My first encounter with Kamelot dates back to their 1997 release Dominion, the last album with original vocalist Mark Vanderbilt. In fact, only guitarist and main creative force Thomas Youngblood is still in the band from those days. The record was recommended to me by, and I will never forget him, a guy named Edwin that used to work in HARD 735, the record store where I got all my CDs back in those days. You have to remember these were the times when Amazon was very young and shipping to Mexico from Amazon or anyone else was unthinkable.
Thanks to Edwin, I went from listening to popular bands like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and Megadeth to know and love many others like Rhapsody, Savatage, Angra, Iced Earth and case in point Kamelot. I remember my first thought being why Kamelot with a “K” and not a “C”. To this day, I don’t know that answer but I imagine that it’s either to distinguish themselves or more like due to copyright issues.
But I digress, we’re here for a review of Haven, their most recent release and the second with new vocalist Tommy Karevik. The thing I will say about him is that when Roy Khan suddenly exited and Karevik was announced as the replacement, I was very worried. Being a huge fan of Karevik from Seventh Wonder and being spectacularly impressed by The Great Escape, I felt sad about that band’s demise and felt that his voice did not suit Kamelot’s style at all.
Not only does Seventh Wonder appear to have survived (although I’m still waiting for a new CD release from them) but Haven proves me wrong for the second time. In addition to Haven being superior to its excellent predecessor Silverthorne, Karevik sounds more in tune with the band and the songs. The album is once again produced by the incomparable Sascha Paeth thanks to whom every second of the record shines with detail and passion.
There’s absolutely no fillers on this one, but personal favorites are “Veil of Elysium”, “End of Innocence” and the mellower “Under Grey Skies” where Charlotte Wessels from Delain guest performs. To sum it up, Kamelot has proven time and time again that they belong among the elite of power metal bands out there, and this record does nothing but confirm that. Get it if you don’t already have it.
1. Fallen Star
3. Citizen Zero
4. Veil of Elysium
5. Under Grey Skies
6. My Therapy
8. End of Innocence
9. Beautiful Apocalypse
10. Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)
11. Here’s To The Fall
Tommy Karevik – vocals
Thomas Youngblood – guitars
Sean Tibbetts – bass guitar
Oliver Palotai – keyboards, orchestrations
Casey Grillo – drums
Alissa White-Gluz – female vocals (track 10), growling vocals (tracks 10 & 12)
Troy Donockley – tin whistle (track 5)
Charlotte Wessels – female vocals (track 5), backing vocals (track 9)
Cloudy Yang – choirs, backing vocals (track 12)
Grazia Sposito – choirs
Herbie Langhans – choirs
Sascha Paeth – guitars (additional)
Dennis Hornung – contrabass (1)
Miro – keys (additional) (4, 8)
Thomas Rettke – choirs
Produced by Sascha Paeth
Mastered by Jacob Hansen
Review by Eduardo for Sleaze Roxx, July 2015