Kamelot – Haven (2015) Kamelot – Haven (2015) – If you’re not aware of Kamelot, then shame on you and you should listen to some of the band’s recordings before you read the rest of this review. That’s because you’ll need to know where they’ve been to understand where they’re going on Haven.
The band still mix melodic metal with progressive and gothic/operatic influences, as well as an occasional dose of extreme metal as we’ve heard on their latter material. But let’s get the cat out of the bag first… Personally, I didn’t care much for Silverthorn at all. (That contrasts the MA score of 83% to the score of 78% for this album.)
It just didn’t sound like Kamelot to me and I was quite upset after longtime frontman Khan dissolved from the act after Poetry For The Poisoned. But oddly enough, it sounds like current frontman Tommy Karevik is in part channeling the vocal style of Khan, which to me comes off quite intriguing. In other words, he’s good at emulating the style and it, of course, works with the style that the band have been playing for several years now. It’s hard to believe they’re still at it and with just as much force in their later years as they’ve arguably had in their prime era.
The record comes packed with dark-orchestral fare, pounding drums (and you can really hear them pounding a great deal throughout the album) and extravagantly catchy choruses, which is one of the main reasons people listen to acts like this in the first place. Kamelot have always been able to deliver a chorus and that hasn’t changed with Haven.
For instance, “Citizen Zero 5:49” and “Veil Of Elysium 3:54” come literally one after another with potent choral lines, which become lodged in one’s cranium quite quickly. But once again, that’s what I want to hear from Kamelot. Who wants to hear a record that isn’t memorable? Not I.
Charlotte Wessels (Delain) guests for “Under Grey Skies 4:52” which is definitely one of the most mature approaches I’ve heard from the Delain frontwoman since I was first introduced to the band. It doesn’t sound like a bubble gum pop song, as much as it sounds a passionate piece. There’s a big difference in the two and Kamelot have captured that perfectly. “Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) 5:54” lets out the dragon, as the heat and fire of the cut manage to melt my shield and armor to bits, along with Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) who lets out a fearsome harsh vocal utterance amongst her clean vocal musings on the track.
I’ve no doubt that clean vocals on the next Arch Enemy would result in a mutiny, so I sort of expected her to use them on this record. But it’s “Revolution 4:49” that really makes for a death metal push, similar to what they did with black metal and Shagrath on The Black Halo. Despite these much heavier moments, the album still has a few light ballads like the orchestral “Here’s To The Fall 4:04” and the aforementioned “Under Grey Skies 4:52” so there’s a stable balance of fire and ice in play here.
At the end of the day, this truly feels like a progression from Silverthorn and showcases an act that isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel yet. Nor should they, not with a record this pleasing at any rate. I wasn’t really sure as to whether or not I was ever going to be interested in these guys again after Silverthorn, but Haven certainly seems to have changed my mind. Perhaps it will do the same for you as well.
(13 Tracks, 54:00)