Sarnen is a small Swiss town located about ten kilometers from Lucerne and is the site of an interesting festival that has been organized since 2018. Taking advantage of the slow period of metal concerts, a local association has set up an organization that in the short span of a few years he was able to bring very compelling groups onto the boards of the local theater. The gem – for the writer – is represented by the return to the scene of Kamelot, more than three years after the last concert held in Florida in October 2019. In this long period of freezing of live activity, mainly due to the pandemic crisis, Thomas Yougblood’s group has not been idle and the foundations have been laid for the successor to the successful ‘The Shadow Theory’ which should see the light in spring next year. Meanwhile, looking forward to dive into the hot South American environment in February, i Kamelot they decided to take a couple of opportunities to regain some familiarity with the stage in Europe. The five musicians immediately show that they have a crazy desire to play live and Sean Tibbetts can hardly stop his exaltation. Who seems increasingly in control is Tommy Karevik who can no longer be defined as the new singer of the band and is perfectly at ease both in terms of vocal performance and as an entertainer. This is even more true also because the baton of musician with the lowest seniority in the band has by now passed to the drummer Alex Landenburg who, to the detriment of his identity card, confirms himself once again to be a real war machine. The lineup helps to create strong emotions because in addition to sagaciously mixing songs with different rhythms, it manages to pass almost equally among the many masterpieces of Kamelot’s discography. The large audience, warmed up to perfection by the other bands that have performed previously, appreciates and Karevik doesn’t have to try too hard to get those present to sing. He likes the always somewhat detached and low-key role that maestro Oliver Palotai keeps, as humble as he is fundamental to the success of Kamelot’s complex musical scores. The unusual keyboard solo allows him to ideally place himself at the center of attention. There is a small surprise regarding the role of the female backing vocalist because the Australian Lauren Hart (Once Human) is not in Sarnen, replaced by the German Anna Brunner (League Of Distortion and Exit Eden) who manages to interpret with ease both the clean and growl parts. Thomas Youngblood stands a little to the side, in the right area of the stage, but is always punctual and precise in his solos. Perhaps what was missing in the performance of the group from Tampa is a little movement on stage, but a certain static nature is an absolutely normal aspect given the very long inactivity of Kamelot live. It is therefore normal that some glitches of a technical nature occur and that some more complicated passages (for example the melodic breaks of ‘Liar Liar’) do not quite succeed perfectly. In the end what matters is to see a healthy band, who wants to make up for lost ground and who can count on many arrows in their record quiver. The most popular songs are equally divided between the historical period of the band (‘Karma’, ‘Forever’ and ‘Centre Of The Universe’) and the more recent, but equally effective one (‘Phantom Divine’, ‘Veil Of Elysium’ and ‘ Insomnia’). A devastating ‘March Of Mephisto’ puts an end to about ninety convincing and – let me tell you – reassuring minutes. When a band stays away from the stage for a long time it is easy for various kinds of inferences to start making their way. Kamelot are alive & kicking … it was possible to verify it in Sarnen and those who will attend the European tour in 2023 will be able to be sure of it.
Text and photos by Roman Owar.