Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23rd, 2012 - My Imperial Stout Confession

The Meista here with another pairing for you tonight my friends and a change of gears! Tonight I'm going with a (not so) little power metal group and a very "epic" stout... Kamelot's new album, "Silverthorn" and Epic Brewing Company's Imperial Stout (Release # 8). And this pairing is for my power metal brothers, Jeff Turner and Josh Mortensen! Hails Jeff and Josh!

After singer Roy Kahn left the band, many Kamelot fans (myself included) were preparing for the end.   However and fortunately, a fantastic 2010-2011 tour continued with guest singer Fabio Lione of Rhapsody. And now with new singer Tommy Karevik (previously of Seventh Wonder), Kamelot makes a triumphant return with their 10th studio album, "Silverthorn"! As with their previous albums, "Silverthorn" is a multi-layered masterpiece of complexity, haunting darkness, musicianship, and intensity. There are moments of heartfelt and mesmerizing beauty as well as moments of intense and powerful explosiveness. Female guest vocalists, Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist) harmonize and enhance Karevik's amazing vocals perfectly. Thomas Youngblood's fantastic guitars coupled with guest guitarist, Sascha Paeth are ethereal, symphonic, and bombastic! Just listen to the solo work on the title track as well as the solo on "Prodical Son"! DAMN!!  Oliver Palotei's keys and orchestrations are breathtaking. Casey Grillo hammers out drum rolls with precision and emotion while Sean Tibbetts' bass work is as solid and as heavy as ever! Karevik is a fine replacement for Kahn and even sounds a lot like him, but with his own voice and vocal range. This is a concept album dealing with death and darkness and the afterlife. I won't ruin the storyline or even try to convey the meaning, but much like "The Black Halo," you will find it intriguing, thoughtful, and captivating. The song structure is wonderful. Songs like "Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)," "Ashes to Ashes," "Torn," "Falling Like The Fahrenheit," and "Solitaire" are booming and epic rockers, while songs like "Song for Jolee," "Prodigal Son," and the finale, "Continuum" are haunting and beautiful works of complexity and richness. One of my favorites, "Veritas" is a powerful piece with fantastic chord and tempo changes... really quite breathtaking. With every listen I find new and fantastic elements of musicianship, depth, and emotion... it is really quite astounding!

As with "Silverthorn," Epic's Imperial Stout is a work of complexity, richness, balance, and beauty. Full-bodied and totally engrossing, this is how a stout is supposed to taste! It pours a lovely deep, dark mahogany with a mocha head that shows strong and sustained lacing throughout. The nose is chocolate and coffee as well as toasted malt. Like a good, strong coffee, the Imperial Stout's flavors are rich, earthy, and bitter-sweet. I'm reminded of the Turkish proverb: "Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love."  That my friends is exactly what Epic's Imperial Stout is!! The initial flavor is anise and dark chocolate with notes of coffee. Upon further exploration, you find notes of smoked barley, toffee, and almond. There's a real nice finish of sweet dark chocolate that lingers. Epic employs Muntons Maris Otter Malt, Briess 2-Row Brewer Malt, Crystal Muntons, Weyerman Light Munich Malt T1, 2-Row chocolate malt, 2-row black malt, roasted barley for this gem, giving it a profound depth... along with Nugget, Chinook, and Cascade hops to give it some bitterness. Coming in at 9.8% ABV, this is a very big beer, but it is so smooth and velvety, you really are unaware of the higher alcohol content (which can be a bit dangerous!) You will want to sip this one! With the depth and complexity of "Silverthorn," Epic's Imperial Stout is a perfect pairing for an evening of deep, dark astonishment and exploration.

Check out Epic's Imperial Stout at and make sure you visit Kamelot's website at and go buy their new album, "Silverthorn"!! Cheers!!

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