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Review: Kamelot - Haven

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2015
Duration: 53:52
Tracks: 12
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: June 6, 2015
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 3.87/5 (77.39%) (23 Votes)

Hard to believe it's been ten years since Kamelot hit the peak of the Khan era with The Black Halo - an album I have heard this one compared to, despite how ridiculous that is. Haven is, instead, a further refinement of the sound they explored on their first post-Khan album Silverthorn, and it finds them hitting their stride into their third incarnation.

Whereas The Black Halo showed a band at their creative peak, taking risks and trying new things, Haven is all about what the title would imply - safety. There is nothing surprising at all about this album. The production is smooth and rather faceless, with little bite, the guitar sound is synth-layered mush, and the songs all go down smooth and catchy. From the opener "Fallen Star" through album highlight "Veil of Elysium" and more quiet moments like "Here's to the Fall" smooth is the word I would most use to describe the band and their sound. Far from the muscular, organic sound of albums like Epica or even The Fourth Legacy - much less Black Halo - everything about Haven is polished, shiny, and safe.

That makes it sound like I don't like this album, when really I like it fine. It's got catchy songs, good performances, and more depth than an initial listen will tend to give credit for. Aside from less interesting songs like "Citizen Zero" and the blur of filler that fills out the last third of the disc, this album is always listenable, even if a lot of it is just moments borrowed from better Kamelot albums assembled into new shapes. It's just sad to see a band that used to produce art turn to producing product.

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