|Review: Kamelot - Ghost Opera|
Year released: 2007
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: May 16, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Well, I don't know what to say about this one. Nobody thought that Kamelot could keep pulling off album after album, but they have. After the enormous Epica I never thought they could reach that kind of level again, but then came The Black Halo, which was in many ways even better. Now we come to part three of this trilogy, the much-awaited Ghost Opera, and while it is a superlative album, it is at least a tiny, tiny step back from their last one.
With The Black Halo Kamelot reached a kind of pinnacle of heaviness, density, and emotional weight, and I suppose there was not much in the way of places to go but in the direction of a somewhat lighter, catchier album. Ghost Opera is not as heavy – musically or thematically – as its predecessor, but I don't want to talk about what this album isn't, I'd rather talk about what it is.
You can really tell they had a full-time keyboard player along for the compositional phase this time, for even though older Kamelot albums had a lot of keys, they were always imitative of other sounds, adding an orchestral feel. This time the keys are very keyboard-sounding, which is not good or bad, it's just different. Overall the compositions are simpler and more direct, with fewer interludes or counterthemes and simpler, catchier choruses. The album is addictively hooky, and you will be singing along after just a few spins. Roy Khan's voice is in fine form, and his sense for delicate, memorable melodies has never skipped. Something that started on the last album and carries on here that I don't care for is all the vocal effects they layered on his voice. I don't listen to this because I want to hear a computer, guys. I want to hear Roy Khan fucking sing. But some of the melodies are so carefully constructed they bring tears to my eyes, so I'll forgive it. As always, the instrumentalism is first-rate, and all the performances are tight and sharp. The production is lighter and less intense than on The Black Halo, and the album has a more upbeat feel.
The only real failure here is the lyrics, which have suffered a severe drop in complexity and intelligence from the last disc. They aren't bad lyrics, but they are very simple for this band, and I have come to expect much better.
This is a fine album, and almost as good as the amazing album it has to follow. But as I think The Black Halo is Kamelot's finest moment, that is no faint praise. Ghost Opera overall feels a bit rushed, but it is still an amazing album that will deservedly occupy many top spots for the year. For Kamelot fans, or fans of Power Metal, or fans of good music in general, a new Kamelot album is always a major event, not to be missed.
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Interview with Khan (vocals) on July 30, 2007 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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