So yea, I realize that “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)” has been in Kamelot’s recent setlists throughout the summer festival season and that there are recorded live versions floating around YouTube. I also realize that they’ve been of godawful sound quality and it was really hard to make heads or tails of what this new song and lead off single from the Silverthorn album actually sounded like. But today marks the official release of perhaps the most highly anticipated metal single of 2012 — and Tommy Karevik’s Kamelot studio debut — and I’ve been listening to it periodically throughout the day to form an impression.
Those of you who had read my recent article on The Legacy of Roy Khan know that I had voiced my concern about how a Khan-less Kamelot could potentially suffer without his tremendous songwriting input. It was worrisome because with all due respect to Thomas Youngblood, the early Kamelot records without Khan’s songwriting presence were mediocre at best. Word was out that Youngblood and keyboardist Oliver Palotai had already been working on 6-7 songs as early as January 2012 — would they even bother to wait for their new vocalist’s input? I loved what Karevik brought to the table in Seventh Wonder in terms of his rather skillful ability to create memorable and soaring vocal melodies and arrangements and I wanted this injected into the new Kamelot material.
Well it was good news that was recently provided to us by Kamelot France as revealed in their interview with Youngblood:
KF: Last January 2012 you revealed that 6 or 7 songs were already co-written with Oliver; when and how did Tommy step into the process?
Youngblood: Around February, we started sending him ideas for songs. Song for Jolee was the first one, then Solitaire and so on. He worked closely with Sascha (Paeth, producer) in Wolfsburg on the vocals and lyrics. For the most part he did all the lyrics along with Sascha. I did some lyrics and we all worked together on the concept and storyline.
That comes as bit of a relief, and one hell of a smart decision because upon the very first listen to “Sacrimony” its clear that Karevik’s input is all over the vocal melodies for the song, particularly its surging, arcing chorus. The song is a juxtaposition between slow crawling verse sections marked by stop start riffing and atmospheric keyboard soundscapes that leap up into a swoopingly fast chorus section. Karevik is eventually joined by Amaranthe vocalist Elize Ryd who appears on a tension raising bridge section, the songs most brilliant moment — their two voices in succession pushing the chorus to a greater height. But then there’s a passage in the middle of the song preceding the solo section in which The Agonist’s Alissa White-Gluz delivers a raspy-grim vocal that just comes off as fairly pointless. A strange outro concludes the last half a minute or so with a plucked guitar figure alongside the distorted voice of a child singing “Ring Around the Rosie” — its fine but I find it to be a less than satisfying way to end a song… though I guess you could call that nitpicking.
My overall take on “Sacrimony” can be summed up by saying that if this ends up being the worst song off the Silverthorn album, then Kamelot will be in good shape, and I certainly hope that is the case. Its not a bad song per say, I really enjoy the chorus and in particular the sweeping drama of the bridge that precedes it. Its everything else in the verse sections that come off as slightly clunky in that aggravating way that suggests had more time been invested in working on the song, it perhaps could have been molded into something far smoother. Kamelot doesn’t do abrupt and jarring all that well, one of their trademarks is flow and smoothness. It should be noted that in the very same Kamelot France interview Youngblood noted that “Sacrimony” was the last song written for the album, the bulk of it apparently composed in a day, with Karevik adding vocal melodies over the top later. Its clear when listening to it that perhaps they didn’t leave enough room for him to weave in more fluid verse melodies. One can only hope that the other songs didn’t suffer the same fate.