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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Reviews: Kamelot, Malefice, Graveyard

Kamelot: Silverthorn (SPV)

Melodic metal band Kamelot return with a third concept album about a young girl's murder and cover ups and it is also the first release with Tommy Karevik of Seventh Wonder fame replacing the long-term vocalist Roy Khan who left in 2011. The album is pure Kamelot of old, symphonic, majestic and filled with some excellent musicianship. There are choirs, orchestrations and guest female vocals, with the lovely Elize Ryd of Amaranthe and The Agonist's Alissa White-Gluz both contributing. The drums and bass are propulsive on the rockers and understated on the ballads. The guitars of Thomas Youngblood are as fantastic as usual and he has brought back the guitar solos in a big way and Oliver Palotai's keys are melodic and weave fantastically with the guitars also providing his fair share of solos. Changing singers can be a bands downfall however I already know how talented Karevik is due to his work in Seventh Wonder and he is the perfect replacement for Khan as his voice has the same mid-ranged sonorous voice that Khan possessed meaning that very little has changed vocally. After the choral intro the opening track Sacrimony (Angel Of The Afterlife) has all of the Kamelot hallmarks and has all of the three vocalists interplaying brilliantly with Karevik's operatic delivery contrasting with Ryd's haunting classical style and White-Gluz's guttural roars. The rampaging style continues until the haunting Song For Jolee which shows just how good Tommy's vocals are on slower tracks. The pace shifts throughout the album with a mix of rampaging metal and big ballads before the organ drenched 8 minute epic ends the album in truly awe-inspiring style. Like with nearly all of Kamelot's albums the production comes from Sascha Paeth and Miro (who also helps with the orchestrations) and has the same clean style that they are known for. This is Kamelot returning to their classic best after the slightly patchier Poetry For The Poisoned took them into some unknown territory. Concise, powerful and full of pomp this new album could be the start of a second classic era for the band. 9/10

Malefice: Entities-Anniversary Edition (Metal Blade)

British ragers Malefice have remastered and re-released their debut album on the back of their meteoric rise in the metal circles. As this was originally released in 2007 it was always going to sound different to their newest release Awaken The Tides however what is evident is how different it is, this is the sound of a band chomping at the bit, young, hungry and ready to show the world. The album is produced by Justin Hill and Dan Weller of Sikth (with Weller providing guest vocals on Dreams Without Courage). The band are far more aggressive on this album without the years of touring and refinement it means that they have an early Killswitch Engage style with some very violent death vocals and less clean delivery than they have now. Having not heard the original I don't know how good the remaster is but the album sounds bright and modern. The band thrash, blast beat and breakdown through the 12 (original tracks) broken up by two short instrumentals. The additional track Reasons Lost added to this re-release shows how they made the jump to their sound now. Its metalcore sound is of its time but this is a piece of Malefice history and is fitting to show how far they have come since its original release. 7/10  

Graveyard: Lights Out (Nuclear Blast)

The psychedelic Swedes return with their third full length and its more doomy 70's psych rock, lots of fuzzy jangling guitars, jazz drumming and lashings of Hammond organ (especially on opener An Industry Of Murder) this is followed by the gothic soul ballad of Slow Motion Countdown which has a very dark, slow beat and the fractured vocals of Joakim Nilsson ring over the top. This is an album of riffed up retro rock from a band that are truly making waves in the rock world and you can see why the band have all the hallmarks of classic 70's rock the bluesy, bass heavy boogie of The Suits, The Law & The Uniforms through the punky Endless Night and the very Nick Cave sounding Hard Time Loving all of which come together to make this another very good album from the Swedes as it features many of the songs that will sound electric live (this is where the band really shine). Good old school psychedelic hard rock with some new little elements here and there thrown in for good measure. 7/10  

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