There are some bands whose sound is so distinctive that you can tell who it is from the first chord and Kamelot is one of those bands for me. I feel I may need to start this review with a disclaimer and admit I have been a dedicated Kamelot fan for a long time and was excited about the release of The Shadow Theory. The storytelling contained within this album is once again first class a trait Kamelot has successfully been bringing to their music for a long time now. The band have the ability to take you on a journey making you feel like you have jumped down the rabbit hole and woken in a scary alternate version of the future.
“Phantom Divine” kicks off the album at a frantic pace and delivers a dose of pure Kamelot strong enough to cure any cravings remaining since the release of the last album. Vocalist Tommy Karevik shines throughout the album and is joined by guest female vocalists Lauren Hart (Mindfall Remedy & Phantom Devine) and Jenifer Haben (In Twilight Hours) as well as the usual suspects in the Kamelot choir. Ravenlight sees guitarist Thomas Youngblood, bass player Sean Tibbetts and drummer Johan Nunez lock in together to drive the verse while the keyboard of Oliver Palotai provides the melody that flows throughout the song.
Some bands should not do slow songs but Kamelot is not one of those bands and prove that again with “In Twilight Hours” where they are joined by the mesmerising voice of Jennifer Haben. The balance between Tommy and Jennifer’s vocal is superb with both delivering a powerful performance each providing the counterpoint to the other.
The riff that begins “Kevlar Skin” is a Thomas Youngblood classic with a melodic chorus that sees Tommy’s smooth vocals rise above the double bass drum work from Johan and the sonic assault delivered by Seans pounding bass. Thomas and Oliver trade blistering solos each showing their dominance over their instrument. “Static” is one of my favourite songs on the album with hypnotic vocals and a full sound. On “Mindfall Remedy” Tommy is joined by Lauren Hart who provides a contrasting voice to Tommy’s with her menacing guttural growl.
“Stories Unheard” plays with dynamics with a mellow beginning building to a powerful chorus. On “Vespertine (My crimson Bride)” Oliver’s keyboards leads with the melody with the rest of the band driving the pulsing rhythm with another of the melodic choruses that is Kamelot. The album finishes with the instrumental “Ministrium” an accomplished piece of orchestration which shows the classical side of the band.
Once again this album sees the band continue to march from strength to strength delivering a standout album filled with melodic vocals, fantastic riffs, pounding rhythms and crammed from start to finish with all the best things about Kamelot.