JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

September 24, 2013
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Mike DiQuinzio
Photos by Andy Laudano


Power Metal Arrives In Force At Trees In Deep Ellum

Power metal's spike in popularity over the last decade, thanks largely to Dragonforce's appearance on Guitar Hero, may seem ironic to some given the genre's reliance on synthesizers, grand choruses, and operatic vocals-musical characteristics widely associated with the 80s. To the diehards, however, this is serious business and the crowd that gathered to witness the multi-national musicianship of Kamelot was there with one thing in mind: to be blown away by synthesizers, grand choruses, and operatic vocals.

For those with only a vague knowledge of the current state of power metal, Kamelot has more in common with a band like Savatage than, say, Manowar. In other words, Kamelot is more about substance over style, which is to say that they care more about the music than the spectacle, although they provide plenty in the visual department. With that, Kamelot took the stage with "Rule the World", their mission statement from 2007‘s classic Ghost Opera album, and proceeded to do just that if only for the night. They then dove into last year's Silverthorn with "Torn", the first of five new songs in the night's set. Aside from supporting that album, the band was also showcasing the debut of new lead vocalist Tommy Karevik, who impressed all in attendance with his wide range on new songs like "Veritas" and "Song for Jolee" as well as crowd favorites such as "The Great Pandemonium" and "The Human Stain".

Not to be upstaged by their new frontman, some members of the band took separate solo spots that not only exhibited their stellar musicianship but introduced a new show highlight, most notably "When the Lights are Down", the night's heaviest and best song from 2005's The Black Halo which followed Casey Grillo's drum solo. Keyboardist Oliver Palotai calmed the mood a bit during his piano solo before leading the band into "Forever", one of the night's two selections from their 2001 debut Karma, which brought the regular set to a close. Bassist Sean Tibbetts' solo, which included snippets of songs by the Stray Cats and Primus, kick-started the encore before closing the night with the Kamelot classics "Ghost Opera", "Karma", and "March of Mephisto".

At the end of the night, the fans' enthusiasm remained electric on their way out the door because power metal, while hugely popular in Europe, is a rare treat here in Dallas. To be able to experience a band such as Kamelot or show openers Delain, here on their first ever American tour, is a privilege not taken lightly by its fans. Although I do not consider myself a power metaller, this feeling was not lost on me. Everywhere I looked were fists pumping accompanied by singing along and, in some cases, a tear or two. It was definitely a special night for the band and fans alike and you'd be doing yourself a favor by being part of the experience the next time they grace Dallas.