Only four days into their North American Tour, Kamelot bring out the goods with Battle Beast and Delain.
After numerous tours around the globe, Tampa, Florida’s Kamelot return to their North America homeland in support of their new album The Shadow Theory from Napalm Records. The latest musical effort was released in early April, while the band prepared for this first leg of the tour within a few days of its release. Kamelot tends to bring big productions along with its musical history.
The sold-out show was held at New York City’s Irving Plaza. The crowd line went all the way around the block. The first band to take the stage is the power metal band from Helsinki, Finland, Battle Beast. Thirteen years in and four solid albums later Battle Beast are experiencing a new surge in popularity. Lead vocalist Noora Louhimo slayed the audience with an eight-song set. The short but sweet set was material mostly from the newest album Bringer of Pain”. They opened up by going for the jugular with the song “Straight to the Heart”. Noora owns the stage with her powerful vocal ability. While the setlist was focused on the latest album the song that had the biggest pop of the night was “Black Ninja.” The album from that song is the eponymous second full-length album titled Battle Beast. THhis song showed the most audience participation. Most of the songs like “Bastard Son of Odin” and “King for a Day” had the band all smiles. Battle Beast showed the New York City audience not only that they arrived but they are hellbent in bringing quality songs with an ear-friendly vibe. After leaving the audience with delight, they got to see Noora Louhimo next to her band’s merchandise table and fans were happy to see her mix it up with the crowd. No ego, no rockstar attitude.
Delain has been on a slow rise since 2002 when it was formed by Martijn Westerholt after he was forced to leave the band Within Temptation due to infectious mononucleosis. He focused on getting healthy as he wrote music behind the scenes, taking a negative and turning it into a positive. Westerholt had always envisioned the band as a musical project, featuring a host of guest musicians.
Lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels took the mic with a hard as nails approach. The band brought to light a very serious tone throughout the evening. Delain opened up with “Hands of Gold.” While the audience was still packing into the venue, going from Battle Beast to Delain was night and day. The audience felt very calm and low-key throughout their set. Even with numbers such as “Suckerpunch” and “The Glory and The Scum,” the audience remained practically at a standstill. Delain performed six songs from the “Moonbathers” album. Another presence onstage with them, which rarely gets mentioned, is the guitar work of Merel Bechtold. Having her on guitar made Delain’s set even more special as she is consistently interacting with Charlotte. Even with this camaraderie, it feels as though Delain is acting as “a mourner“ due to the nature of the recent album. Although they closed their set with the uplifting song, “We Are The Others,” the mood was ominous. While their set felt incredibly serious and still, this definitely wasn’t a negative, as their musicianship and performance made this a truly impressive set, which was a great reflection of their latest record.
The headliner of the night was Kamelot. They are on tour promoting their recent opus, The Shadow Theory. Since 1991 Kamelot have stood the test of time, and accumulated a large fan base. With 12 albums under their belt, their setlist was a healthy mix of selected songs spanning their entire career. Opening with “Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire),” lead vocalist Tommy Karevik grabbed the audience with his power metal style singing. The musical arrangement of this song allows the vocals to soar with an operatic quality. Special guest vocalist Lauren Hart from the band Once Human joined the band on stage to add her unique sound to the mix on this powerful opening number.
Kamelot brought their own stage lighting to Irving Plaza to enhance their slick and polished sound with fantastic visual presence. The stage production truly gave the audience more bang for their buck. The double bass drums on the song “Rule the World” from the 2007 album Ghost Opera made the venue floor shake, and made the audience feel in sync with the music. The keyboards sounded exactly as they do on their record. While the guitars were overwhelming at times, the drums and keyboards gave the audience the opportunity to dance to the rhythms. The song has a middle eastern dance vibe and went over well with the moving crowd. “Insomnia,” however, went in a completely different direction. While maybe not a crowd favorite, it is a song for musical purists, and the band had a great moment showing their technical wizardry.
Having a vast catalog, Kamelot chose to include selected songs from their successful 2015 album, Haven. The audience’s faces were gleaming as Tommy Karevik perform “End of Innocence,” “Veil Of Elysium,” and “Here’s To The Fall.” These songs showcased the newest addition to the band, drummer Johan Nunez, formerly of Firewind. He not only fits in musically, but adds to the dynamic, and is a huge asset in expanding the sound of Kamelot. As expected, “March of Mephisto” is the live favorite and continues to bring down the house. It is absolutely a live staple to any Kamelot show. However, when Charlotte Wessels appeared onstage singing with Tommy Karevik on a rendition of “Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife)” they really had their highest impact of the night. The evening ended with a powerful performance of the song “Liar Liar.” The entire audience sang along with Tommy. Hearing the crowd unified along with the keyboards is something to witness. The entire song felt like a battle cry. This North American tour runs into the middle of May.
This North American tour runs into the middle of May. Kamelot is not on a touring schedule for the remainder of the year, as they are already scheduled for a handful of festivals outside of the US.
Words: Sebastian Bjorn Benedict
Photos: Anya Svirskaya
Event Date: 20-APR-2018