Ryan Murray | Co-Owner | Chief Editor | Contributor
Kamelot, one of the most eminent and distinguished names in modern symphonic metal are set to release their 13th studio album “The Awakening”, and you aren’t going to want to miss this album! Successfully blending elements of symphonic metal, melodic metal and power metal, this album is bigger and more epic than expected. This album sees massive choruses, soaring, yet eloquent vocals, and an incredibly well mixed and balanced sound!
To say that the bar has been raised is an absolute understatement. Going even bigger than tracks like “Veil of Elyssium” off of Haven, “The Black Halo” off of “The Black Halo”, and “Seal of Woven Years” off of Poetry for the Poison, Kamelot has created what in my view is their biggest and best release ever.
“The Awakening” is their most ambitious and contemplative work to date, provoking a deep, inner reflection for anyone listening. Not only has the band gone bigger and even better than The Shadow Theory, I also feel that there is a bigger emphasis being placed on the presence of the guitars/bass, which really makes the album even heavier.
If that’s not enough, the orchestration throughout the album from beginning to end is also massive, yet never overpowering the band. The presence of the orchestration simply adds more incredible layering and atmosphere to an already great sound. For me, this album shows Kamelot at their highest peak yet, which just shows the band constantly raising the bar with each new release. This album feels like an incredibly relentless cinematic score from beginning to end which you won’t be able to get enough of.
With guests such as Ad Infinitum’s Melissa Bonny on the epic score-like “New Babylon”, Grammy award nominated cellist Tina Guo on tracks such as the epic “Opus of the Night” (Ghost Requiem) and the Celtic influenced “Midsummer’s Eve”, and the renowned violinist Florian Janoske also on “Midsummer’s Eve”, this album is sure to hit every check mark, and then some!
“The Awakening” also marks drummer Alex Landenburg’s first original recording with the band! Youngblood has said of Landenburg – “extremely creative, cool, and positive. The drums on this record are amazing, and he definitely brings invigorating energy and chemistry to what we do”.
The haunting, yet epic and eerie “Overture (intro)” offers a glimpse into what we can expect from this massive effort with increasing orchestrations and epic synths leading into “The Great Divide”, a track that truly honors what Kamelot has to offer, but yet shows an undeniable growth to the band’s sound as well.
The dark, crushing, yet hope-stirring track “Eventide” sees an emotional, yet eventual loss of a loved one, but yet offers hope in that we’ll one day perhaps see our loved ones again.
Two of the singles off of this album release “One More Flag in the Ground” & “Opus of the Night” (Ghost Requiem)” sees two absolutely epic, stadium ready tracks. “One More Flag in the Ground” sees a track about defeating mental illness and living strong and free from the stigma that surrounds it. Not only is there incredible vocal layering from JUNO award-winning musician/producer Brian Howes, but this track also has a bit of a middle-eastern vibe to it. “Opus of the Night” (Ghost Requiem)” sees an incredible call and answer guitar solo in response to Guo’s hauntingly beautiful cello solo.
Impressively beautiful, yet powerfully emotive tracks such as “Midsummer’s Eve”, a Celtic-like ballad that features incredible violin from Janoske and a chilling cello solo by Guo, and “Willow”, an absolutely beautiful track, is brimming with a yearning and reflection on good memories. These two tracks offer a glimmer of hope. The guitar solo in “Willow” is reminiscent of solos right out of the 80’s, I just wish it was a little bit longer, because it sounds incredible!
Cuts like “Bloodmoon”, also tinged with a middle eastern vibe, boast incredible melodies, soaring vocals and riffs that easily have you coming back for more, while “NightSky” has a more synth-driven atmosphere, boasting a much more modern sound, with increasingly intense backing choir vocals throughout.
For all you prog fans out there, the synth-driven, but more progressive metal track on the album, “The Looking Glass”, is packed with a modern edge with incredible riffing and an incredible vocal performance from Karevik.
The two tracks that really stand out for me have to be “New Babylon” and “My Pantheon (Forevermore)”. While “New Babylon” boasts classic Kamelot, it also massively raises the bar with an even bigger, fuller sound. With vocal guest Melissa Bonny of Ad Infinitum, this track is even more elevated with Karevik’s vocals intertwining with Bonny’s incredibly well. Bonny’s vocals are absolutely incredible, adding even more depth to this track. “My Pantheon (Forevermore)” has incredible guitars and massive orchestral arrangements, but to say that the band is okay with just using a formula to get a desired sound would be to not know the band at all. This track has got to be one of the heaviest songs I’ve ever heard from Kamelot, with some really intense harsh vocals with even more modern heavy riffing, surrounded by incredibly tight double kick pedals from Landenburg’s drums.
Closing this incredible voyage is the pensive, yet hauntingly beautiful closer “Ephemeray (outro)”, an all out epic track that is soundtrack worthy with how big it is.
“The Awakening” is releasing Friday, March 17th via Napalm Records. Be sure to pre-order your copy HERE!
“The Awakening” Tracklist:
01. Overture (Intro)
02. The Great Divide
04. One More Flag in the Ground
05. Opus of the Night (Ghost Requiem)
06. Midsummer’s Eve
09. The Looking Glass
10. New Babylon
12. My Pantheon (Forevermore)
13. Ephemera (Outro)