"The Black Halo
" is the seventh full length release from Kamelot
and continues the formula they began to perfect with "The Fourth Legacy
" and on through their last great release "Epica
". To my surprise this one is even better than their last one and makes me wonder how good can these guys get! This one is another concept and in fact is part two of the "Epica
" story about Ariel which is based loosely on Gothe’s Faust
. The dark and complex progressive elements that made Epica
so good is even more intense here. However, this is still power metal but done Kamelot
style which is classy, melodic and addictive.
“The Black Halo
” starts off with an immediate punch in the gut with the aggressive "March Of Mephisto
” letting us know right away of the more aggressive riffing and the bolder production. As on "Epica
" the first three songs are the opening suite. One thing to note is the return of the “interludes” and sound effects in between some of the songs that to some are distracting. I find them less so on this one than “Epica
” though. "March Of Mephisto
” has the first of several guest appearances appearing in the chorus with grunts from Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir
and keyboard solos courtesy of Jens Johansson
. “The Haunting” features an appearance of Simone Simmons from Epica
in a duet with Roy Khan that could almost be a radio hit but is still a great piece of songwriting, The tough job discussing this release is the quality of ALL the tracks and how complete it is from the speedy “Soul Society” to the mandatory power ballad “Abandoned
” but each track is so well done.
Guitarist Thom Youngblood’s playing here is top notch as always but more aggressive this time with a more robust tone. Roy just gets better and better and Casey Grillo’s underrated skills keep everything very tight and makes this release as good as it gets in this genre. The depth and layers in the production are very impressive and this is the best sound the band has had yet. It’s easy to say this is just another Kamelot
but as of now it’s easily their BEST one with much replay value and great playing and singing. The essential ingredients to a time tested great power metal album!