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Kamelot - "Silverthorn" (CD)

Kamelot - "Silverthorn" CD cover image

"Silverthorn" track listing:

1. Manus Dei (2:12)
2. Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife) (4:39)
3. Ashes To Ashes (3:58)
4. Torn (3:51)
5. Song For Jolee (4:33)
6. Veritas (4:34)
7. My Confession (4:33)
8. Silverthorn (4:51)
9. Falling Like The Fahrenheit (5:06)
10. Solitaire (4:56)
11. Prodigal Son (Part I: Funerale; Part II: Burden of Guilt (The Branding); Part III: The Journey) (8:52)
12. Continuum (1:48)

Reviewed by on October 25, 2012

"As a whole, 'Silverthorn' is a melting pot consisting of 'Karma,' 'Ghost Opera,' and a pinch of goth from 'Poetry for the Poisoned.'"

In the realm of power/progressive metal, few new albums have had as much hype as Kamelot’s “Silverthorn.” The impatience of waiting from the announcement of a new vocalist in June, the agony of toning down the “fan boi” in me when a song is released in early September, and the salivation after a ten minute press taster, it was a great challenge to any journalist struggling with those dreaded “expectation” levels. Refusal to engage in scanning early European reviews became a must. Having successfully achieved a forced baseline expectation level of zero, would “Silverthorn” score a victory or face the “wrath of Khan”? Well...don’t let me spoil it here...read on!

With Roy Khan out as vocalist, having suffered a wretched case of burnout, the band finally settled on another Scandinavian crooner in the form of Seventh Wonder’s Tommy Karevik. Tommy was already part of the band’s tour with fill in vocalist Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire/Vision Divine) at the helm. As it turns out, Lione was indeed a contender for permanency, but not named, a decision I fully endorse. Why? The same reason the band offered: Lione is too identified with Rhapsody of Fire. As for Karevik, I’m sure someone somewhere will likely criticize the band for hiring a “Khan clone,” but to me he is the perfect vocal replacement. This isn’t to say that Karevik doesn’t put his own uniqueness into his performance. Tommy has a soft, gentle and much higher pitched tone than that of later day Khan, which is delivered with clarity of expression, perfect in the ballad “Song For Jolee” and the ultra-classical power ballad and concluding opus “Prodigal Son.”

For long time fans of the band, “Silverthorn” will harken back to the days of “Karma” and “Epica” with its uptempo feel, especially on numbers like “Sacrimony,” “Torn,” “Solitaire,” and the album’s title track. As a whole, “Silverthorn” is a melting pot consisting of “Karma,” “Ghost Opera,” and a pinch of goth from “Poetry for the Poisoned.” The latter is more a mood reflection given the death surrounding the storyline, so fear not haters of the band’s previous masterpiece (you heard it....masterpiece), you will find little identifiable similarities. With that in mind, Kamelot appears to have successfully killed two ravens with one “silverthorn:” replacing Khan and making a successful course correction from “Ghost Opera.” “Poetry” was beaten a bit too unfairly by some fans and critics for its slow and moody tempo and I imagine “Silverthorn” will do nothing to improve that opinion. I look back at “Poetry” as a gorgeous depressive story, distinctive and brilliant like every Kamelot release.

As a sucker for sweeping symphonic orchestration, it comes as no surprise that “Veritas” is one of the top tracks. Here, the “Silverthorn Choir” (consisting of, in part, Amanda Somerville, Elize Ryd, the great Thomas Rettke, and the late Simon Oberender) shines with sparking brilliance. Here, those little things I love so much creep in, like the splash of accordion from István Tamás. Tracks like “Falling Like the Fahrenheit” and “My Confession” are so vocally engaging, making this one of the most “sing-a-long” albums I have heard in some time. Karevik’s smooth style lulls the amateur vocalist into believing his effortless delivery is easily replicated. The addition of Alissa White-Gluz was a pleasant surprise and the work of Elize Ryd is stunning, but I am partial to Simone Simons and her absence is notable.

The only track that took me a bit off guard is “Ashes to Ashes,” which at first blush has the vocals and music sounding a bit askew, as if Tommy were singing over the opening riff of “Human Stain.” Traditionally, when a song sounds a bit disjointed, repeated listens reveal its true direction and that track eventually grows into a favorite for its bold direction. Here that logic remains true to form.

“Silverthorn” may appear to be a return of sorts to the uptempo styles of pre-“Poetry,” but in reality it is just a continuation of the greatness from one of the finest power/progressive bands in the business. Personal gripe on Simone’s absence aside, the album stands as one of the finest albums released this year. Expectations were fully met.

Highs: Uptempo power/progressive with majestic orchestration and smooth effortless vocals.

Lows: For those sick of the hype, "Silverthorn" is downright normal for Kamelot.

Bottom line: By dodging the "Wrath of Khan" and "returning to glory," Kamelot killed two ravens with one "Silverthorn."

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)