I think it's an open secret that KAMELOT is one of my favourite bands ever. Now "Epica" is their sixth album to date and the fourth one with Khan on the microphone. And they have taken on quite some lyrical challenge, inspired by Goethe's Faust, a piece of German literature that you could compare to Shakespeare for the English speaking world.
Anyways, on to the music and if you know the previous album(s), then you will know that KAMELOT's sound is a great brand of European Power Metal clear of any pomp of sappiness, but acting on a damn high quality level that many bands should take as benchmark for their own sound.
The congenious songwriting team of Khan and Thom Youngblood has come up with an album that at the same time stays close to KAMELOT's very own sound and takes up new and fresh ideas to make "Epica" an album to witness for yourself to take in.
The three Americans with Norwegian singer extraordinaire again have managed to adequately transfer the quite high-standing lyrical content into their music, which first starts with a pretty unusual intro, but once the first notes of "Center Of The Universe" start to sound, it becomes evident that we are dealing with a really outstanding album here that shows KAMELOT at their most varied, with furious Power Metal passages as well as calm moments, bringing some dynamics into the sound that just cannot leave any genre-fan unaffected.
Put into the right sound by trusted producer duo Sascha Paeth and Miro, the quartet has created their most diverse album to date, with choirs, excellently used female vocals to accentuate and also take over the role of Helena, but without overdoing any of those elements, forging everything together into very dramatic and dynamic compositions of the likes of "Farewell", "The Edge Of Paradise", "A Feast For The Vain", "Lost & Damned" or "The Mourning After (Carry On)", or also the calm "On The Coldest Winter Night" and "Helena's Theme". The DigiPak also features a bonus track with "Snow" that does not stand back to the regular tracks.
And also the courage to use such a historic/big piece of literature like Faust (just like JAG PANZER with Shakespeare and SYMPHONY X with Homer's "Odyssey") in Metal, which is great in my opinion, because it for one is a great change to the usual stuff and secondly also brings stuff like this towards a broader audience, especially if combined with such excellent songs. And another bonus of the Digi is an excellent multimedia section with all kinds of stuff, which is a definitive must for all KAMELOT fans!
So in the perpetual race of bands for the first place in their genre KAMELOT are on the passing lane and leave the rest of the mob coughing in their dust... (Online February 19, 2003)