Kamelot: Poetry for the Poisoned
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Kamelot blew me away with their 2005 release, The Black Halo. It was a fascinating mix of power metal, some progressive elements, and a dark edge to the entire experience. However, their follow up release, Ghost Opera, didn't quite live up for me. While I appreciated its continued emphasis on their more progressive tendencies, it just didn't click with me on the same level.
So just where does their latest release, Poetry for the Poisoned fit in? Well, that is a tough question to answer.
There is no question that Kamelot has pushed even further into the progressive metal arena, taking cues from numerous sources. Whether intended or not, the influence I see the most on this release is Ayreon. Perhaps it is emphasis on guest vocals that calls to mind this particular comparison.
That is one area in which this release really shines. Björn Strid lends his harsh vocals to the background of opener "The Great Pandemonium", Jon Oliva's gravelly growl graces "The Zodiac", and Simone Simons is very effectively used on three different tracks. This certainly adds to the album, bringing some variety to the experience.
Musically, Kamelot continues to be as tight as they ever have been. Thomas Youngblood's guitar work is powerful, intricate, yet still tactfully restrained at times. Roy Khan continues his bid as my favorite vocalist of all time by turning in another fabulous performance. The rest of the band, too, performs without any notable flaw.
However, something about the album just doesn't grab me the way I expected. Perhaps it is the almost too varied nature at times. Perhaps it is too much emphasis on the keyboards. Whatever it is, Poetry for the Poisoned has yet to catch my attention and take hold of me the way The Black Halo did. It is still an admirable effort, but not one that lives up to my personal expectations.
Final verdict: Explore it
I get the sense that Poetry for the Poisoned will be one of those albums that grows on the listener. There is a lot going on (almost too much at times), and a fair bit to digest. However, there just isn't anything really powerful that jumps out and grabs me from the start. I am warming to the album. Time will tell if I adore it, but thus far, I just don't yet.