KAMELOT – The Awakening

KAMELOT - The Awakening album cover
  • 6/10
    KAMELOT - The Awakening - 6/10


Label: Napalm Records
Release date: March 17, 2023.

User Review
8/10 (1 vote)

Time, it seems, really passes by when you realise that The Awakening is Kamelot’s 13th studio album and the 4th since Roy Khan’s departure in 2011. While the band has their unique sound, their last album Shadow Theory (2018) did not divert from their musical identity but was somehow weaker. Now it’s time to see if these years spent polishing new materials have benefited creativity, quality and sound production. Overall, the production this time is far punchier and there’s a sense of vitality coming from this album, but it is not exempted from failings.

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter”*

You could attempt to summarise Kamelot’s sound with the following words: catchy yet evanescent melodies, an unbridled romanticism with a gothic aesthetic, all sprinkled with shredding guitars. A recipe containing so many ingredients better be carefully balanced and should not try to overdo it, but that is where the failings are with The Awakening. While many of the songs remain entertaining one by one. As a whole album, the result is boisterous and does not always make sense. It is also too long.

But here is another paradox, if you consider this boisterousness as the main feature and quality of the music, then the best tracks on the albums are the ones with the most orchestrations such as “New Babylon” with Melissa Bonny as a guest singer. Then, the more subtle songs seem weaker and unnecessary (like the generic intro/outro) in comparison, when their role is to provide balance. For instance “Willow” and “Midsummer’s Eve”, the two ballads on the album do not bring the respite certainly intended: too mellow, syrupy and ultimately boring. Tommy Karevik is an excellent singer, no doubt about that, but he constantly seems to overplay feelings of tragedy.

Thus you will find excellent moments on the album like “One More Flag In The Ground” and “Opus Of The Night” or “New Babylon.” These songs show that Kamelot still excels at composing epic anthems (Tina Guo’s cello brings a little novelty to the ensemble.) Yet, in between, you will just find more of the same Symphonic Metal that you can find on their previous albums, and this lack of originality will probably make you skip some songs after a few listening sessions.

Final Thoughts

Listening to The Awakening will leave you with the same impression that maybe that last mouthful or last drink was too much. The new Kamelot remains a reference in their genre but it is a shame they seem to have lost the subtlety and sense of restraint that made older albums such as The Black Halo masterpieces.

The Awakening – Tracklisting

  1. Overture (Intro)
  2. The Great Divide
  3. Eventide
  4. One More Flag In The Ground
  5. Opus Of The Night (Ghost Requiem)
  6. Midsummer’s Eve
  7. Bloodmoon
  8. Nightsky
  9. The Looking Glass
  10. New Babylon
  11. Willow
  12. My Pantheon
  13. Ephemera (Outro)

Kamelot – Lineup

Thomas Youngblood – Guitars
Sean Tibbetts – Bass
Oliver Palotai – Keyboards, Orchestrations
Tommy Karevik – Vocals
Alex Landenburg – Drums

*John Keats, “Ode To A Grecian Urn”


  • Séverine Peraldino

    Reviewer, interviewer and apprentice photographer for Metal Express Radio, Séverine comes from a small place in the Southern French Alps, near Grenoble. Her taste for classic Heavy Metal is a family heritage and after growing up listening to Iron Maiden, Dio, Metallica and Angra she expanded her horizons with almost every subgenre of Metal, from Power, to Prog, a little bit of Death and Black Metal. She mostly enjoys albums telling stories with originality. When she is not travelling around for concerts and festivals, you can find her reading a good book, or playing board games with friends.

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