Silverthorn Tracklist 1. Manus Dei 2. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife) 3. Ashes to Ashes 4. Torn 5. Song for Jolee 6. Veritas 7. My Confession 8. Silverthorn 9. Falling like the Fahrenheit 10. Solitaire 11. Prodigal Son -Part I: Funerale -Part II: Burden of Shame (The Branding) -Part III: The Journey 12. Continuum Introduction Silverthorn marks both the end and beginning of a chapter in Kamelotian history. Former lead singer Roy Khan fell ill during rehearsals for the fall 2010 North American tour. The incident forced him to return home to Norway to recuperate. Many rumors speculated that Khan's departure was permanent. These rumors were verified when Khan officially announced his departure from the band in the spring of 2011. Kamelot had just released Poetry for the Poisoned at the time Khan had fallen ill, and so, the band continued to tour and promote the new album both before and after Khan made his decision to part ways with Kamelot, a band he had sung and co-written nearly every song for since 1997. Fabio Lione of Rhapsody of Fire replaced Khan for much of the Poetry for the Poisoned North American/Latin American tour. Other guests included Tommy Karevik of Seventh Wonder, Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist, Atle Pettersen of Above Symmetry and of course, Simone Simons of Epica. After many months of speculation, Tommy Karevik was announced as Kamelot's new singer in June of 2012. Eager to break in and welcome the new addition to the Kamelot family, the band returned to the studio and released Silverthorn on October 26, 2012. A new era dawns for Kamelot as fans send best wishes to Khan and give a warm welcome to new front man, Tommy Karevik. Silverthorn is Kamelot's tenth studio album and the third concept album to be produced by the band. While their previous concept albums, Epica and The Black Halo, adapted their stories from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's two-part tragedy entitled Faust, the story of Silverthorn is original. It tells the tale of a happy, wealthy family living in late 19th century England. The family consists of a mother and father and their three children, twin boys and a little girl named Jolee. The mother of this family is a renowned cellist. The father hand-crafted a bow for her, accenting it with silver at the end. The small detail inspired her to name the bow her "silverthorn." The twins boys were flying a kite one day near a cliff overlooking a river. A storm had been brewing that day, so the river contained high rapids. When little Jolee asked to play with the kite, the boys taunted her and told her that she could not fly it properly being that she was a girl. When she finally convinced them to allow her to fly the device, the boys continued to taunt her, telling her she needed to stand and hold it this way and that. The boys' taunts combined with the high winds of the oncoming storm led Jolee closer and closer to the cliff's edge. But before Jolee or her brothers could realize the danger of the situation, a sudden, powerful gust swept Jolee off of the cliff and into the rapid waters. Her brothers were unable to rescue her, and her body was never found. The boys never revealed to their parents what had transpired on that fateful day. After Jolee's death, family members began passing by the month. At each funeral, their mother played a tragically beautiful tune on the cello. The boys believed that the family was cursed. They branded their chests with the Latin word of the thing they feared the most: truth (veritas). They kept their silence through their teen years. One of the brothers focused on his studies while the other, Robert, began to rebel. Through the years, the boys' father grew angry and violent while their mother grew somber and withdrawn. When their father found continuous relief for his angry by laying his fists upon his rebellious son, Robert left the family with hopes that it would lift the curse. But it did not. Robert's departure caused their mother to abandon all hope. A funeral was held for her shortly after. The death of their father soon followed. At these funerals, Robert was absent. Their mother's tune could be heard on the cello at these funerals, but no one knew how that could be possible. The twin rushed through the church in search of the source, but all that he found was a warm chair with a white rose and the horse hairs of a bow resting upon it. The studious twin inherited the family's worth, and his social ranking was on the rise. He courted and married a beautiful woman named Aurora. During this time, he had found a secret chapel in the woods near the family's home that his mother had had built. She prayed with the priest, Alphaeus, quite often. With his new wife and gentleman status, life seemed to begin anew for the twin when suddenly, another death struck the family. At the funeral, the tragically melodic tune could be heard again. Not being able to find the source, the twin frantically ran to the chapel and removed his clothing, revealing his "veritas" to the heavens and confessing his sin to God. Suddenly, he heard his mother's tune in the distance. Returning home, the twin found Robert on the pavilion playing the cello. A great fear instantly crept within him. He ran passed Robert, through the front door of his home, up the stairs and into the room he shared with his wife. He found her lying on the bed, graceful and beautiful as ever, with his mother's silverthorn piercing through her breast. Robert, who had alerted authorities, assumed his brother's identity and accused him of killing Aurora. The twin was sentenced to prison while Robert continued living under his brother's identity. But the twin accepted his sentence as payment for his role in Jolee's death and for his deceit afterwards. He served his time in prison before he decided that he was finally ready to face the truth and return to his life. At his request, Alphaeus gave an alibi stating that he had been at the chapel at the time Aurora was murdered. He was acquitted of the charges while Robert was arrested and sentenced to prison. The twin ends his tale with reflections of his past. He states that he has frequent visits from an angel. This angel of afterlife appears with a raven upon her shoulder, singing a beautiful tune to calm the chaos within his mind. The angel is most likely Jolee as an adult.
While most bands simply lose a voice with the departure of their lead singer, Kamelot lost a primary songwriter and lyricist when Khan parted ways with the band. This called for a new approach to songwriting. Instead of every song being composed by Khan and Kamelot guitarist/founder Thomas Youngblood, Silverthorn was a collaborative effort between Youngblood, keyboardist Oliver Palotai and new singer Tommy Karevik. The album was recorded at The Gate Studios in Wolfsburg, Germany, a Kamelot standard. Polishing and further input into the arrangement and melodies of the song was done by producer Sascha Paeth, another Kamelot standard. Additional orchestrations were composed by Miro, yet another Kamelot standard. Kamelot released this album under SPV/Steamhammer's record label, the third Kamelot album to be released under this label. Song Analyses 1. Manus Dei
The album begins with a short instrumental piece as is standard with most of Kamelot's albums. The Latin title "Manus Dei" translates to "the hand of God." The instrumental begins on piano before breaking off into a dark symphony lead by a choir. The choir for this album consists of returning vocalists Amanda Somerville, Robert Hunecke-Rizzo, Thomas Rettke and Cinzia Rizzo. These vocalists have acted as the choir for numerous Kamelot albums. New vocalists include Elize Ryd and Simon Oberender who sadly passed away in September of 2012. The instrumental ends with a monologue by Tommy which one can only assume are the words of the character who tells the story of Silverthorn. "Give me a sign. Sing the words of innocence and broken pride. Make my conclusions fail and send me a sign. Heal this broken melody 'cause each day, I die in hell." The instrumental concludes with a crescendo that leads into the next track. 2. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
This is the first single and music video to be released from Silverthorn. The song is somewhat similar to "Ghost Opera," a song released by Kamelot from an album of the same title. The lyrics are about the character's remorse and strongly refers to the "angel of afterlife" he mentions at the end of the story as can be depicted from the chorus:
"Sing for me, angel of afterlife,
Calming me down,
Chaos inside my nebula.
And make the wrong turn to right,
In a celestial light,
Forgive my sacrimony."
The song has a fast tempo but a highly symphonic base. It ranges from a symphonic beginning to hard rock verses to symphonic choruses and contains a borderline death metal third verse. The shredding guitar solo that follows the third verse shares heavy similarities to the solos found on The Black Halo (album released by Kamelot in 2005). This song contains many guests. Elize Ryd of Amaranthe performs the clean vocals on this track. She plays the angel of afterlife:
"I am your angel of afterlife,
Calming you down,
Silence inside your nebula.
And when the wrong turns to right,
In a celestial light,
I'll heed your testimony."
Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist performs the guttural vocals of verse three in a powerful demonstration of the main character's inner turmoil:
"And now leave me alone,
Erase my memory,
Don't want to hear,
Don't want to see,
Don't want to think about the lie that follows me."
The Kamelot choir appears on this track as well as the all female German quartet Eklipse. Miro aided Kamelot keyboardist Oliver Palotai with the orchestrations on this track. And finally, the track concludes with an intense, trippy sound. The angel of afterlife, or Elize, hums a very soft and beautiful tune while bassist Sean Tibbetts plays a slow melody and guitarist Thomas Youngblood drags a finger up and down the strings of his guitar. Annelise Youngblood, Thomas' daughter, sings a nursery rhyme over this part that is dramatically slowed down. The infamous nursery rhyme most likely refers to the curse that is set upon the family following Jolee's death and is probably sung by little Jolee:
"Ring around a rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down."
Overall, it is a very powerful song that gives the album a strong start.
3. Ashes to Ashes
This is my least favorite track of the album. Its basis is hard rock and features an obnoxiously fast tempo with heavy distortions on the guitar. There is very little distinction between the verses and the chorus. While it is not particularly my style, the song does match the lyrics quite nicely. This song's purpose in the story of Silverthorn is not as clear cut as "Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)" is. So, after analyzing both the story and the lyrics, I will make my best guesses.
"Ravished from our paradise,
A crack in the mirror,
I know it's too late.
So full of life,
Etched on my iris,
But I try not to think of it all."
I believe this song is sung by Robert, the rebellious twin. The first part of the first verse may refer to him witnessing Jolee's death. They were only children living a happy, carefree life that every child should live. But they were torn from this life when Jolee was swept away with the rapids of the river. Although the vision of his sister falling into the river occupies every space within his mind, he desperately tries to erase the memory from his mind.
"We swore to God in veritas,
And burned our skin like it burned our souls.
One dealt with grief by causing pain.
She hid behind maple and built her own fortress of sound.
Fear this melody almost forgotten."
The second part of the first verse refers to the suffering that had fallen over the family following Jolee's death. The twins branded the word "veritas" into their chests as a constant reminder of their greatest fear. I believe the line "one dealt with grief by causing pain" refers to the beatings inflicted upon Robert by his father. The line "she hid behind maple and built her own fortress of sound" may refer to their mother playing the cello to drown out the sound of Robert's cries when her husband would beat him. "Fear this melody almost forgotten" most likely refers to the melody the twins' mother played at every funeral.
"I've been waiting a lifetime to show,
You're returning to heaven like dust to dust.
I've been waiting forever to witness your fading,
Like ashes to ashes."
The chorus is a little difficult to decipher. My best guess is it being Robert's words to his father.
"Forbidden dance on fragile skin,
Why do you shine as I suffer in pain?
The greatest scars remain within.
Leaving you now with a heart black as cardinal sin."
I believe the first two lines of this verse are Robert referring to his brother. He maintains high marks in his studies while Robert's ambitions fall. "The greatest scars remain within" probably means that the turmoil Robert feels inside is much more painful than any bruise his father inflicts upon his body. "Leaving you now with a heart black as cardinal sin" most likely refers to Robert's departure in belief that his absence will lift the curse of his family and heal his parents and brother's suffering. The instrumental bit in the middle of the song is my favorite part. It features a hint of a symphonic melody, but drummer Casey Grillo and guitarist Thomas Youngblood hold the magic of this part. While this may not be my kind of song in terms of sound, the lyrics are wonderful and play an important role in the storyline.
This track is very melodic and beautiful yet dark and heavy. I believe it is the twin's inner turmoil in his pursuit of Aurora. They have great chemistry, but he does not believe that he deserves to be happy. The "storms in his head" prevent him from pursuing a woman of high class who adores him:
"I was torn by the storms in my head,
Like a victim of fate,
Born to regret.
Still denied by the spirits of hell,
A call to repent,
'Til the visions still stand in silence,
Like a shadow."
But he gives in, allowing bliss to clear the mist of sorrow that surrounds him:
"Like a martyr that is nowhere to be seen,
Ten thousand stars,
I have prayed for the calm.
As we drift on this never ending sea,
Clear me, keep me, take all my pain away,
My friend, singing my final song of glory.
Betrayed but still I finally came around,
and opened my eyes."
The haunting yet melodic song is a great representation of the character's inner struggle to allow himself even an ounce of bliss. Tommy's vocals on this track are phenomenal. His voice holds many layers. But every part of this track blends into perfection. The orchestrations, the riffs, the bass lines, the percussion. They all come together and produce a sound that perfectly defines an important event and struggle of this story. 5. Song for Jolee
This is the ballad of the album and, in my opinion, one of Kamelot's most beautiful ballads. I'm a bit confused about who this is meant to be sung by, but I believe these are either the words of the twin who is narrating the story or the family's thoughts about the loss of their jewel:
"There's a princess captured,
In a wooden frame.
I'd trade eternity for one last look at you.
Not playing by the rules,
We played a game of loss.
I'll keep on writing to the angels so you're safe,
'Til the moment we meet again.
Underneath the makeup,
The scars that sear my heart,
The unspeakable reminder that I'm hurt and sad.
But I can't stop the bleeding.
And it's all because of you.
One look in the mirror to see,
What's real and fake, Jolee."
The song is led by Oliver Palotai on the piano and is surrounded by symphonic sounds blended with the beautifully majestic vocals of Tommy Karevik. The rest of the band joins in at the end of the second chorus in a movement that transitions the song from a soft, beautiful ballad to a powerful and melodic rock ballad.
This song holds similarities to the album's third track, "Ashes to Ashes," and I suspect that this is intentional being that this song is also sung by Robert, the rebellious twin. At least that's my guess. The song is led strongly by hard rock, but contains more symphonic elements than "Ashes to Ashes" does. My belief is that the hard rock and darker elements are used to symbolize Robert's plan to kill his brother's wife and accuse him of the crime so that he may assume his identity thereby obtaining his wealth and high status:
"In the mirror my reflection lies to me,
That is not the man I want to see,
But every harvest takes me closer to my aim,
I will be there as soon as darkness falls.
My life is but a heartbeat away,
And all you ever had will soon belong to me."
But the symphonic undertones hint that Jolee's death, his deceit and the curse is still fresh within his mind, haunting him:
"While your weepings feed my anger,
I stay calm,
'Cause I'm sure that you won't let me down.
Fading gently to the sound I can't forget.
And don't you know that when the music dies,
My life is but a heartbeat away,
And all you ever had will soon belong to me."
Jolee attempts to plead with him in the song's third verse. This part is sung by Elize Ryd over piano:
"My life so short but innocent,
It always will remain,
And all I know is,
It was good,
My childhood memories,
And I was blessed to live."
An instrumental featuring Youngblood playing a melody on guitar follows before Jolee continues:
Please let it die,
Oh, brother, this is my last goodbye,
I'm begging you."
The final chorus plays. The choruses feature the Kamelot choir singing in Latin:
"In morte ultima veritas [The death of the final truth],
You will kneel before me,
And you will confess that I'm God.
Vincit veritas in omni re [Overcomes the truth of everything],
Save me your prayers,
For death is the answer to life."
The track concludes with an accordion playing the main guitar riff. This piece is played by guest musician István Tamás.
7. My Confession
This is the second song from the album that was released as a music video. It is the second song on the album to feature the all female German quartet Eklipse. They are also featured in the music video. This song is dark and heavy, yet slow and melodic. It starts strongly with Eklipse and guitarist Thomas Youngblood leading the melody. It breaks off into a softer yet still very dark sound in the first verse. The lyrics of this verse are the same words spoken by Tommy in the monologue of the first track:
"Give me a sign,
Sing the words of innocence and broken pride,
Make my conclusions fail.
Send me a sign.
Heal this broken melody,
'Cause each night I die in hell."
The chorus is lead by Tommy with backing vocals, heavy guitar riffs and soft melodies from the stringed quartet. The chorus is beautifully melodic and expresses the character's painful relief of finally confessing the truth to God and all of Heaven:
"My god has shown his sympathy,
For all the spirits lost.
I'll pray for salvation,
And peace for ages.
Standing in the summer breeze,
Inhaling life again.
A new day has come,
A chance to relive,
Forget and forgive."
The third verse starts off dark and features Tommy singing with a bullhorn-like vocal effect. It then breaks off into a very beautiful piece that demonstrates Tommy's vocal range as well as how beautiful and melodic his voice can sound, something Kamelot fans adored in Khan's voice. It seems the character is speaking to Jolee in this part of the third verse:
"Save a place for me in heaven,
We'll meet another day.
I found forgiveness,
And the meaning of it all.
My fear is gone,
A guitar solo follows this verse and then the song leads back into the chorus. It ends with the same melody that is heard in the beginning, lead by the quartet Eklipse and guitarist Thomas Youngblood.
This song represents the murder of the main character's wife, Aurora. It has a soft, symphonic start before it abruptly breaks off into heavy riffs with a dark symphony behind it. While the song is mainly led by heavy riffs and distortions on the guitar, it features a strong symphonic background. The second verse illustrates the murder of his wife:
"Same old pavilion,
A different appearance,
Is playing messiah.
All good was taken.
A thorn made of silver,
Abandoned my will to go on."
The third verse is slow and melodic. It does not feature the heavy distortions but instead
features soft and barely audible clean guitar sounds. The percussion by Casey Grillo during this part carries the soft, sweet lullaby by the children's choir quite nicely. The children's choir is made up of Annelise Youngblood, the daughter of Kamelot guitarist/founder Thomas Youngblood, Emilie Paeth, who I assume is the daughter of producer Sascha Paeth, and Noa Rizzo, who I assume is related to Robert Hunecke-Rizzo and Cinzia Rizzo. A guitar played by Youngblood follows before the song transitions back into the chorus, sung twice. The song concludes in the same way it began. 9. Falling like the Fahrenheit
This is Silverthorn's second single. The single was released as a shortened radio edit that cuts out a bit of the beginning instrumental and all of the instrumental bits in the third verse. This is a shame as the instrumental bits on the third verse are among the best of the album. It is somewhat of a ballad, but much heavier than "Song for Jolee." This song was written by Youngblood, Palotai, Karevik and Paeth but also featured guest writer Bob Katsionis, guitarist and keyboardist of Firewind, Revolution Renaissance and Outloud. It is the third track to feature Eklipse, and also features Elize Ryd. This song puzzles me. I am unsure if it is Robert's words to his brother as he takes his identity while he is imprisoned, or if it's the twin's words to Robert. But while the twin told his tale, he never appeared angry at Robert for all that he's done. He even wishes that he finds peace one day. So, that leads me to believe that these are Robert's words. But the words "falling like the fahrenheit" as well as the rest of the chorus indicate death, but neither twin dies. But nevertheless, this powerful and melodic song clearly defines the reason why this album has been highly rated. The album would be incomplete without it.
This song is quite upbeat. I believe it symbolizes the part of the story where the twin serves his time in prison as penance for his sin before he is ready to return to his life, testifying against Robert so that he may take his place in prison. But he is somewhat glad to serve this time in prison as punishment for his involvement and deceit in Jolee's death:
"It's time again,
All light is banned.
My soul is free,
And blessed to see.
Sometimes when I'm out of reach,
And sometimes when I'm there,
That is when our souls agree to join in solitaire.
Sometimes when my will to love has gone away,
That is when I hear your name."
It is a beautiful track that grows on me the more I listen to it, but I do admit that it's a tad too upbeat, especially the chorus.
11. Prodigal Son
This song wraps up the entire story of Silverthorn. It is just under 9 minutes and is broken up into three parts; Part I: Funerale, Part II: Burden of Shame (The Branding), Part III: The Journey. The song begins very heavenly and gospel. I believe it symbolizes the funeral of little Jolee:
"Essence of beauty,
Taken too soon.
Princess of hope,
Deep in our hearts you live on.
Essence of goodness,
Goddess of life,
Give us the power,
God, give us strength to live on."
This leads into a repeat of these lines sung solo by Tommy. The strumming of an acoustic guitar and soft drumbeats play in the background. This breaks off into a shredding guitar solo followed by a hard rock instrumental bit with heavy riffs. This leads to the second part of the song that represents the twins' remorse and guilt for their involvement in Jolee's death:
"How could this happen?
Oh, what have we done?
Will ours tears ever pay for our sin?
Mother, forgive us,
We need all your love,
To fight and to carry the burden of shame."
This part is similar to the earlier part, but instead of an acoustic song, soft melodies are picked on the electric guitar. This breaks off into a bit of a heavier sound representing the twins burning the word "veritas" onto their chests:
"Hereby we swear that for as long as we live,
We will not soil our name.
The truth made of iron will seal it with pain,
Until death our secret remains."
Breaking back into hard rock combined with Tommy's melodic voice, a short verse represents the brother's separating, both in physical terms and in the way they deal with their grief and guilt:
"A minute away,
But worlds apart,
Brothers in blood,
Now divided in heart."
The same heavy riff plays and leads into the third part that concludes the story, referring to the good twin's remorse:
"By grief and sorrow,
One is striving,
Behind the palisade,
He lives his destined life.
The music and the tears are piercing,
Through the walls,
Turn to nightmares and there's no escape at all."
It also contains reflections about Jolee's death and childhood in general, for the twins lost their childhood when their little sister disappeared:
"Oh, joyful childhood,
You died so young.
Every child follows blind,
On the journey we call life,
Learning every day.
Given love or given hate,
Determines everybody's fate in life,
Be careful what you give."
And it also refers to Robert's descent into a dark and devious lifestyle:
"A stranger to love and affection,
On the run,
In search of shelter in the solitude of sin.
A drifter in the dark,
A soldier of the pain,
A constant slave under the belt of misery."
The song ends quite powerfully with heavy riffs, symphonic keyboards and strong percussion. This is one of the strongest songs of the album, lyrically and musically.
This beautiful instrumental track concludes the entire album. It features mesmerizing harmonizing done by Cinzia Rizzo with beautiful piano bits and strong, symphonic parts with soft percussion. The middle of the song is silent. The sound resumes at 2:50. It is a tragically beautiful cello solo that most likely represents the tune played by the mother at every funeral. The haunting tune will surely send chills down your spine.
I give this album 4 out of 5 stars. It is worthy of five stars, but the album gets repetitive in certain parts. Also, the fact that a few bits and even an entire song closely resemble songs Kamelot has done in the past slightly hints at a stint of creative laziness. But the majority of the album holds a new sound that Kamelot has never touched base with. The story behind Silverthorn makes the album that much more powerful. This album only proves that Kamelot will live on even without the voice and creativity of Roy Khan. While Khan's legacy will remain with the fans of Kamelot, the majestic vocals of Tommy Karevik as well as the new songwriting team prove to be fully capable of delivering a sound that will keep the magic of Kamelot alive.