The Black Halo
The Black Halo is the highly acclaimed, seventh full-length album by the American power metal band Kamelot. It was released on March 15, 2005, through Steamhammer Records. It is a concept album inspired by Goethe's Faust. Continuing the story introduced in Epica (2003), it is the second and final record in Kamelot's two-part rock opera about Ariel (a character based on Heinrich Faust). Epica tells Part 1 while The Black Halo tells Part 2. Goethe's Faust is also broken into two parts. The Black Halo features guest appearances by Simone Simons (Epica), Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir), Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), and several others. The album was released on vinyl in the spring of 2009, along with Ghost Opera (2007).
|The Black Halo|
|Studio album by Kamelot|
|Released||March 15, 2005|
|Recorded||Gate Studio, Wolfsburg, Germany,
Above the C Studio and Morrisound Studios, Tampa, Florida,
Panser Studio, Oslo and Mirage Recordings, Elverum, Norway,
|Genre||Power metal, symphonic metal, heavy metal, progressive metal|
|Producer||Sascha Paeth, Miro, Roy Khan, Thomas Youngblood|
|Singles from The Black Halo|
|The Metal Crypt|||
|Sea of Tranquility|||
- Ariel (Roy Khan) – Ariel is a curious, determined, and arrogant man. An unparalleled genius and an accomplished scientist and philosopher, he has become disappointed with the inability of these disciplines to answer his deepest questions and seeks to uncover the universal truth that they have failed to provide. He strongly believes that discovering such transcendent knowledge is the only thing that can make his life worthwhile. In Epica, Ariel's quest for this truth led him to make a binding deal with Mephisto, under which Mephisto would supply him with worldly power and knowledge. In exchange, if Ariel ever experiences a moment in which he is so content that he wishes to linger there forever, his soul will belong to Mephisto. After a reunion with Helena, Ariel left her to continue his quest, driving her to commit suicide. Ariel is based on the character Heinrich Faust from Goethe's Faust.
- Helena (Mari) – Helena grew up with Ariel, and loves him deeply. She is the only person that Ariel has ever truly loved. She represents innocence and all that is pure and good. In Epica, after Ariel left to embark on his quest for ultimate knowledge, she went in search of him, and eventually found him. Though they stayed together for a time, Ariel left her to continue his quest. Helena, distraught at this, killed herself. Now in Heaven, she is watching over Ariel. Helena is based on Gretchen from Goethe's Faust.
- Mephisto (Shagrath) – Mephisto is a rebellious angel who was cast out of Heaven. He desperately yearns to reenter Heaven and be reunited with God. He deeply disdains humans, whom he considers inferior beings unworthy of God's love. In Epica, Mephisto made a bet with God that he could claim the soul of Ariel, God's favorite man. If Mephisto wins his bet, he can re-enter Heaven, but if he loses, he will be condemned to Hell for eternity. Mephisto manipulated Ariel into a contract whereby Mephisto would provide Ariel with worldly power and knowledge, and in exchange, if Ariel ever experiences a moment of such deep contentment that he wishes to linger there forever, his soul would belong to Mephisto. Mephisto is the only character whose name was left as it was in the original Faust story.
- Marguerite (Simone Simons) – A young woman living in the Town (in which Epica ends and The Black Halo begins), Marguerite's voice and appearance are similar to Helena's. Her character was inspired by the appearance of Helen of Troy in Goethe's Faust, but she is named after Gretchen from Goethe's Faust, "Gretchen" being a nickname for Margaret or Marguerite.
Continuing from Epica, Ariel is still stricken with grief and sorrow over Helena's death. (March of Mephisto) With Ariel's will nearly under Mephisto's total control, the fallen angel brings Ariel a beautiful young woman named Marguerite, who looks and speaks like Helena. Ariel seduces Marguerite and the two sleep together, which completes Mephisto's manipulation of Ariel. (When the Lights are Down) The morning after, Ariel regains his memory, breaking Mephisto's control over him, and comes to his senses. He apologizes to Marguerite and explains his story, begging her to leave, but saying that they might meet again someday. (The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)) Ariel leaves Mephisto, and wonders how all the pain he has caused could come about as a result of his good intentions in searching for the answers to the meaning of life. (Soul Society) He concludes that it is impossible to find these answers on Earth and that they must lie in heaven alone. (Interlude I: Dei Gratia) Realizing that his sins have prevented him from entering heaven, he begs God for forgiveness but hears no sign from Him. (Abandoned) Heartbroken, he realizes that he will never be able to reunite with Helena, nor find the answers he seeks. He looks back on the suffering that he has caused to everyone he knows and concludes that it can never be undone. (This Pain)
With this, Ariel prompts himself into action and decides to confront Mephisto. He crosses the river and approaches Mephisto's castle. (Moonlight) Resigning himself to death, he approaches Mephisto. (Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso) Ariel denounces him as traitorous and evil. He cuts his ties to Mephisto, and resolves to live a good life like Helena did, even though his sins have damned his soul to hell anyway. (The Black Halo) Ariel states that humanity will always struggle with the very questions that Ariel has been trying to answer throughout his journey. This prompts him to a sudden realization: that love is the ultimate answer to life, and that the true love between himself and Helena was thus a part of it, even before he left on his quest. He knows now that, even having found his answer, he will never be truly satisfied, and that his free will allows him to create his own meaning of life and his own destiny. With his questions finally answered, he comes to a state of transcendental understanding and sublime joy, so strong that he wishes to linger at that moment forever. (Nothing Ever Dies)
This moment of total satisfaction brings into effect the contract that Ariel made with Mephisto, and thus his soul now belongs to the fallen angel. As Ariel's soul begins to leave his body, Mephisto prepares to claim it. However, Helena intercedes to God on Ariel's behalf. Since Ariel has rejected all evil, even in the face of certain damnation, he has redeemed himself, and God allows him to enter heaven with Helena. Mephisto, his bet with God lost, wails as he is cast into hell forever. (Memento Mori)
With the story over, it is revealed that Ariel's tale is a playset for a New Year's Eve festival, similar to the framing device of Goethe's Faust. (Interlude III: Midnight – Twelve Tolls for a New Day) The festival ends with a tribute to tragedy, comedy, and the cyclical nature of life. (Serenade)
All tracks written by Kamelot.
|1.||"March of Mephisto" (feat. Shagrath)||5:28|
|2.||"When the Lights Are Down"||3:41|
|3.||"The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)" (feat. Simone Simons)||5:40|
|5.||"Interlude I: Dei Gratia"||0:57|
|6.||"Abandoned" (feat. Mari Youngblood)||4:07|
|9.||"Interlude II: Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso"||0:40|
|10.||"The Black Halo"||3:43|
|11.||"Nothing Ever Dies"||4:45|
|12.||"Memento Mori" (feat. Shagrath & Mari Youngblood)||8:54|
|13.||"Interlude III: Midnight - Twelve Tolls for a New Day"||1:21|
|Limited edition bonus tracks|
|15.||"The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)" (feat. Simone Simons, radio edit)||3:42|
|16.||"March of Mephisto" (feat. Shagrath, radio edit)||3:31|
|Japanese bonus tracks|
|16.||"Soul Society" (radio edit)||3:52|
|hidden track on some CD players|
|0.||"The Second Act" (unofficial name)||1:20|
There is a short hidden track (1:20) in the pregap. Rewinding from "March of Mephisto" on some CD players reveal a couple entering a theatre and being told that they have "just made it to the second act", referring to The Black Halo as the second album in a two-part concept.
|Swedish Albums Chart||24|
|Japanese Albums Chart||41|
|Finnish Albums Chart||50|
|German Albums Chart||81|
|Belgian Albums Charts||81|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||87|
|French Albums Chart||101|
- Keyboards and orchestral arrangements – Miro
- Additional guitars – Sascha Paeth
- Keyboard solos on "March of Mephisto" and "When the Lights Are Down" – Jens Johansson
- Mephisto character on "March of Mephisto" and "Memento Mori" – Shagrath
- Cabaret singer on "Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso" – Cinzia Rizzo
- Marguerite character on "The Haunting" – Simone Simons
- The Usher at the Theater and Mayor of Gatesville – Geoff Rudd
- Helena character on "Memento Mori" and "Abandoned" – Mari Youngblood
- Baby Alena on "Soul Society" – Annelise Youngblood (Thomas Youngblood's daughter)
- D-bass on "Abandoned" – Andre Neygenfind
- Oboe on "Memento Mori" – Wolfgang Dietrich
- Rodenberg Symphony Orchestra
- Kamelot Choir: Herbie Langhans, Amanda Somerville, Michael Rodenberg, Gerit Göbel, Thomas Rettke and Elisabeth Kjaernes
- Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Kamelot The Black Halo review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "Sputnik music review".
- "Metal Storm review".
- "Amazon.com review".
- "Last Rites review".
- "The Metal Crypt review".
- "Sea of Tranquility review".
- "Metaleater review".
- "Metal Temple review".
- - Official site news article dated December 13, 2008. Archived December 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Blabbermouth.net article dated December 13, 2008". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on April 14, 2009. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- bravewords.com. "article dated December 13, 2008". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
- Steffen Hung. "Kamelot - The Black Halo". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2005-03-24.
- "The Black Halo (Japanese Charts)". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- "The Black Halo (Finnish Charts)". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- "The Black Halo (German Charts)". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- "Kamelot - The Black Halo". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2005-04-02.
- "The Black Halo (Norwegian Charts)". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- Steffen Hung. "Kamelot - The Black Halo". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2005-03-19.