Kamelot – “I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” CD / LP / DVD / Blu-Ray / Deluxe Boxset (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Wow, just how mental is the crowd here at the 013 in the Netherlands?! Clearly keen to be rocked, they couldn’t have picked a better gig than this, because Kamelot, keen to celebrate the success of “The Shadow Theory” in 2018, chose to put on a very special show indeed, inviting the crème de la crème of the symphonic metal scene including Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Lauren Hart (Once Human) – just to name a few – to make this an unforgettable night to remember for every fan and musician in attendance. Featuring 21 hand-picked classics from across the band’s discography, drum and keyboard solos, a children’s choir including Thomas Youngblood’s son on ‘Burns To Embrace’ and rounded off by stunning production, mixing and mastering by Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Epica and more), “I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” is 100 minutes of live excitement, exclusive extras and most of all, an audience to rival any on earth! Roaring at times louder than the band themselves, ‘My Confession’, featuring the lush classical crossover string quartet Eklipse, is greeted by generous en masse clapping before the crowd, clearly mad for Kamelot, explodes to the pumping folk melody while contrasted by the stupendously soulful vocals of Tommy Karevik – not forgetting Thomas Youngblood’s made-in-heaven solo – to make this song nothing short of musical perfection. With Alex Landenburg pistoning his double bass drums on ‘Veil Of Elysium’, the flowing, knockout melody has everyone in the 013 with their arms aloft, clapping and singing the thoroughly moving chorus lines of ‘…One day I know we will meet again…In shade of a life to die for…Watching the world through the eyes of a child…In Elysium…’, and thanks to Paeth’s excellent sound, you too are there in the electric atmosphere. Indeed, as the 013 roars to the symphonic majesty on ‘Amnesiac’ with its slick melodies and utterly captivating beats, Landenburg’s vocals, topped off by the guest femme touch, are nothing short of mesmerising prompting a massive crowd chant of the band’s name – and why not, with the sheer range of hit songs on show here proving how this elite level band have consistently delivered over their career, it’s no wonder why their fans are rabid over them! As such, it definitely justifies an extended 14 minute version of ‘Forever’, allowing the band to show their appreciation of this incredible crowd’s undying love with plenty of audience participation as they gallop through the power and passion of chorus lines of ‘…Will you be there…Waiting by the gates of dawn…When I close my eyes forever…’ and indeed, I’m sure that night will stay with those who attended for the rest of their lives. “I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” is a landmark release that will definitely go down as a pinnacle in Kamelot’s history, and without a doubt, a very strong contender for live album of the year!