Sound — 7
There is no doubt that Kamelot is pure power-metal and by no means takes their title lightly as one of the most well respected in the industry. In my opinion, disappointment was everywhere in this album for me when it came to the actual musical content. Strings were over-all very well done (for power metal, known for pretty basic 'power' guitar) and the addition of synths, organ and keyboards adds another dimension. Unlike my predecessor, I didn't find anything spectacular enough about the drums to the carry the music to the next level. In all defense, heavy metal drumming has become increasingly difficult at to be considered very good at, but for me, Casey Grillo achieves only a 7/10. A good sound but nothing out of the ordinary, as expected from Kamelot.
Lyrics — 10
This is where the album shines. Did I mention that it's actually a rock power metal opera? Classic power metal move and yet done with a great amount of ease by these well trained rockers. The vocals in this album may be first thing that you notice upon listening whether you are a guitarist, vocalist, drummer, bassist, pianist, or any unmentioned. Roy Khan along with Sascha Paeth (female backing vocals) bring you on a marvelous journey through the story of love, lust and everything in between. Guest appearances include black metal king Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir on the opening track "March Of Mephisto" and a well expected and very well suited "Kamelot Choir" throughout the album. With great ease, anyone can understand the story through the lyrics. The singing on all fronts is very strong and the recording quality is next to perfect when it comes to vox on this album.
Overall Impression — 8
Don't get me wrong, Kamelots departure into a much unnavigated territory of power metal rock operas is among the most unique performance I have ever encountered by a metal band. The sound doesn't seem up to par even with earlier Kamelot material. If the album were lost or stolen I would be hard pressed to go out and buy it again, not because it isn't worth getting but because for me it isn't an album worth listening to over and over again. Kamelot is a great band with a lot of potential, I would like to see them use it for something much greater than this chapter in their career, however murky the next album must become to get it right. I love the singing, I dislike the sound. Better luck next time Kamelot, but nevertheless, a must have for a metal collection!