|Sunday, 30 April 2006|
For several years now Kamelot have fascinated their fans with their own brand of melodic power metal, vocalist Roy Khan's charismatic voice and Thomas Youngblood's powerful and at the same time intricate guitar work.
Along with drummer Casey Grillo and bassist Glenn Barry, the band's trademarks are unmistakeable. At the same time, Kamelot have continued to redefine their sound, year by year, tour by tour, album by album.
After a year of song writing, pre-production, recording, mixing and mastering, Kamelot's most recent offering, The Black Halo was released in 2005. The Black Halo mixes typical Kamelot characteristics like melody, speed and classical orchestrations with new ideas and fresh influences.
"In addition to the complex subject matter, The Black Halo sounds tougher and darker than our previous releases, without dramatic alterations to our style," comments Roy Khan. "We've put even more emphasis on a dynamic guitar sound, tailoring it to the concise and carefully written songs."
As usual, Khan and Youngblood started to work on the material early, allowing enough time for the production team to develop the intricate arrangements in their full splendour. The continuation of their Faustus adaptation about the battle between good and evil that began on the predecessor album, Epica, again combines Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's opus with the band's own experiences and views.
The story is as multi-layered as it is deep, and it works on several levels. "This part is clearly more complex than the previous one; it deals extensively with political, cultural and religious events at Goethe's time, and there is no obvious red line through the story. On The Black Halo however there are many cross references relating to our own lives, fragments of private experiences and our political opinions, like of the war in Iraq."
As would appear fitting in view of the ambitious theme, Kamelot were supported by various guest musicians during the recordings of The Black Halo, including Shagrath, vocalist of Dimmu Borgir, Stratorvarius keyboard magician Jens Johansson, Simone Simons, vocalist of Dutch act Epica, Mari (Masqueraid), and the Kamelot choir.
The opener, the gripping mid-tempo number 'March of Mephisto' features a sensational meeting of Kamelot, Shagrath and Johansson. "This song embodies the album's atmosphere," Khan explains. "On the one hand you have Kamelot's typical stylistic means, then Shagrath, the frontman of the world's currently most important black metal band, and an amazing solo by Jens, whose "violininstic" approach represents the devil's instrument." Another impressive track is 'Memento Mori' with around nine minutes playing time, Kamelot's longest number not only on The Black Halo but also in the band's entire history.
Khan: "An epic, bombastic track that stands for the end of the concept, but not for the end of the album; a little piece of art in itself." We don't need to mention the fact that next to unusual tracks, there are also typical Kamelot numbers along the lines of 'Soul Society', which feature the speedy, powerful and at the same time deeply melodic and melancholy side of Kamelot.
"We are always reaching for new sounds and goals with our music, but remaining true to our roots and the "Kamelot Sound" that we have created over the years", says Youngblood.
The Black Halo was produced mainly at the Pathway and Gate studios in Wolfsburg under the direction of Sascha Paeth and Miro. It deals with, according to Kamelot with Love & Wonder, Life & Death through the eyes of Kamelot themselves.
In support of the new album the band went on tour through Europe and Japan during the first leg of the Black Halo World Tour 2005, they played headliner shows with Epica and Kotipelto as support. In Japan the support was Silent Force. They also played on the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany and the Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium.
In 2005 they shot their first music videos ever, for the songs The Haunting (Somewhere In Time) and March Of Mephisto from the album The Black Halo. Both videos were shot by acclaimed director Patric Ullaeus. The 5th of October 2005 saw the addition of Oliver Palotai as the fifth official band member, Oliver will handle both keyboards and (additional) guitars.
On the second leg of the Black Halo World Tour they visited North and South America (USA, Canada, Brazil) as well as Europe (The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Norway). During this part of the tour the bands forthcoming live DVD was shot, with the main concert being shot on February 11th, 2006 at Rockfeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway.
HISTORY: Kamelot was founded by Thomas Youngblood and Richard Warner in 1991. They signed a recording contract with Noise Records in 1994, releasing their debut, Eternity, the following August. The press praised the album as one of the most promising first offerings ever. 1996 saw the arrival of Dominion, an album that sounded even more varied and diverse than its predecessor.
In spring 1997 Kamelot replaced drummer and co-founder Richard Warner and lead vocalist Mark Vanderbilt with Casey Grillo and Roy Khan, respectively who joined the group during the production of Siege Perilous. In autumn of the same year, the new line-up embarked on an extensive European tour and returned to the Gate studios in Wolfsburg twelve months later to work on their fourth studio effort, The Fourth Legacy.
In summer 2000, Kamelot's first live album, Expedition was recorded during the New Allegiance tour, which took them to the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Spain. Only a few months later, Khan, Youngblood, Grillo and bass player Glen Barry presented their fifth studio cut, Karma and embarked on a European tour.
Epica arrived in 2003, followed by another tour as Headliners in Europe, Japan, Mexico and the US as well many Festival appearances.
Date of Birth: March 12th, Pisces
Hobbies: Reading, wildlife, working out/sports, hanging out with friends and more music.
EQUIPMENT: Vocal chords, a variety of keyboards and Sennheizer or EV microphones
Date of Birth: May 29th, Gemini
Hobbies: Not much time for hobbies! Computers I guess.
EQUIPMENT: ESP Horizon II ESP Custom Eclipse, ESP Viper, Takamine Classical, Ampeg VH-140C Amps, Line 6 HD 147 Heads, Line 6 FBV Pedal,Boss Pedals, TKL Cases, JIMY Picks/Custom Heavy, Sennheiser Wireless System
Date of Birth: November 15th, Scorpio
EQUIPMENT: Harke 4-10, 1-15 cabinets, Harke 5000 series amp, Musicman 4 string bass, Ernieball strings (medium)
Date of Birth: October 16th, Libra
Hobbies: Recording, Composing.
EQUIPMENT: GMS Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, DW pedals
Date of Birth: March 17th, Pisces
Hobbies: Reading, Sleeping.
Keyboards: Yamaha Motif Series
Guitars: Fame and Gibson
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