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Review: Kamelot - The Awakening
Kamelot
www.kamelot.com
The Awakening

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2023
Duration: 52:51
Tracks: 13
Genre: Power Metal

Rating:
2/5


Review online: April 13, 2023
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 4.27/5 (85.45%) (11 Votes)
Review

There was a time, like 15 years ago—holy shit—when the release of a new Kamelot album would have been something I got very excited about. Now, long past those glory days, each new album brings to me a feeling of extreme trepidation, as while there are plenty of mediocre bands making overproduced, underwritten albums, this is a band I once loved.

This is an almost entirely new band anyway, as only guitarist Tom Youngblood remains from the old lineup, and the guitars are so steamrollered by the synths and overproduction I don't know what he is even doing anymore—you certainly can't hear much of it. I can't even really fault the performances here, as Tommy Karevik still sounds really good (when he is not buried under effects), and I know from seeing him live that Sean Tibbetts is an amazing bass player. New drummer Alex Landenburg is fine, even if he can't match Casey Grillo's textured complexity.

The real problem is that the songwriting definitely takes a backseat to the production. This band used to live by deft, catchy songwriting, but now everything just sounds like they took the last few albums and ground them up to make new arrangements of old ideas, and then they push everything through a massively overloaded studio job that pumps everything up to 11 with no sensitivity or nuance. It's just overstated bombast from one end to the other, with nothing in the compositions to hang onto—no really catchy choruses or good hooks. Everything just sounds familiar and recycled and mashed into a paste with ProTools until it's such a huge mess I am amazed they can keep track of what song they are even playing. I keep wanting Kamelot to turn around and be the band they used to be, but it's clearly not going to happen.

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