By James Barager
CALGARY — “I feel that our growth as a band has been very organic. Like, if you listen to Epica (2003) compared to Haven (2015), there is a pretty distinct difference. But we still maintain the core of the Kamelot sound.”
So begins Thomas Youngblood, guitarist and one of the founding members of the Floridian power metal quintet, Kamelot.
Beginning in 1991, the mostly America-based, but ultimately multinational group, has been steadily pumping out album after album of keyboard-heavy, riff-driven power metal. May marks marks the release of the band’s 11th album Haven.
“This one isn’t a concept album [2012’s Silverthorn], like our previous album, or the dual Epica and The Black Halo  before that. But it is united through a common theme of a dystopian future. I think it shows a view of where our society is headed. Look at the lyrics for ‘Citizen Zero,’ which is about how we’re all becoming a number, and like… you have to give the convenience store your personal information, just to buy a pack of gum, for example.”
The lyrics on this upcoming release show the band taking a much more cynical approach compared to the very romantic and philosophical story found on the aforementioned The Black Halo. That album was an adaptation of J.W. Von Goethe’s tragic classic Faust, first published in 1808. The lyrical shift is due in part to the departure of vocalist Roy Khan in 2011 and his subsequent replacement by Swedish wailer Tommy Kaverik.
“I feel it’s very fitting for the person who sings the lyrics to be also be the one who writes them. And Tommy… he’s very pragmatic, but he’s a bit of a romantic too,” says Youngblood, laughing.
A recurring feature of Kamelot is the inclusion of guest vocals, creating an interesting contrast to the main vocals. This time around they come from Arch Enemy’s (relatively) new singer, Alissa White-Gluz, who performs on a duet on the saccharine ballad “Under Grey Skies,” although those of you expecting Arch Enemy-style vocals on this one will be sorely disappointed. It’s more along the lines of Ike and Tina Turner.
“All the guest vocalists that we feature on our albums are good friends of ours and provide a great compliment to the songs they perform on,” says Youngblood. He concludes, quipping, “Unfortunately, she won’t be on tour with us to perform that one!”
Kamelot plays Calgary on May 11th at MacEwan Hall with Dragonforce and in Edmonton on May 12th at Union Hall.AB, Alberta, Kamelot, MacEwan Hall, Union Hall