|Melodic Power Metal, Progressive Power Metal
Steamhammer / SPV Records
October 30th, 2012
Release length: 56:19
The production is handled well, sticking with the rather sleak sound that Kamelot often has going for them. The guitars have a mid-range depth that is a bit blunt and often drowned out by the heavily dominant bass guitar, as well as the clicking bass kicks that are podded up louder than they should be, effectively creating a thud to them when mixed over the aforementioned intrusive bass guitar. Sadly, this can sound awful in the faster pieces. The snares of the kit sound pretty good though, having a tighter, thicker sound that is complimented by crisp cymbals at about the same volume level. The vocals, unfortunately, can get really lost in the mix thanks to those obnoxious instruments, but overall still is heard over much of the performance with clarity and a slight echo that adds a little more emotion that is desperately required.
That isn’t to say Tommy’s performance isn’t good. In fact, he does a fantastic job and sounds breathtaking with a beautiful voice that can make even the most hetero of males swoon with envy. The album single, “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)” is a fantastic track to put it on display with. The subtle symphonic score that appears in the chorus and some bridges across a slower, somewhat more emotional softer clean singing performance with heavier instruments behind it to adds some extra edge. However, it’s the chorus that sticks out the most, being an infectious and instantly memorable powerhouse. There’s also the harsh and clean female vocals from Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist that mix in quite well. But, for as enjoyable as this song is, it has its faults, including the obnoxious bass kicks and other instruments that cause the levels and music to simply sound hectic, as well as the conclusion that just suddenly ends and cuts to a girl humming against acoustic chords with an altered echo “choir” meant to be children singing “Ring Around the Rosie” for about forty seconds that go from left to right speaker really fast, while sounding as if being performed through a working fan.
There’s also “Torn” which finds a stronger bass presence that isn’t as obnoxious, utilizing some additional keyboard effects like a rhythmic static, to its advantage. The chorus is uplifting and about as passionate as “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife).” The overall song is a little simpler, focusing on some subtle middle-eastern riffs in the verses and some passages, as well as a stronger singing performance to really capture the listener’s attention and refuse to let go. “Solitaire” sticks out nicely too. The slower main verses offer a little more fluid complexity from start to finish, and the chorus shifts in nicely with a subtle heaviness that finds the bass kicks pounding away, but sounding a lot better for some reason. The leads towards the end have a beautiful upbeat tone that works perfectly with the highly infectious chorus, and the restricted vocal performance works well to capture the atmosphere the song is establishing, leaving this a song that is full of tear-jerking potential, but ultimately just can’t deliver.
Sadly, Tommy is just not all that effective a replacement for Roy, as the emotion and passion that is necessary for the other gothic atmospheres required to be as beautiful as possible simple doesn’t exist, or is at a very limited range. “Solitaire” is a superb example of this. Sadly, this leads to many songs sounding rather generic. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean they’re all bad. “My Confession” is instantly catchy with some simpler keyboards that kick things off and shift into piano notes later on, immediately bobbing your head along to the beat before it slows down again, a typical shift from an introduction on many tracks throughout. The bass isn’t as intrusive and works quite well due to how limited it is in the mid-tempo song that shifts from a darker beauty to an upbeat modern-touch, an ill-fated atmosphere established periodically that conflicts with the early 1900’s era atmosphere that seems to exist, or at least what I seem to perceive through the music here and on other tracks. “Falling like the Fahrenheit” is another of the passionate tracks the album has to offer, a slower track that often treads into ballad territory. The slower main verses sound good, but of course the chorus is the more powerful aspect, offering richer music each time. Sadly, the song itself isn’t that amazing, and the vocals really just lack the range to keep it alive. The random upbeat Progressive Metal solo to hits around the four minute mark also adds some confusion, violating the world the band was working on maintaining from the start. Something similar happens towards the end of “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife),” but it works enough with the progression of the music and it’s placement in the much more powerful climax.
Sadly, Silverthorn really only carries a few strong tracks at the beginning, and they are plagued horribly with out of control volume levels, an issue that does taper off when the darker, heavier, faster music dwindles to more generic Power Metal at a slow to mid-pace. There’s nothing too new throughout, and it just screams emotional Kamelot of recent years, just less grand and attention grabbing. While Tommy’s vocals are breathtaking and easy to listen to, they lack a great deal of range all around, especially in the emotion and passion that has become a Kamelot staple. But, even if you look past the vocals and can accept it as a whole new concept, even then there’s the somewhat generic, and often unimpressive, even patterned music to contend with. Easy to get into riffs, conflicting atmospheres, keyboards that don’t suit the environment, and the many cheesy, unimpressive songs that appear later are a disturbing sign from a band so full of potential. Silverthorn probably won’t meet the expectations of Kamelot‘s fans, but it in no way will be an album they, or anyone else will quickly dismiss.
01. Manus Dei – 2:11
02. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife) – 4:39
03. Ashes to Ashes – 3:58
04. Torn – 3:51
05. Song for Jolee – 4:33
06. Veritas – 4:35
07. My Confession – 4:34
08. Silverthorn – 4:51
09. Falling like the Fahrenheit – 5:06
10. Solitaire – 4:57
11. Prodigal Son – 8:52
part I – Funerale
12. Continuum – 4:17
|Overall Score: 6.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Steamhammer / SPV Records.