March 26, 2023
Photo: Nat Enemede

Kamelot is a power/progressive/symphonic metal band from the United States that was put together by the guitarist Thomas Youngblood way back in 1987 and has always followed the same road as the heavyweights of Queensryche, Redemption, Symphony X, Dream Theater and Fates Warning in its very successful career.

We now come to album number thirteen with The Awakening being another stunning power metal album from a band that never, ever disappoints. There have been many changes since they put out the impressive debut Eternity in 1995 which announced the band to the world as a major player with a superior delivery and a cast of simply incredible musicians and, over the years, they have ever grown the name around the globe and amassed a huge army of devoted fans of which I am most definitely one. I’ve always considered them to have a similar style and delivery to the impeccable Dream Theater as they consistently deliver excuisite albums with skill, maturity and devastating levels of musicianship.

The music is complex and totally engaging and draws you into the world of Kamelot which is and always has been a great place to be. Thomas Youngblood is the only ever present but it is a case of freshening up the band’s sound and delivery as each new musician has added to the Kamelot legend so that now we have a band with a magnificent back catalogue, a history to be immensely proud of and an ever-growing glorious future ahead of them. The band has always had tremendous lead vocalists with long stints from Rob Beck, Mark Vanderbilt and Roy Khan and I was very disappointed when Khan left in 2011 but Youngblood knows a thing or two about singers and brought in the immense Tommy Karevik who also fronts the exceptional Swedish progressive metal band Seventh Wonder and he quickly cemented his place in the Kamelot story. Oliver Palotai plays keyboards having been with the band since 2005 with bass from Sean Tibbetts now in his second spell with Kamelot having been with them in 1991/92 and then returning in 2009. The relative new boy on drums is Alex Landenburg having been recruited in 2019 with this being his first studio album although he does feature on the live CD/DVD I Am The Empire – Live From The 013.

The Awakening is another exciting and technical work of darkly progressive metal with a huge symphonic score with the band flirting with orchestral metal as they take the Kamelot legacy and embark upon a new chapter of theatrical rock that shows them to be a truly stellar act very much alongside their peers of Queensryche and Dream Theater. The songs are epic with a portentous feel as they build up the tension to eventually release a spectacular torrent than sweeps all before with the story lines being intriguing and encompassing as they tell new, bold tales of this brave new world we live in but still find time to revisit themes and storylines from earlier works.

As with previous albums they have brought in several guests with an extensive ‘orchestral’ choir as well as liberal use of strings to reinforce the dramatic, symphonic themes. The album begins and closes with short symphonic pieces with the music in between being in the four to six-minute range but all make for a cohesive experience as they blend perfectly well together to make one totally cohesive work of art that totally commands your attention. Kamelot is a band not content to sit on collective laurels as the musicians continually strive for improvement and, indeed, perfection and I am happy to advise that that is exactly what The Awakening is, total, supreme and totally enthralling perfection.

What a band and if you do not know them then start here and work your way backwards and enjoy the process.

The Awakening

  1. Overture (Intro) (1:18)
  2. The Great Divide (4:08)
  3. Eventide (4:15)
  4. One More Flag in the Ground (4:08)
  5. Opus of the Night (Ghost Requiem) (5:48)
  6. Midsummer’s Eve (4:28)
  7. Bloodmoon (4:51)
  8. NightSky (3:24)
  9. The Looking Glass (4:51)
  10. New Babylon (4:19)
  11. Willow (3:52)
  12. My Pantheon (Forevermore) (4:34)
  13. Ephemera (Outro) (2:56)