KAMELOT are just getting harder and harder to box into a genre. When Khan first joined these American Power Metallers, they were just that. A Power Metal band. As of late, they just keep pushing further and further from their foundations and towards a more Modern and Progressive sound. “Ghost Opera” garnered some mixed reviews for this, but this has hardly deterred the band from pushing onwards with this ideology.
Thusly, the band's ninth album (Wow! Already to nine!), “Poetry For The Poisoned,” pushes the experimental elements of their previous effort to the forefront. The band is almost more along the lines of Melodic Heavy Metal than Power Metal anymore with the lack of the “power” and focus on the “epic.” It makes for a rather spunky album listen in its entirety, but songs rarely stand out from one another and all meld into a mid-tempo melodic croon fest that rarely gathers enough energy to pull itself from the gloom of being borderline Gothic.
Part of this is due to the band’s lack of solid guitar riffs on the album. One or two occasionally pop up to catch the ear, but they leave most of the foundations to the rhythm section. This lends to some very interesting guitar/key/vocal melody trades, but it takes a lot of the “power” out of the music and pushes it further down the Progressive slide. It’s one element that I severely missed on the album.
“Poetry For The Poisoned” has its moments here and there, and as an album is something to be admired. Unfortunately, KAMELOT is slowly and steadily moving away from the elements that brought this reviewer into their fan base to begin with. I do have to admit that even in the end, Khan is still one of the best Power Metal vocalists in the scene with his style, but that can’t even save this album from fading into obscurity by the end.
With KAMELOT’s ninth album now sprinting down the Progressive path, it ends up as a disappointment. With some solid moments, it isn’t a total loss of great Power Metal, but it never really picks itself up. It’s rather unmemorable and rarely utilizes its guest performances like it should. Here’s to hoping for a renewed and energetic release for album number ten.
Songs to check out: “Necropolis,” “The Great Pandemonium,” “House On A Hill.”
(Online February 10, 2011)