"I Am The Empire – Live From The 013"

By Colonel Angus

I have to consider myself as late comer to the world of KAMELOT.  I didn’t even know who they were until a friend had loaned me a copy of “Siege Perilous” back in the day.  My buddy knew I was a fan of Roy Khan from his days in CONCEPTION and that he was the new vocalist in KAMELOT.  That was all he needed to say and soon I was on my way to becoming quite the fan of the band.  When Khan left, I wasn’t so sure if I would still like these power metal rockers but his replacement, Tommy Karevik, is just as good but in a different way.  I loved “Silverthorn”, “Haven”, and “The Shadow Theory” but I never got see any of those tours due to life getting in the way.  Fortunately for me, the band decided to put out a live record (and DVD) of a show recorded at the 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands. This is their 3rd live album (their first with Karevik on vocals) and while I applaud them for including some Khan-era material, they made the wise choice of focusing on the newer material as the Khan led version of the band did release a live recording back in the day.  

Suprisingly, “Haven” is featured more in this set list as “The Shadow Theory” is the newest record and I would have figured it would be the focus of the show.  No matter as the material on both disks is awesome and the band performs them perfectly during the recording of this performance.  “Veils of Elysium”, “Amnesiac”, and “Burn to Embrace” sound better, in my opinion, than their studio counterparts.  The addition of guest vocalist like Alissa White-Gluz during “Liar, Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)” and Charlotte Wessels on “Under Grey Skies” really keeps the performances true to the originals while still adding the magic of a live concert.  Even the quieter moments during the show like “Under Grey Skies” and “Here's to the Fall” still maintain an intensity that most bands struggle with but KAMELOT have this theatrical music to them that comes across even without the visuals.

 KAMELOT is Thomas Youngblood’s baby but that does not make the other guys in the band mere sidemen.  Karevik is a great vocalist and his performance here proves it.  He can cut in a live setting and he does the Khan-era material justice.  When I saw the set list, I was really hoping he would do “Rule the World” from “Ghost Opera” justice and he did not disappoint.  He is the perfect singer for KAMELOT as his voice has perfect amount of emotion and strength.  Obviously Youngblood’s guitar work throughout is spot on and just like the studio albums, he manages to shine while still letting the song be the focus.  Sean Tibbetts has been with the band for over a decade while new drummer Alex Landenburg makes his recording debut on this release.  Power metal is a challenging genre for a rhythm section because the speed can something make the music sound like a blur but both of these guys come across clear and tight which is what you want, especially during a live performance.   Oliver Palotai is the last piece of the puzzle and his keyboard flourishes add that symphonic element that gives KAMELOT their unique sound. 

Although I am not really reviewing the songs per se, I am reviewing their performances on this live release and if you are a fan of the band, you are going to love this record.  If you are even a casual fan, I’m sure you will thoroughly enjoy this concert recording.  For the KAMELOT newbie, this is a good starting place as you will get material from a number of albums and you’ll get to hear them live which I believe is the purest form of music.  I realize that concerts are visual affairs but sometimes the music is performed at such a level that we can enjoy then even without watching the DVD.  “I Am The Empire-Live From The 013” is just such a release.