The Awakening

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Overture (Intro)
02. The Great Divide
03. Eventide
04. One More Flag in the Ground
05. Opus of the Night (Ghost Requiem)
06. Midsummer's Eve
07. Bloodmoon
08. NightSky
09. The Looking Glass
10. New Babylon
11. Willow
12. My Pantheon (Forevermore)
13. Ephemera (Outro)

The role of vocals in KAMELOT — whether handled by Roy Khan and now Tommy Karevik — hasn't required the heavy lifting associated with melodic metal bands of a similar thread, i.e., early HELLOWEEN, RHAPSODY OF FIRE and STRATOVARIUS. The heavily orchestrated quality of KAMELOT's music meant Khan and Karevik could sit comfortably within its framework and subsequently not need to go for those showboating, show-stealing, high-octave moments. It has been a dependable, if not highly successful, formula for KAMELOT since 1999's "The Fourth Legacy". However, the band's new platter, "The Awakening", affords Karevik the spotlight in ways like never before since he replaced Khan in 2012. On his fourth album with KAMELOT, the Swedish vocalist does not disappoint.

"The Awakening" offers KAMELOT's standard unified front of power metal imbued with dominant symphonic elements, albeit with a brighter outlook than previous efforts. This does not suggest KAMELOT have entered the always positive (and loveably) goofy terrain of HELLOWEEN, but cuts like "The Great Divide", "Opus Of The Night (Ghost Requiem)" and "NightSky" provide their share of uplifting moments, namely from Karevik, who usually swoops in with a dramatic, sweeping chorus. The Swede may not be able to match Michael Kiske (HELLOWEEN) or Fabio Lione (RHAPSODY OF FIRE) in an upper-register faceoff, but Karevik is almost always in control and can even hit upon a smidge of aggression when necessary (see: "One More Flag In The Ground").

The perfunctory ballad "Midsummer's Eve" translates well thanks to guitarist Thomas Youngblood's enduring affinity for exotic music, yet "New Babylon" emerges as the album's standout. Featuring AD INFINITUM's Melissa Bonny, "New Babylon" is the exact type of dazzling, soundtrack-ready, slightly pretentious power metal that only KAMELOT can do.

On "The Awakening", KAMELOT continues to refine and perfect what was started on '99s "The Fourth Legacy". It would be a mistake to call the band an acquired taste at this point, their swelling attendance figures suggest otherwise. Instead, KAMELOT has become the all-world, all-encompassing symphonic metal band with few peers outside of NIGHTWISH.

Author: David E. Gehlke
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