Title: “Ghost Opera: The Second Coming”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 4/8/2008
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Melodic Power Metal fans worldwide rejoiced like never before when Kamelot released “Ghost Opera”, a stunning follow up to their juggernaut of an album “The Black Halo”. “Ghost Opera” was not a concept piece but instead a number of different tales that worked together quite well and the response it received found it becoming nothing short of a masterpiece in the bands catalog. In celebration of the albums success they have chosen to re-issue it with a number of bonus tracks that fans might have only heard in concert and also offer up a healthy number of live tracks. There would be more graphics in the expanded booklet but first let’s revisit our original comments on the album when it was initially released.
“When Kamelot released “The Black Halo” in 2005 they became the new favorite band to many fans of the Melodic Power Metal genre. Even though they had existed for several years previous and had six other albums under their belt they were treated as if they were overnight superstars by some and based on the quality of the album this was all justifiable and well-deserved. They made a smart move by recording this tour and presenting it on the CD and DVD performance release “One Cold Winter’s Night” and once this had been delivered it would be back to the studio to create their next masterpiece. If you are wondering whether lightning could strike twice for the band then let me inform you that it is quite the possibility in my opinion but I will let you determine this for yourself as you enjoy their latest epic “Ghost Opera”. The journey begins anew with a melancholy violin piece called “Solitaire” which leads into the tune “Rule The World” and as soon as the crunching groove on this track begins you are reminded of one of Kamelot’s key appeals as a Metal band – that is in their ability to bring incredible amounts of drama and feel to the music. Yes other bands do this as well, but Kamelot for some reason just seems to have a natural quality to their style when it comes to this being brought forward. I’m confident that the level of drama presented is mainly based on the way that lead singer Khan does his thing for the moment I first heard him perform I was reminded of the way that Geoff Tate affected me as a vocalist on the older Queensryche material. He is as much an actor during the music as he is the bands singer and together with the guitar talents of Thomas Youngblood they work magic for the sake of Metal. The guitarist shines on the release and is destined to continue his own climb as one of the better axe slingers in the genre so pay attention people. The adventure continues onto the thunderous “Ghost Opera” title track with the fast paced drumming of Casey Grillo and steady groove of bassist Glen Barry.
This track is incredible and one of the best offerings on the release and should you have luckily snared a copy of the limited edition, you would be able to enjoy the video for this song as well since its included on a bonus DVD. The CD also finds the bands newest fulltime member in keyboardist Oliver Palotai who makes sure to bring the majestic symphonic elements to brighter life. Altogether we are left with a very full sounding release and while I don’t want to rate this as better than “The Black Halo” because of it being on equal par as far as appeal and quality, I will admit that this comes forth as the next stage in the Kamelot sound. A nice surprise was finding guest stars on this album as they add to the overall appeal of the tracks. Once again we find Epica’s Simone Simons for the track “Blucher” and Amanda Somerville offers up vocal backing on a “Love You To Death” and “Mourning Star”. I can see these particular tracks becoming fast favorites of the fans of these singers and make Kamelot’s star shine ever brighter. “Up Through The Ashes” is a powerful number that brings us back to the time of Christ’s Crucifixion and is sung from Pilate’s point of view as he stands in judgment over him. This dramatic number is on the slower side which works on the subject matters emphasis but the album overall remains heavy throughout and returns to full Metal gallop during “Silence Of The Darkness”. I have to admit that I found the entire album strong and standing up as a worthy next chapter in the book of Kamelot. It has a lot of killer moments to enjoy and like its predecessor “The Black Halo” is an easy to get into CD which allows you to jump on board with what the band is all about.“
Track Listing (Original Release): Solitaire, Rule The World, Ghost Opera, The Human Stain, Blucher, Love You To Death, Up Through The Ashes, Mourning Star, Silence Of The Darkness, Anthem, EdenEcho.
Listening to second CD that’s part of the “Ghost Opera: The Second Coming” was a bit of a spine chilling experience for me as I have seen the band in concert on a number of occasions and hearing them blast over my speakers in the live sense simply brought back a lot of concert memories. The inclusion of all of these tracks makes this part of the CD almost like “One Cold Winter’s Night” Part Two and I am fine with that since the new songs from “Ghost Opera” are worthy additions and great to hear performed live. We don’t get “Up Through The Ashes” or “Love You To Death” which was unfortunate but there is still a nice selection to choose from. I didn’t actually expect them to deliver the entire album live for us, even thought that would have been pretty cool. Simone Simons of Epica returns for “The Haunting” and it was nice that she stopped by. Four studio cuts that were on a couple of the different versions of the original release are here as well some that you might not have heard anywhere before. I could have done without the quasi-danceable remix of “Rule The World”, but perhaps this will find some new followers for the Kamelot cause if it gets played at the right parties or dance halls. All of the live tracks come from a performance in Belgrade, Serbia during the bands 2007 world tour. CD1 features the complete “Ghost Opera” album and also two videos (“Memento Mori” performed live in Belgrade, Serbia and “Human Stain” – the bands second official video film for the album).
If for some reason you don’t already have “Ghost Opera” in your Metal collection then now is the perfect time to correct the error of your ways. Should you have a copy, then its now your duty to offer it up to someone who can enjoy it while you go out and snare the expanded copy. Prepare yourself once again for the glory and majesty of the mighty Kamelot.
Track Listing CD2:
1. Solitaire – live
2. Ghost Opera – live
3. The Human Strain – live
4. Mourning Star – live
5. When The Lights Are Down – live
6. Abandoned – live
7. The Haunting – live
8. Memento Mori – live
9. Epilogue – live
10. March Of Mephisto – live
11. Season’s End
12. Pendulous Fall
14. Rule The World (remix)
Official Website: www.kamelot.com