Kamelot really needs no introduction, nor do I want to delve into the history of the band and all the recent line-up changes. I don’t even want to discuss the fact that Napalm Records only offered this promo through streaming. I honestly can’t even think of something witty to say to introduce this review. No, I honestly just want to take this new album as objectively as possible, as if Kamelot were some brand new band that does not have such a glorious heritage. “The Shadow Theory” releases on April 6th, and it’s something of a mixed bag overall.
Kamelot consists, on this album at least, of Tommy Karevik on vocals, Thomas Youngblood on guitars, Sean Tibbetts on bass, Oliver Palotai on keyboards, and newcomer Johan Nunez on drums. The band has been put through the ringer in the last several years as far as the line-up is concerned, but they seem to be weathering the storm pretty well.
The band still offers a mix of metal; generally progressive, power, and symphonic. So, if you have loved the grand melodies, the theatrical performances, and the blast beats in the past, you will not be surprised by anything here. This time around, the band utilizes some light electronic accents, which I do feel adds some more personality to the album. As for musicianship, these guys are as professional and polished as ever, so any problem within this album lies in the realms of conception and composition.
Stepping back, “The Shadow Theory” is a rather good album, maybe the best since Tommy signed with the band. It is solid and offers very little in the way of surprises, and many of the songs will make you want to sing along with them. The intro and outro are suitably epic, and there are even a few songs that I would label as above average. In fact, there are a few tempo and time signature changes scattered throughout the album that are wonderfully fantastic, as they really get your blood pumping.
The album has its ups and downs, though. Some songs barely register for me, while other songs are surprisingly awesome, and still other songs are completely average. For the negative, I really dislike “Phantom Divine” and “Amnesiac”. The former is an okay single with a rather generic sound, but the latter is genuinely annoying and repetitive. Some songs, like “Ravenlight” and “Vespertine (My Crimson Bride)” sound good, but simply don’t stick all that well.
I do like several songs on the album, though. “Burns to Embrace” is a grand song that almost has an old Kamelot feel to it. I even like the children’s choir at the end. “In Twilight Hours” honestly feels like a Seventh Wonder song off the “Mercy Falls” album, which is obviously a great thing. “Static” has a beautiful classical and folk vibe to it, not to mention that wonderful melody that forms its center. “Mindfall Remedy” is a bit cheesy and has some weird harsh vocals, but the tempo shift in the middle feels amazing. Finally, “The Proud and the Broken” is probably the proggiest song on the album with genuine movements and varied structures, and it is probably my favorite overall, as well.
As you can see, Kamelot are able to produce some great music still, but the results can vary somewhat. I’m honestly excited by some of the songs here because they feel like something of a return to form in some ways. So, while I don’t think that fans disillusioned over the last few albums will be clamoring with excitement about “The Shadow Theory”, I do feel like those fans should give this album a chance: They may find something to like here.
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