Powerful live magic
They're funny things live albums, I'm fairly sure no one buys one on a whim so if you're reading this and considering buying then you already know most of the songs. So what is it that a live album has to deliver to make it worth your cash when you already own the songs? Songs I hasten to add that have been recorded with loving care during weeks in a studio squeezing every last drop of quality from the 300 channel mixing desk. In a live album you're buying lower quality versions of songs you already own.
A live album has to capture the essence of the concert, give you the feeling that if you were not there you wish you were. To add a different dimension to familiar material by injecting it with raw live energy. Not as easy as it sounds.
This release from Kamelot bristles with that energy, it draws you in and by the time 'Centre of the Universe' rolls around (track 5) has you fighting the urge to make devil horns at the CD player. I played it loud as a nuclear blast and fervently wished I had been present, Kamelot has delivered a live album that any fan would be a fool to miss.
After releasing a peerless album in the shape of 'The Black Halo' last year they shot to the top of the power metal pyramid and this live disc takes in seven songs from that album. That doesn't mean older material is ignored though, the songs go back as far as 'Nights of Arabia' from 1999's 'Fourth legacy' album and had me singing along with complete abandon.
As you can see from the track listing a good smattering of older songs get an airing and there's time for a few solo's too, good stuff.
Actually there's a definite progression from the older material to the newer stuff which shows how the song writing has matured over the years with newer songs having a more progressive structure and the older stuff just galloping along like a runaway horse, it's a strength I hope they can continue to build on in the future.
The quality of the recording has to be heard to be believed, it's possibly the sharpest live recording I've ever heard; too many times live releases sound muffled or just plain crap because you can't discern what's going on. Is that a guitar or a keyboard?
Kamelot have captured lightning in a bottle here and given all the instruments space to shine without one overpowering the other. Khan has one of the best voices in rock and he also gets plenty of room in the mix to shine, you'd need a very bad mix to overpower him anyway, he's up there with Bruce Dickenson and Geoff Tate in the titanium larynx stakes.
There are guest singers and musicians joining Kamelot for certain songs such as singer Simone Simons from Epica and guitarist Sascha Paeth who just happens to be the producer of 'The Black Halo' amongst other Kamelot albums.
So, with a top quality recording and a band playing to a level beyond 'expert', a fantastic selection of their back catalogue including the epic 'Elizabeth' from the 'Karma' album what are you waiting for? Go out now and buy the thing, play it loud and wave those devil horns around your house like you were there, you'll wish you had been.