white, warm sand.
After a day on the island, it was party time on the boat. Bands took to the stages starting at 6 p.m. with Overkill performing on the pool stage, and the day closed out with Tankard at 4:45 a.m. The following day.
Day 3 bands included: Overkill, Pestilence, Stratovarius, Annihilator, Crowbar, Exciter, Nightwish, Children of Bodom, My Dying Bride, Vicious Rumors, Kamelot, Kataklysm, Moonsorrw, Samael and Tankard.
70,000 Tons of Metal Day 3 Photo Gallery
by Chris A.
Staff Writer –
A Sea of Blood: The 70,000 Tons Of Metal Day 2
Steaming toward the southwest, with the coast of Cuba visible on the horizon, Day 2 of 70000 Tons of Metal resumed with abandon. For the next 18 hours, there would be a nonstop assault of metal on the ship’s three stages, with 27 bands scheduled to perform. At 10 a.m., with temperatures approaching 80 degrees on the main pool stage, the first band of the day would be old-school thrashers Whiplash with Crowbar set to close the day’s action at 4:15 a.m. the following day.
It was a day of head banging, drinking and running around the ship as the 2,000 fans went from venue to venue, navigating the narrow corridors with pits stops at the bar and casino. Catching all the bands was impossible, of course, but the atmosphere, beautiful weather and the utter variety of bands kept a smile on everyone’s face. Day 2 was nothing short of kick ass.
Day No. 2 performers included: Whiplash, Megora, God Dethroned, Diamond Plate, Exciter, Spiency, Orphaned Land, Tankard, Suffocation, Pretty Maids, Atheist, Kamelot, Stradivarius, Amorphis, In Extremo, Therion, Kataklysm, Annihilator, Children of Bodom, Virgin Steele, Venom, Riot, Hammerfall, Pestilence, My Dying Bride, Dark Funeral and Crowbar.
70,000 Tons of Metal Day 2 Photo Gallery
by John Kindred
Kamelot’s ninth studio release, Poetry For The Poisoned, continues on in the vein of the band’s previous studio albums, ’06′s Ghost Opera and ’04′s Black Halo. Merging power and progressive metal with orchestral and operatic themes, the mystical land of Kamelot is yet again ready to be rediscovered. Guided by the hands of Thomas Youngblood and vocal prowess of Roy Khan, the band heralds the return of original bassist Sean Tibbetts. Alongside drummer Casey Grillo and keyboardist Oliver Palotai, the quartet continues its musical journeys.
Poetry For The Poisoned features 14 tracks. The title track comprises a four-part mini-epic. Track three, “Dear Editor,” is a vocal monologue with subtle background instrumentation and sound effects that lead into the song “Zodiac.” The album is highlighted with special guests who lend their talents to the music; Simone Simons (Epica), Gus G. (Ozzy, Firewind), Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork) and Jon Oliva (Savatage, Jon Oliva’s Pain).
The audio atmosphere on Poetry For The Poisoned can best be described as a dark, heavy, moody and emotional journey. This ominous feel carries over from the previous two releases, which, as with this album, were produced by Sascha Paeth and Miro. Recorded at Gate Studios in Wolfsburg, Germany, the preliminary writing phase for the band began at a remote and isolated location in Norway, which formed the album’s foundational framework. As with previous albums, the band merges elements from a diverse pool of influences and blends them into their Progressive/Power Metal repertoire.
From a compositional viewpoint, the music has evolved down the same path as Ghost Opera. The band moves forward with the willingness to experiment with different sounds and styles, and that helps set them apart from their peers. Guitarist Thomas Youngblood demonstrates his growth in his tasteful solos, which are highlights of the music and not busy distractions. His solo on “Zodiac” has a very Stratocaster-bluesy vibe and displays a different side of the player. Roy Khan’s voice also sets the band apart from other “power metal” bands. He always sings with conviction and has a strong emotional side that makes the listener want to focus on the lyrical story that he unfolds before them. The strength of the band also is felt within the confines of the rhythm section, which is provided by the drum and percussion of Grillo and the return of bassists Tibbetts. And let’s not forget the atmosphere and melody that keyboardist Palotai provides. His work wraps the music up in a nice, harmonious package for listeners.
Jumping into a track-by-track, song-by-song breakdown isn’t necessary. Fans of the band know what to expect: The unexpected with an understanding that Kamelot’s foundation is alive and well within its new music. Rediscovering Kamelot’s pre-2004 works has been interesting, but hearing the continuous musical evolution from ’04 onward shows a band that is unwilling to settle for living in the past.
Genre: Progressive/Power Metal
Thomas Youngblood: Guitars, Backing vocals
Roy Khan: Lead vocals
Sean Tibbetts: Bass guitar
Casey Grillo: Drums
Oliver Palotai: Keyboards
1. The Great Pandemonium (feat. Björn “Speed” Strid)
2. If Tomorrow Came
3. Dear Editor
4. The Zodiac (feat. Jon Oliva & Amanda Somerville)
5. Hunter’s Season (feat. Gus G.)
6. House On A Hill (feat. Simone Simons)
8. My Train Of Thoughts
9. Seal Of Woven Years
Poetry For The Poisoned
10. PT I Incubus
11. PT II So Long (feat. Simone Simons)
12. PT III All Is Over (feat. Simone Simons
13. PT IV Dissection (feat. Amanda Somerville)
14. Once Upon A Time
Label: KMG Recordings
Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10