Album Title: The Shadow Theory
Label: Napalm Records
Date Of Release: 6 April 2018
Never in my twelve or so years as a reviewer of rock/metal music have I ever been so torn and riddled with indecisiveness. Long-term followers and readers will understand the reasons behind this comment, but for the benefit of everyone else, here’s the thing:
I was kindly sent an email from Napalm Records containing access to the new Kamelot album, ‘The Shadow Theory’. The problem is, Napalm have moved from offering promo downloads, to providing streams only. I understand the reasoning and respect the label for doing this, even though it makes it almost impossible for me to listen to the record in question due to other life pressures and choices.
But then I realised that the label only gave reviewers five spins of each track, meaning just five chances to hear the new album. This was the last straw.
Those who know my style will know that I enjoy delving deep into albums to give in-depth reviews, generally over 1000 words. I feel that I owe it to the bands and the labels to reward their hard work with a properly detailed review. But five spins is not enough access to come up with a detailed, in-depth review. It’s simply not possible. It often takes five spins to decide whether or not I even like an album.
For the record, I could contact the UK PR person and kindly ask them to re-set my access, allowing me a further five spins. But that’s a faff for both of us and anyway, out of principle, I simply haven’t got the desire to do this. If the label won’t give me proper access, I’d rather focus my time on bands and labels that need and deserve the exposure more. It’s a shame because ultimately, it is the band that loses out. But I sometimes have to make a point. This review is making that point.
So here goes:
The twelfth album from Kamelot, entitled ‘The Shadow Theory’, appears to be a decent record. If you are a fan of the last few records from Kamelot, you’ll lap this up. If you are a staunch fan of the band’s mid-era Khan output, such as ‘Karma’ and long for an all-out return to this style, you might be a little disappointed.
I’d go into more detail, but I simply can’t, not with any authority anyway. What I will say after such a truncated listen is that it feels like ‘The Shadow Theory’ is another collection of songs that continue along their chosen path. The rhythms are strong and upbeat, there is a certain dramatic bombast to the material, Thomas Youngblood’s recognisable style and delivery remains and at times, Tommy Karevik’s vocals still sound disconcertingly similar to Roy Khan.
I think I can hear a smidgen more in the ‘prog’ department here and there but I’d need more time to comment properly.
I like a fair number of the songs but none of them have managed to get themselves under my skin as yet. I like the inclusion of a few growls within a couple of the songs, too.
But that’s about it. As I type, it feels like a solid release and it might possibly be a step-up from the last couple, certainly in terms of my personal taste. But will I buy it? I might. But then again, even if I had been given better access, my answer would have been the same, only perhaps a little more certain one way or the other. This is because wherever possible, I like to own the real thing, even if I already had a downloaded promo copy. So, on this occasion, the label has ended up cutting their nose off to spite their face.
I’d have dearly loved to get my teeth properly stuck into this record and bring you a better review, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
The Score Of Much Metal: somewhere between 6 and 8 possibly.
If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from 2018 and from previous years right here:
Barren Earth – A Complex of Cages
Memoriam – The Silent Vigil
Kino – Radio Voltaire
Borealis – The Offering
W.E.T. – Earthrage
Auri – Auri
Purest of Pain – Solipsis
Susperia – The Lyricist
Structural Disorder – …And The Cage Crumbles In the Final Scene
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Divine Realm – Nordicity
Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart
Poem – Unique
Gleb Kolyadin – Gleb Kolyadin
Apathy Noir – Black Soil
Deathwhite – For A Black Tomorrow
Conjurer – Mire
Jukub Zytecki – Feather Bed/Ladder Head
Lione/Conti – Lione/Conti
Usurpress – Interregnum
Kælling – Lacuna
Vinide – Reveal
Armored Dawn – Barbarians In Black
Long Distance Calling – Boundless
In Vain – Currents
Harakiri For The Sky – Arson
Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs
Tribulation – Down Below
Machine Head – Catharsis
Bjorn Riis – Coming Home EP
Twilight’s Embrace – Penance EP
Bloodshot Dawn – Reanimation
Rise of Avernus – Eigengrau
Arch Echo – Arch Echo
Asenblut – Legenden
Bleeding Gods – Dodekathlon
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse