Released: 2010, KMG Recordings
It has been three years since Kamelot’s last album GHOST OPERA was released and now the band’s 9th studio album POETRY FOR THE POISONED is their latest offering. While Kamelot’s brand of power metal has always been impressive, three years is a long time and the landscape has changed considerably. As a result, POETRY FOR THE POISONED might well be the most experimental album in the Kamelot canon and sure to intrigue, frustrate, and delight long time fans.
Album opener “The Great Pandemonium” is a tour de force with aggressive vocals, plenty of experimental electronic noodlings, and exotic middle eastern tones. It is an excellent realization of Kamelot’s experimental side on this album and in many sections, sounds like a different band, but in a good way. As great a track as this is, my personal favorite is the next song, “If Tomorrow Came”, a melodic, mid-paced, and aggressive song, carried come chorus time by Roy Khan’s excellent phrasings and melody line. While the band offers plenty of great material on their own, the guest appearances on this album help lift it a notch. Jon Oliva’ delivers his trademark thespian rasp on “The Zodiac”, a song that could have fit on any of Savatage’s last 4 albums. Amanda Somerville also makes a subtle appearance on this track. Requisite and excellent ballad “House on A Hill” features Simone Simons of Epica sharing vocal duties with Roy. Other guests include Gus G., Bjorn Strid, and Chanty Wunder.
Personally, I really enjoy this album but long time fans might have issues. First the material is a bit darker and more progressive than previous Kamelot outings, and the speedy tracks have disappeared to be replaced by atmospheric and slower tempos featuring a brooding, almost plodding quality in many instances. Second, the album showcases many new ideas from the band leading into several directions that hamper the cohesiveness of the album as it seems they tried to fit everything new in to the album. Still, this is a strong release that deserves the attention is has received, gaining the band the highest chart positions of their career in several countries. Recommended for all fans of melodic power metal.