5th May 2015 – Napalm Records
01. Fallen Star
03. Citizen Zero
04. Veil of Elysium
05. Under Grey Skies
06. My Therapy
08. End of Innocence
09. Beautiful Apocalpyse
10. Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)
11. Here’s To The Fall
“One day I know we will meet again, in the shade of a life to die for.”
Releasing an eleventh album to a legion of adoring fans is an accolade that every band should aspire to – and this is an achievement that multi-national symphonic legends Kamelot have just accomplished with their new record Haven. Whilst Kamelot have historically released records conveying a specific concept, this album goes a step beyond: whilst the themes of apathy, nihilism and dystopian futures are underpinning the tracks, each one is something different from the last.
For example, opener “Fallen Star” is humble, mellow and wistful. Gradually building into the classic guitar-heavy Kamelot sound, frontman Tommy Karevik’s vocal shines immediately. He’s really stepping out of the shadow of previous vocalist Roy Khan, and is set on delivering his own emotional style – a welcome change. As far as album openers go though, it’s pretty uninspired; whilst it’s not a bad track, it’s hardly a great one either – sometimes that is worse.
But on “Veil of Elysium”, the bombastic, fast paced and emotionally-charged Kamelot that we all fell for is back. It’s followed by “Under Grey Skies”, the star of the record. The ballad features Nightwish’s Troy Donockley laying down some flutes and Delain’s Charlotte Wessels adding extra textures a tale of love against all odds. It’s captivating and folky, and to be quite honest, a whole album like this would be beautiful.
The haunting, string-lead “Here’s To The Fall” is something of a melodic intermission before the crushing monster that is “Revolution”, and whilst the former is an act of carefully crafted magnificence, the latter is the polar opposite. With Arch Enemy’s Alyssa White-Gluz lending some of her characteristic screams, it’s an all-out assault on the senses. From bruisingly heavy to delicately sensitive, this track drifts between the two, and commands the attention of the listener: it’s a call to arms; to revolution; to change.
It’s only when revolution is achieved can you reach “Haven”, an orchestral instrumental – a sort of end-credits, comprised of horns and strings that feels like Hans Zimmer has had his paws all over it. And you know what? It’s fantastic, it’s brilliant…it’s just a shame that we had to wait till the end for it to happen.
Haven is in many ways a brilliant record. It carries the weight of a dystopian world and even manages to romanticise it. I don’t doubt that this is largely down to the soulful and powerful vocal of Tommy Karevik, who can make even the most uninspired tracks shine. Haven isn’t a bad record, it’s alright – but it is just that: it’s alright. It has sparkling highs, but it feels unoriginal and safe, which is everything an eleventh album shouldn’t be.