Kamelot – Dominion

February 3, 2012 in Artist Rewind, Reviews by blackwindmetal

Kamelot
Dominion
1997

Released only a couple of years after their debut, Dominion is the second album by Tampa metalers Kamelot. And this is not very different from the debut, Eternity; it’s got the same feel to it, but is more upbeat and developed. And at the first listen, it sounds like a better produced copy of the previous record.

The intro is the same; instrumental, symphonic, clearly melodic. The first song, “Heaven”, is so typically power metal that it’s nearly representative for an entire genre. The lyrics follow the same path, though they seem diverted; they focus more on emotions and internal struggles rather than external worries such as travels. See “One Day I’ll Win” and “Troubled Mind”. But they’re still meaningful and deep: philosophical on the edge of breaking. The songs focus on the lyrics, melody, and riffs – creating an atmosphere of magic, tension, and power. “Crossing Two Rivers” should be the perfect example: a love story, almost as if it was taken directly from a love story of the Dark Ages.

However, the songs lose most of the catchiness seen in the previous album. They’re duller, in a way: the choruses don’t tend to get stuck in your head like the ones from “Eternity” did. As more elements are introduced, the music grows gradually more complex – which does not necessarily mean better. There still are rough, basic drums, complementing guitars, and the occasional keyboards. But extraordinary? No. This is almost as basic as it gets. It’s raw: not tempered with, overdone, or striving to be something else.

Mark Vanderbilt’s vocals don’t sound nearly as forced as they did on Eternity – which is a relief. There still is something about his voice that doesn’t seem right, but it fits the music. It clearly has developed and improved from “Eternity”, but if they’d kept going like this, they’d never make it to the big stages. The instrumental intro (“Creation”) and solos are well timed, showing the talent of these musicians.

This was the first hardcopy Kamelot album I bought, and it therefore has a special place in my heart. I remember listening to it over and over and over again, and because of that, I know all the songs by heart. This album holds a lot of hope, sorrow, and despair in it, and makes listening to/reading the lyrics an emotional journey of sorts.

But I can’t help be reminded of one of the water world themes from Mario ’64 when hearing the intro (and keyboard lines) of “Birth Of A Hero”. That, and a collection of beautifully phrased lyrics, are what makes this album a jewel. (And no, that has nothing to do with the jewelcase.) But, if this had been released today, I wouldn’t give it a second spin.

Tora’s rating: 2.75 out of 5