Kamelot - Silverthorn
Power Metal
12 songs (56:20)
Release year: 2012
Kamelot, SPV
Reviewed by Cory
Major event

It is hard to gauge where my expectations for Kamelot’s Silverthorn fell leading up to its release. On the one hand a new Kamelot album is among the most anticipated events of the year, if not the Power Metal event of the year. On the other hand I don’t think I am alone when I say both 2007’s Ghost Opera and 2010’s Poetry for the Poisoned were…underwhelming efforts. With nearly seven years having passed since the release of the monumental The Black Halo, I was forced to curb my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. Would the introduction of new singer Tommy Karevik (Seventh Wonder) provide the proverbial kick in the ass needed? Had Thomas Youngblood rediscovered his penchant for riffs that were largely buried under layers of keys and atmosphere on the previous two albums? The answer, to my surprise and pleasure, is yes and yes.

The first thing to note about Silverthorn is that it returns Kamelot to an area where they have previously enjoyed their most success: the concept album. Like Epica and The Black Halo, Silverthorn is purely driven by a single cohesive story that makes each song relatable to the others, and lends the album a feeling of something grander in the listening experience. The story is a tale of a tragic accident, which haunts two brothers as they attempt to move on with their lives under the shadow of guilt and lies. Indeed, the word veritas (truth) plays a large role and becomes a recurring theme as the story unfolds. Those that purchase the wonderfully packaged special edition will receive a book which provides the story in its entirety, written by non-other than Amanda Somerville (of Aina fame).

On the music side of the equation the band is in their finest form since The Black Halo. While time has been kind to Poetry for the Poisoned and my opinion of it has improved (now a good album, as opposed to just being decent), I still find Ghost Opera to be rather uninspired and boring after the title track. Silverthorn sports an air of inspired song writing. Throughout its length there is more of a riff first approach that gives the album a heavier feel than the previous two albums, without sacrificing any of the Kamelot feel that you expect. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife) is a strong opening track that delivers an infectious chorus, some nice lead work, and which nicely showcases the talents of Tommy Karevik. While I remain a great fan of Roy Khan, and believe that his work with Kamelot will remain their best regardless of what the future holds, in more recent times Khan had become overly dependent on his emotive techniques, namely the use of vibrato and falsetto. While this has been his strength, recently it had gotten to the point where he was dragging words out forever simply to inject them with some vocal flare, and the songs had begun to suffer because of it. Tommy instead opts for a more straight forward and clean approach, while utilizing roughly the same range as Roy (perhaps with a higher ceiling), and the result is a fresh and focused take on what had become a repetitive formula. Kamelot made an excellent choice in naming him the new vocalist, because in doing so they were able to seamlessly move on to a new chapter in their career without hindering what they had already accomplished (as opposed to a certain Finnish group that are once again on the vocalist hunt). Silverthorn keeps up the energy with two more strong tracks in Ashes to Ashes and Torn before stalling a bit with the ballad Song for Jolee. Not a bad song, but in comparison to prior ballads like Don’t Your Cry and Abandoned it just doesn’t measure up. Still, the one two punch of Veritas and My Confession does more than enough to get your head back in the game, with the former featuring a pounding March of Mephisto feel and earning its spot as the best song on the album. The title track is an up tempo Kamelot rocker, but Falling like the Fahrenheit is mostly forgettable. Solitaire is pretty good, not one of the better songs but certainly not filler. Finally Prodigal Son wraps up the album in epic fashion with a sprawling nine minute showcase of what Kamelot does best: delivering a dense and multifaceted listening experience that balances symphonic with driving riffs and a satisfying conclusion to the story. I should note that I thought breaking up the Poetry for the Poisoned suite on the previous album was a terrible idea, and so I am very pleased that this song is structured the way it is, and that it delivers as well as it does.

Kamelot delivered three amazing albums (Karma, Epica, and The Black Halo) in such a short span of time that I think the bar became impossible to live up to. Roy Khan was a huge part of that success, but it became apparent with Poetry for the Poisoned that a change was needed in the status quo. While the addition of Tommy Karevik certainly helped in that regard, it is Thomas Youngblood that continues to steer this ship. With inspired songwriting and some killer riffs, Kamelot has ensured that Silverthorn is a more than worthy album in their discography, and the doorway needed to lead us from an awesome past into a promising future. Fans of Power Metal, or just well done music in general, should have no problem enjoying this album.

Killing Songs :
Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife), Veritas, My Confession, and Prodigal Son
Cory quoted 84 / 100
Milan quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Kamelot that we have reviewed:
Kamelot - Siege Perilous reviewed by Ben and quoted 75 / 100
Kamelot - Dominion reviewed by Ben and quoted 66 / 100
Kamelot - Eternity reviewed by Ben and quoted 50 / 100
Kamelot - Haven reviewed by Joel and quoted 93 / 100
Kamelot - Poetry for the Poisoned reviewed by Thomas and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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