Kamelot are a band you can rely on! For several years now, they’ve fascinated their fans with their own brand of melodic power metal, vocalist Roy Khan’s charismatic voice and Thomas Youngblood’s powerful and at the same time intricate guitar work. Along with drummer Casey Grillo and bassist Glenn Barry, the band’s trademarks are unmistakeable; each of their albums is marked by superior compositions and an impressive technique. At the same time, Kamelot have continued to redefine their sound, year by year, tour by tour, album by album. After a year of songwriting, pre-production, recording, mixing and mastering, Kamelot’s next masterwork is finally ready. Their latest offering is called The Black Halo and mixes typical Kamelot characteristics like melody, speedo and classical orchestrations with new ideas and fresh influences. “In addition to the complex subject matter, The Black Halo sounds tougher and darker than our previous releases, without dramatic alterations to our style,” comments Roy Khan. “We’ve put even more emphasis on a dynamic guitar sound, tailoring it to the concise and carefully written songs.” States guitarist Thomas Youngblood
As usual, Khan and Youngblood started to work on the material early, allowing enough time for the production team to develop the intricate arrangements in their full splendour. The continuation of their Faustus adaptation about the battle between good and evil that began on the predecessor album, Epica , again combines Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s opus with the band’s own experiences and views. The story is as multi-layered as it is deep, and it works on several levels. “This part is clearly more complex than the previous one; it deals extensively with political, cultural and religious events at Goethe’s time, and there is no obvious red line through the story. On The Black Halo however there are many cross references relating to our own lives, fragments of private experiences and our political opinions, like of the war in Iraq.”
As would appear fitting in view of the ambitious theme, Kamelot were supported by various guest musicians during the recordings of The Black Halo , the most renowned among them Shagrath, vocalist with Dimmu Borgir, and Stratorvarius keyboard magician Jens Johansson. The opener, the gripping mid-tempo number ‘March of Mephisto’ features a sensational meeting of Kamelot, Shagrath and Johansson. “This song embodies the album’s atmosphere,” Khan explains. "On the one hand you have Kamelot’s typical stylistic means, then Shagrath, the frontman of the world’s currently most important black metal band, and an amazing solo by Jens, whose “violininstic” approach represents the devil’s instrument." Another impressive track is ‘Memento Mori’ with around nine minutes playing time, Kamelot’s longest number not only on The Black Halo but also in the band’s entire history. Khan: “An epic, bombastic track that stands for the end of the concept, but not for the end of the album; a little piece of art in itself.” We don’t need to mention the fact that next to unusual tracks, there are also typical Kamelot numbers along the lines of ‘Soul Society’, which feature the musicians from their speedy, powerful and at the same time deeply melodic and melancholy side. "We are always reaching for new sounds and goals with our music, but remaining true to our roots and the “Kamelot Sound” that we have created over the years", states Youngblood.
The Black Halo was produced mainly at the Pathway and Gate studios in Wolfsburg under the direction of Sascha Paeth and Miro.Guest musicians, next to Shagrath and Johansson, are Simone Simons, vocalist with Dutch act Epica, Mari (Masqueraid), and the Kamelot choir consisting of Herbie Langhans (7 th Avenue), Amanda Somerville-Scharf, Miro, Gerit Göbel, Thomas Rettke (Heaven’s Gate) and Elisabeth Kjaernes plus additional guests. “I’d like to give a special mention to Cinzia Rizzo, who sings in Italian on the intermezzo ‘Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso’, adding an authentic cabaret feeling to that part,” says Khan.
The Black Halo deals with Love & Wonder, Life & Death through the eyes of Kamelot.
The band’s seventh effort, The Black Halo, was released in 2005. To support the new album the band went on tour through Europe and Japan during the first leg of the Black Halo World Tour 2005, they played headliner shows with Epica and Kotipelto as support. In Japan the support was Silent Force. They also played on the Bang Your Head!!! Festival in Germany and the Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium.
In 2005 they shot their first music videos ever, for the songs The Haunting (Somewhere In Time) and March Of Mephisto from the album The Black Halo. Both videos were shot by acclaimed director Patric Ullaeus. The 5th of October 2005 saw the addition of Oliver Palotai as the fifth official band member, Oliver will handle both keyboards and (additional) guitars.
On the second leg of the Black Halo World Tour they visited North and South America (USA, Canada, Brazil) as well as Europe (The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Norway). During this part of the tour the bands forthcoming live DVD will be shot, with the main concert being shot on February 11th, 2006 at Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway. The shoot will be handled by Patric Ullaeus and promises to be full of surprises for all the fans. Release date is scheduled for Summer/Fall 2006 via SPV Records.
Kamelot signed a recording contract in 1994, releasing their debut, Eternity , the following August. The press praised the album as one of the most promising first offerings ever. 1996 saw the arrival of Dominion , an album that sounded even more varied and diverse than its predecessor. In spring 1997 Kamelot found Casey Grillo and the former Conception vocalist Khan, who joined the group during the production of Siege Perilous . In autumn of the same year, the new line-up embarked on an extensive European tour and returned to the Gate studios in Wolfsburg twelve months later to work on the album that set a new standard for the band; The Fourth Legacy. In summer 2000, Kamelot’s first live album was recorded during the New Allegiance tour, which took them through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Greece and Spain. Only a few months later, Khan, Youngblood, Grillo and bass player Glen Barry presented their fifth studio cut, Karma , and embarked on a European tour. Epica arrived in 2003, followed by another tour as Headliners in Europe, Japan, Mexico and the US as well many top Festival appearances. The Black Halo adds another exciting and epic chapter to the band’s brilliant history.