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KAMELOT's THOMAS YOUNGBLOOD Breaks Down The Awakening & Staying Fresh After 35 Years

Just ahead of their tour with Battle Beast and Xandria.

Kamelot_credit Nat Enemede
Photo by Nat Enemede

Tampa, FL may be one of the homes of death metal, yet, since the late 80s, Thomas Youngblood's Kamelot has laid claim to power metal pillar status from the Sunshine State. 

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To ask Youngblood, mere days ahead of the band's tour with Battle Beast and Xandria, about the art of reinvention, and of staying fresh in a flooded marketplace, is half the battle.

"It's crazy because I still feel like we're fresh in a way, and we're having a great time, and the band's still growing, which is awesome," Youngblood shared in a sit-down with Metal Injection.

I would say, if you went back to '95 and you said you 'would be doing this in 30 years' or whatever, I would have said I don't think so, because not many bands can do that. And I think it's a testament to, first of all, our fans, but also surrounding myself with super talented people and having a great team. Yeah, it's been amazing. We still have things to say and things to do."

Joined by vocalist Tommy Karevik, Oliver Palotai on keyboards, Sean Tibbetts on bass and Alex Landenburg on drums, with Youngblood, Kamelot's architect and long-time guitarist, boasts that the chemistry and comfort level of this incarnation of the lineup is among the best in the band's three-decade-plus history. 

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"I feel like the comfort level is kind of seamless. Also, Tommy being kind of one of the major songwriting contributors now is really great for me and for Oliver. He's able to do so much and also recording his vocals now at his home studio in Canada. So all of those things kind of facilitate being able to be more creative and include more details, spend more time on things. And I think it showed on this record. There's tons of variety on the album," he shares, proudly.

"I like to feel that The Awakening is sort of like a best-of of all the Kamelot eras. We have what we're doing today with the Kamelot DNA still intact, but also we're bringing back some of the kind of feels from like Ghost Opera days or even like Midsummer's Eve. It has a lot of the previous Kamelot ballad DNA with this Celtic kind of feel, almost a little bit like 'A Sailorman's Hymn' that we had. So yeah, I think it's just got everything for Kamelot fans."

Reflecting on the formative days, where Kamelot would release five albums in the span of seven years, and Youngblood confirms what many in the metal space have long known, that the attention span of listeners is waning in the streaming age, making the need to pump out an annual album a figment of the distant past.

"I think the way that people consume music, if you were to put out an album every year, there would be so many songs that would probably get overlooked. There's even discussions about bands just releasing one or two songs a year instead of a full album because of the way music is being consumed now by a lot of people. We still write albums for the guy or girl that's going to listen to the whole thing from front to back, right?

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"That's still our philosophy and we'll continue to do that. But it's definitely moving to a point where there's not going to be albums. It's going to be like singles or three song EPs. We'll see when that happens. But I think if we release an album every one or two years, a lot of songs would just kind of get left behind, because you can only take in so much as a listener."

And while it would be easy to slap "legacy band" to one of the founding figures of power metal in North America, don't expect Youngblood and company to rest on their epic laurels anytime soon.

"I don't want us to sound retro, you know? I don't want us to sound like we've been around for 30 years, even though we have, and I'm proud of that. But I also want every album to have Kamelot's sound, but it shows progression and it shows adapting to some modern approaches in terms of music or production," he shares proudly.

"And that keeps me young. It keeps everybody in the band. We have a fan base that scales from ten-year-olds to 50-year-olds. So it's just a great thing that we have I think in terms of our fan base."

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Catch Kamelot on tour with Battle Beast and Xandria at one of the dates below. Kamelot also just announced upcoming reissues of their seminal albums Ghost Opera, Poetry For The Poisoned and One Cold Winter's Night. Pre-order those here before they're out on November 17.

8/17 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
8/18 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
8/19 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
8/21 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
8/22 – Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
8/24 – Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theater
8/25 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
8/26 – Kansas City, MO @ The Truman
8/27 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
8/30 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
9/1 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
9/2 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
9/3 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
9/5 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
9/6 – Dallas, TX @ The Echo Lounge & Music Hall
9/8 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage (ProgPower USA) (Kamelot only)
9/9 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live

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