Released: 1998, Noise Records
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any websites were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
I remember years back reading an interview with one of the guys from Kamelot who felt the title SIEGE PERILOUS was too complicated and confusing and felt it hindered the bands chance at broader success. I was amused by this statement as the two simple words would only be confusing to a child or uneducated person. SIEGE PERILOUS is a great title! In hindsight, that comment might well apply to the record buying public in the USA in the mid to late 90’s, namely the average mouth-breathing, knuckle dragging Pantera fan. However, it was Europe, not America that was to be enchanted and conquered by the uber-smooth, progressive Power Metal of Kamelot.
SIEGE PERILOUS was more of the same (that’s a good thing) with it’s glorious, regal and epic cover art and subtle refinements and improvements to the band logo. The band tracked another ten songs with Jim Morris at Morrisound studios and Noise was happy enough to release the album for them. There were two major changes that resulted in the band starting it’s upward trajectory. First drummer and founder Richard Wagner left the band. A drummer leaving a band may not, under most ‘normal’ circumstances, be that big of a deal. I mean, sure if Neil Peart left Rush or if King Folwley left Deceased it would be a big deal, but let’s be honest, a drummer leaves a band and often only the die-hard fans (and drummers) notice. Wagner’s departure was a bit different for two reasons. One, Wagner wrote all the bands lyrics, so there was a change on that front. Secondly, he was replaced by a technically superior drummer; in the form of Casey Grillo. Not that Wagner was poor by any means, just Grillo is better.
The next, perhaps more significant change was the loss of singer Mark Vanderbilt and the entry of singer Roy Khan. Hailing from Norway, Khan had made his mark in the respected but short-lived Progressive Power Metal band, Conception, who were label mates on Noise records. Khan also started to co-write much of the material with founder and guitarist Thom Youngblood adding new influences. Aside from that he was also a classical trained opera singer, a major score for any Power Metal band.
So now Kamelot had a new singer, new co-writer, a new lyrical thrust and a powerhouse new drummer. Alone, one of those factors may not have had such an impact on the band but combined it made a significant difference for the sound and style of SIEGE PERILOUS. It was the break they were waiting for, now a European label and an experienced European singer, the door was opened to that market to a larger degree, instead of their exile by circumstance, being based in Florida. The changes worked the band started to tour in Europe even more to support the album.
With SIEGE PERILOUS the similarities in delivery to Fates Warning Queensryche were downplayed and the band took on a new urgency and intensity, largely driven by the more aggressive drumming of Grillo and the intense vocal delivery of Khan. The album opens with a mid-paced effort called ‘Providence’, but should have started with the classic, speed-driven cut ‘Millennium’, showcasing Grillo’s talent and complex work on the cymbals. The orchestral elements are still present especially on the introduction to songs such as the mid-paced and atmospheric track, ‘Where I Reign’ which is brought in by a brief flute solo. Overall, the song-writing became a little more dynamic and adventurous making for a bigger, more bombastic sound. Much of SIEGE PERILOUS sounds epic and bold, without just resorting to long songs to get that epic feel.
SIEGE PERILOUS was the first of a very strong run of six albums in 10 years for the band with a stable line-up, every album and tour slightly bigger than the last, until 2007 when the band took a three year break, which was by their standards is a long time between albums. SIEGE PERILOUS is a fantastic album showcasing the new sound and it was the introduction of the ‘Golden Decade’ for Kamelot.