Kamelot – I Am The Empire – Live From The 013

Kamelot – I Am The Empire – Live From The 013
Napalm Records
Release Date: 14/08/2020
Running Time: 97:12
Review By Beth Jones
10/10

You know when you finally get round to paying attention to a band that you should have paid attention to a long time ago. And then when you do, you feel like the dumbest decision you ever made was leaving it until now to do that. Well…um…yeah, that. I know, I know!! I will hold my hands up and you may throw rotten fruit at me and call me an idiot for leaving it this long to pay attention to American Symphonic Metal aficionados, Kamelot. But please rest assured that this sort of oversight will never happen again!

This most recent release is an epic live album, featuring their performance at the legendary 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands. It features 21 extraordinary tracks, with guest appearances from some renowned names, and spans an extensive nearly 100 minutes of play time. And I’m guessing that you may have already worked out from my score, that, for me, this is 100 minutes of pure extravagant joy!

The album begins with a triumphant instrumental overture, befitting of any good Arthurian film to accompany a riding sequence, with Arthur and the knights traversing rocky terrain. What better way is there to open a show for a symphonic metal band by the name of Kamelot, eh? None I tell thee!

From there we travel through hit after hit of grand melodies, from new songs to classics, encompassing intricate harmonies, powerful rhythms, and insatiable instrumentation that fills every beat with drama and beauty. We’re also treated to guest appearances from the likes of Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Lauren Hart (Once Human) and Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Epica and more)!

But for me, the aspect that gives me those excited, ‘tingles down the spine’ moments, is Tommy Karevik’s stunning vocals. They are both powerful and effortless, with a richness and purity that could melt even the coldest heart. If there is some kind of heavenly Eutopia for us to pass over to in the afterlife, I sure hope this is the soundtrack.

One track that particularly stands out for me, and displays these silky vocals perfectly, is ‘Here’s to the Fall’. In a change to the pacey and orchestrated masterpieces that have bathed us to this point, this ballad is more stripped back. It doesn’t have face melting solos, or earth-shattering power drumming. It is a melancholic piece with the perfect marriage of Piano and vocals at the forefront, backed up with strings and gentle bass. It has the feeling of a great operatic aria, steeped in sadness, somewhere in the middle of a Broadway musical, where one of the lesser main characters has departed before their time. Being a huge fan of musicals and all things dramatic and operatic, and a big old emotional softy, this ticks all the boxes for me! And god, that voice!!! I have gone all melty.

Now, my usual gripe with live albums is the production/annoying crowd noise/bits where the vocals disappear in the mix etc, etc. But, because this album has been mixed and mastered by Sascha Paeth, none of this is applicable – everything is placed perfectly, every instrument cuts through at the right level, and the vocals sit beautifully throughout. Even the crowd noise works! It’s like they’re an extra facet to the band, and it really makes you feel like you are there, immersed in the whole live experience! At one point there is a section where, I’m guessing, the band got the crowd to do the old ‘Which side can shout the loudest’ routine, and even this is panned between the left and right channels to give you the correct feel of it! Attention to detail like that is what makes great production stand out.

So, to the bad points. There are none! It’s perfect. That’s the shortest paragraph I’ve ever written.

“I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” is available in digital format, as well as CD digipak, Deluxe Box (including the album), Blu-Ray/DVD, and vinyl. I would suggest that if you like Symphonic Metal, Power Metal, Operatic Metal, Musical Theatre, or simply just want something bloody marvellous to listen to, then you should invest in this album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Transcendence (Intro)
02. Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire) – feat. Lauren Hart
03. Rule The World
04. Insomnia
05. The Great Pandemonium
06. When The Lights Are Down
07. My Confession – feat. Eklipse
08. Veil Of Elysium
09. Under Grey Skies – feat. Charlotte Wessels (live premiere)
10. Ravenlight – feat. Sascha Paeth
11. End Of Innocence
12. March Of Mephisto – feat. Alissa White Gluz
13. Amnesiac
14. Manus Dei

15. Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife) – feat. Alissa White Gluz & Elize Ryd
16. Drum And Keys Solo
17. Here’s To The Fall
18. Forever
19. Burns To Embrace – with Children’s Choir including Thomas Youngblood’s son
20. Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) – feat Alissa White Gluz
21. Ministrium (Shadow Key)

LINE-UP:
Thomas Youngblood – guitars
Tommy Karevik – vocals
Oliver Palotai – keyboards
Sean Tibbetts – bass
Alex Landenburg – drums

LINKS:
www.kamelot.com/band/
www.facebook.com/kamelotofficial
www.instagram.com/kamelotofficial
www.twitter.com/KamelotOfficial
www.youtube.com/kamtv
www.vk.com/kamelot_official

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

The New Roses – Nothing But Wild

The New Roses

The New Roses – Nothing But Wild
Napalm Records
Release Date: 02/08/2019
Running Time: 51:10
Review by Paul Monkhouse
8/10

Germany’s The New Roses are a bit of a conundrum and, much to their credit, have so much more depth to them than the casual glance at the new album would give the impression. The snarling wolf artwork, the album title and the opening track all give the impression that these guys are the Teutonic version of Airbourne (in itself, not a bad thing) but as the rest of the album unfolds you’re taken on a very rich journey across a shifting landscape that is much more akin to America than their own home country.

The very rough and ready ‘Soundtrack of My Life’ kicks off the album in true rebel rousing style, kicking up dust and powering you headlong into a furnace of hard rock that comes over like the wild child of Aerosmith at their most kinetic. Thinking that this full on assault is the way that the album is heading, ‘Can’t Stop Rock and Roll’ is a real turn for the unexpected as it’s much more commercial Stadium Hard Rock and third track ‘Down By The River’ has a real Tom Petty/Kid Rock feel to it, bringing memories of happy hazy Summer days. ‘Nothing But Wild’ has a real bluesy Southern kick to it and ‘Heartache’, with its great chorus, would be the perfect soundtrack to dusty road trips, stopping off at roadside bars that smell of beer, chilli and violence.

No rock album aiming for the stadiums would be complete without a big rock ballad and ‘The Bullet’ certainly ticks that particular box. This track could have been written and performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd such is its country tinged, wide screen appeal and you can almost imagine the video, all sepia tinted flatbed trucks, blonde haired high school sweethearts, sunsets and campfires. ‘Running Out Of Time’ is anthemic and joyous and the pace increases for the heavy ‘Unknown Territory’ with its elements of classic hard rock and tinges of New Wave. Similarly ass kicking are ‘As The Crow Flies’ and ‘Give And Take’, the former that takes you from highways to arenas and beyond whilst the latter revels in a ten-million-dollar confidence swagger.

Ballad Number 2 crops up in the shape of ‘The Only Thing’ and ‘Meet Me Half Way’ is another great country number that really shows the quality of the songwriting once again, if any reminder is needed. ‘Glory Road’ rounds off things with another slab of stadium rock that Jon Bon Jovi or Bryan Adams would be proud of. Acoustic bonus tracks ‘Down by the River’ and ‘Fight You Leaving Me’ give you another glimpse of the songs and would be a perfect addition as a mid-set unplugged section for future tours. As mentioned, it’s a somewhat oddly paced album style wise and it will be interesting to see if the next album heads more towards the heads down cranking it up of ‘Soundtrack…’ or the ‘track to break into America’ of everything else. It’s nice to say that the album grabs you because of what it is, rather than what it isn’t, The New Roses certainly defying any expectations and in that lays their genius. Great songs, excellent performances and a band that absolutely begs to be seen live! Everyone needs a bit of good time rock ‘n’ roll in their lives and The New Roses deliver that in spades.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Soundtrack Of My Life
02. Can’t Stop Rock’n’Roll
03. Down By The River
04. Nothing But Wild
05. Heartache
06. The Bullet
07. Running Out Of Hearts
08. Unknown Territory
09. As The Crow Flies
10. Give And Take
11. The Only Thing
12. Meet Me Halfway
13. Glory Road
14. Down By The River (Unplugged Bonus Track)
15. Fight You Leaving Me (Unplugged Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Timmy Rough – Vocals/Guitar
Norman Bites – Guitar
Hardy – Bass
Urban Berz – Drums

LINKS:
https://thenewroses.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheNewRoses/

https://www.instagram.com/thenewroses/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAq1qDH8UemNCfWBFFhgXBw

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.