Review: Kamelot - Ghost Opera


17 Jul 2009, 16:43

My original idea was to review new purchases I made, but forget that: I'm going to review albums I feel like reviewing, even if I had them for years.
Review #6:
Artist: Kamelot
Album: Ghost Opera
Year: 2007
Label: SPV/Steamhammer Records


1. Solitaire
2. Rule the World
3. Ghost Opera
4. The Human Stain
5. Blücher
6. Love You to Death
7. Up Through the Ashes
8. Mourning Star
9. Silence of the Darkness
10. Anthem
11. EdenEcho
Bonus track(s):
12. The Pendulous Fall
As I said in an earlier review of a Kamelot-album: I'm a fanboy so I can't promise that this will be an objective review. But should a review be objective, I mean: it's my opinion right? Anyway, on to the review:

Ghost Opera can be "difficult" album if you're a long-time Kamelot fan. It's a logical step after The Black Halo, but that also means new elements are introduced and the sound shifts even more away from their original sound, while power metal is still the main ingredient, there are more progressive and symphonic metal elements to be heard than on the previous albums. That doesn't result in a bad album (quite the contrary), but it something you'll have to keep in the back of your mind when you listen to it the first couple of times.

After I first listened to it, I got the feeling the songs were more compact and to the point than the songs on their previous albums. Goodbye to epics like Memento Mori, III Ways to Epica, the Elizabeth trilogy and Nights of Arabia. And hello to more "commercial" (how I hate that word) songs.

It's an assesment I don't agree with anymore. While the songs may sound compact and to the point when you listen to the album the first couple of times, you'll discover more layers in the song as time progresses. Take Rule the World for an example. Didn't care that much for the song when I first heard. But when I started listening to it more often I started to like it way more: the almost anti-rhythmic drumming in the verses, the strings, the backing vocals in the end of the song... I could continue for a while, but I'm hoping you understand what I'm talking about: elements/layers that don't stand out on their own, but become clear after multiple listens.

But it doesn't end there. While I said there are progressive and symphonic metal elements on the album, Blücher en The Human Stain have an almost industrial feeling to it. A lot of people don't like the vocal effects in Blücher, but I think they fit quite well. Blücher also sees the return of Simone Simons (Epica) for some guest vocals. Although not as present and widely announced as on The Haunting (Somewhere in Time), she still does a nice job in creating the right atmosphere for the song.

Mourning Star is another perfect example of Kamelot trying something new. From the moment the synths start in combination with the Gregorian chants you know you're in for something special. I just love this song, can't explain it any other way. The chorus, solo, the aforementioned chants I can't get enough.

With Anthem and Love You to Death we have the 2 (power)ballads of the album. I always have difficulties with Anthem (the ballad without power), it's a good song, but I can't get accustomed to the echo-like vocals on the song. I much prefer the live version of it. Got goosebumps when they played it in Tilburg.

It's not my intention to mention each song to prevent boredom, but I want to mention The Pendulous Fall. Why is this song a bonus track? This song can easily compete with songs like Mourning Star, The Human Stain and Rule the World. It's shame that people who only get the regular edition of Ghost Opera can't enjoy this song (I'm assuming no one downloads, hopeless dream, I know).

So... is this the best album released by Kamelot? No, I don't think so, but it's close (as each album that isn't their best). I do think that Kamelot fans can greatly enjoy this album.

Kamelot progressed and matured. And I can't wait to hear what they are going to do on the next album!
Comments are much appreciated.
What do you think of the album? Or do you have any pointers as to how I could improve my reviews the next time? I'd love to read your opinions.


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