KAMELOT – One Cold Winter’s Night

KAMELOT - One Cold Winter's Night
  • 9/10
    KAMELOT - One Cold Winter's Night - 9/10


Nuclear Blast
Release date: November 14, 2006

User Review
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With many of today’s Metal bands spitting out mediocre variations via the live DVD theme at a more rapid pace than their predecessors downed bottles of Jack Daniels, it is somewhat of a mystery that the American/Norwegian Power Metal combo Kamelot has waited until now to release their first of the kind. Luckily, the result of the long wait is not a band struggling and rushing to keep up with the contemporaries, but what is seen onstage during this massive, two disc, big-spender offering is rather an experienced, mature, and inspired band at the peak of their craft, delivering a show that’s entertaining, energetic, and professional through and through.

The set list is for the most part based on the band’s three latest outings, The Black Halo, Epica, and Karma, with “Nights Of Arabia” being the only song from The Fourth Legacy, and the three albums released before that one overlooked completely. Keeping in mind the huge growth in fanbase the band has experienced during the later years, this is understandable, but still, for a long-time fan it is indeed a shame that many of the band’s best tracks are left out –- “The Fourth Legacy,” “Shadow Of Uther,” “King’s Eyes,” “Call Of The Sea,” “Millennium,” and “We Are Not Separate” are just a few. Still the show holds very few, if any, “fillers,” except maybe “Moonlight” and “Soul Society,” which lean toward that term and many a fan would also strongly disagree with that opinion.

With a whopping 18 cameras recording the performance, and a massive array of pyro effects, lights, and guest performers, this is definitely something out of the ordinary. Still, when the lights are down (may eventually be replaced with “when the crowds are gone” for certain MER Crew members …) it all comes down to the performance of those 5 men writing and performing music under the moniker Kamelot, and those 5 men are really what all this is about. Take away the glitter and glam and this is really a damn fantastic Heavy Metal band delivering a good 1.5 hours of quite fantastic music, and the effects listed above really would mean nothing without a solid foundation of a) some good music, and b) good musicians to play it.

Led by a masterful Thomas Youngblood on guitars, the instrumentalists deliver a rock-solid performance, and although drummer Casey Grillo might want to hold back on the drumstick juggling next time –- it’s really a bit too much -– they all walk the same path without indulging in egocentric widdling along the way. Speaking of widdling, the aforementioned guitar player has never been, and will probably never be, the genre’s foremost soloist, but at least he pulls off his recorded leads well, but although this is not the place to rant about his lack of soloistic creativity, it should be noted that the lead sound his ESP produces is uncomfortably nasal and “box-y” (guitarist’s term for sound being produced by a distortion box rather than an old-fashioned amplifier) -– shame on him for that. On the other end of the sound spectrum, keyboardist Oliver Palotai does a great job recreating the massive arrangements of the band’s latest studio records, and he is unquestionably a great asset to the band. Glenn Barry does well in keeping it all together, and with the guest musicians (vocalists Simone Simons and Elisabeth Kjærnes, along with a three-piece choir, and producer Sascha Paeth doing a solo on “Moonlight”) pulling off their tasks in a good way, it’s not much to complain about in this department.

Singer Roy Khan has not been mentioned yet, and that is solely because he deserves a paragraph on his own. Such emotional, heartfelt, and majestic performances are rarely seen on a stage, and although his range is not like it was in the Conception heydays, he sings astoundingly well throughout. Every (!) aspiring vocalist has something to learn from this man and this performance, and this release just confirms there are very few, if any, contemporary Metal singers who can keep up with the brave Norwegian.

It’s also comforting to acknowledge that despite the almost overly pompous productions of the studio albums, these songs all work well from the stage, and the band definitely sounds better this time than on The Expedition, the band’s first live CD released back in the year 2000. “The Black Halo,” “Nights Of Arabia,” “Center Of The Universe,” “Forever,” the “Elisabeth” trilogy, and “Farewell” are the songs that work the very best -– quite possibly because they were the best songs to begin with -– but there’s, as mentioned, basically no weak points on this release.

One Cold Winter’s Night is the best live release of the year 2006.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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