Fire Within: Thomas Youngblood of Kamelot

Cover Artwork by Stefan Heilemann

Cover Artwork by Stefan Heilemann

 

Kamelot have just released a new album, Haven, on their new label, Napalm Records. Taylor Phelps caught up with the bands’ venerable co-founder Thomas Youngblood on their tour bus outside the Worcester Palladium to discuss the all the new changes with the band’s business, the creative process of writing with guest musicians, and the history of Kamelot. Videography by MasterPhelps Photography.

US-2015Kamelot Dragonforce tour poster leg one

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Taylor Phelps and Thomas Youngblood, by MasterPhelps

Taylor Phelps and Thomas Youngblood, by MasterPhelps

On The Road… with Kamelot and Dragonforce

US-2015Kamelot Dragonforce tour poster leg one

Fresh on the heels of their just released new album Haven (Napalm), Kamelot has embarked on a US tour with Dragonforce. This is the first of two legs of this joint bill the two bands will take part in this year and both bands seem evenly matched musically and with their respective fan bases. The first few shows of the tour have reportedly been packed affairs with both bands taking inspired turns at performing their challenging material. Haven, is one of the deepest and most diverse albums Kamelot has released in their career, and it showed in their choice of their new set list. While they are just starting their new album-tour cycle, Dragonforce is still out supporting last summer’s Maximum Overload album (Metal Blade). New front man Marc Hudson is now at home on stage and on record, and it shows. Captured at the Worcester Palladium by Nick Phelps of MasterPhelps Photography for Ghost Cult, you can see the bands put on quite the show.

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

 

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Kamelot, by MasterPhelps Photography

Dragonforce, by MasterPhelps Photography

Dragonforce, by MasterPhelps Photography

Dragonforce, by MasterPhelps Photography

Dragonforce, by MasterPhelps Photography

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Kamelot – Haven

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Haven (Napalm), American Power Metal band Kamelot’s eleventh studio album and second since the departure of Roy Khan, is an album that sounds like a musical at heart, like it was fastidiously crafted to be performed on Broadway. Its stylings and symphonic groundings and Tommy Karevik’s leading man performance all point to it, and so effective is their dramatic voice, perhaps taking their work to the theatrical stage is the next step they need to take to fully realize a legacy that has been consolidated by consistency.

Historically, the Floridians have always been walked on safe, and not the wild, side. A touch of fantasy, a host of symphonics, with soaring, immaculate vocals on top, they have always delivered and always sounded utmost in their professionalism and musicianship, but never truly excited; a band that, while most definitely best in class (though perhaps by default), are at times too slick and lack the insanity/genius of a great.

The heady mix of Savatage, Dream Theater and Queensrÿche coupled with effective symphonics and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical theatrics is near-perfected in opening duo ‘Fallen Star’ and ‘Insomnia’, up there with the best tracks of the bands’ career, but it is with ‘Under Grey Skies’ and the addition of Charlotte Wessels’ (Delain) dreamy vocals and Troy Donockley (Nightwish)’s tin whistle that matters bloom and the full epic musical scale of the vision for the album begins to be realized. It sails close to the Eurovision ballad wind, but it’s a beautiful song fully suited to a soundtrack or a musical. Elsewhere, downtuned staccato rhythms underpin grandiose unveilings and Karevik dispels any notions that the band can’t succeed without Khan with an assured performance; actor, narrator, singer, frontman and further proof that the line between Kamelot’s albums and musical theatre is a thin one.

All the previous criticisms can apply: this is a slick, professional band, but on Haven Kamelot have once again verified they are best in class, and have found an emotional connection. No longer cold to the touch, they are bringing to life their vision most effectively and with genuine zest. While retaining all the expected hallmarks, it is most definitely meticulously put together (if the devil is in the detail, then Haven is positively Satanic) but there is something more to it; something exuberant bubbling through. You would expect a band entering their third decade to have the requisite chops, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to be injecting such vitality and vigour into the mix.

 

7.5/10

Kamelot on Facebook

 

STEVE TOVEY