Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8th, 2015 - An Power Metal Haven In A Bottle Of Abbey Saison

Good evening!  The Meista here pairing an Ovila Abbey Saison with Mandarin Oranges and Peppercorns from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and "Haven" (Limited Deluxe Edition), the latest album from Kamelot... released just this week!  I picked up this brilliant album today that I had on special order from my buddy Kevin at the Heavy Metal Shop ( buy local!!  This pairing goes out to my fellow Kamelot fans Jeff, Rod, Lacy, Erika, Ariel, and Carlos... cheers power/prog metal brethren!!

Album Info:
  • Artist: Kamelot
  • Title: "Haven" (Limited Deluxe Edition)
  • Recorded: Pathway Studios Wolfsburg, German
  • Release date: May 5th, 2015 (11th studio release from Kamelot)
  • Record company: Napalm Records
  • Album cover art: Stefan Heilemann and Gustavo Sazes
  • Personnel: Casey Grillo (drums), Tommy Karevik (lead vocals), Oliver Palotai (keyboards and orchestration), Sean Tibbetts (bass guitar), and Thomas Youngblood (guitars)
  • Additional musicians: Troy Donockley of Nightwish (tin whistle), Dennis Homung (contrabass on "Fallen Star"), Miro (additional keyboards on "Veil Of Elysium" and "End Of Innocence"), Sascha Paeth (additional guitars), Charlotte Wessels of Delain (vocals), and Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy (vocals) 
  • Musical style: Power metal, progressive metal, symphonic/neoclassical metal
  • Sound: Cinematic, bombastic, polished, and wonderfully powerful, the sound on "Haven" is exactly what I was hoping for with the follow-up to "Silverthorn"!  Youngblood's aggressive and fiery guitar work, Tibbetts' booming bass, and Grillo's powerhouse drumming is perfectly balanced with the huge, soaring vocal acrobatic delivery of Karevik and Palotai's hauntingly beautiful keys/orchestration! 
  • Major themes: "Haven" is a concept album telling the sci-fi tale of a post-apocolypse dystopian society with themes of revolting against oppression, surveillance, perseverance, self-reliance, etc.  Of the album, guitarist Youngblood stated the following: "The Haven album has an undertone of a world going insane. There is a grey cloud that is forming over our world. We are here to find that silver lining with an album that is both dark and melancholy yet uplifting and giving the listener a Haven in a world gone mad. We are really proud of the song elements and diversity on Haven.”
  • Tracks:   
Disc 1:
  1. "Fallen Star"
  2. "Insomnia"
  3. "Citizen Zero"
  4. "Veil Of Elysium"
  5. "Under Grey Skies"
  6. "My Therapy"
  7. "Ecclesia"
  8. "End Of Innocence"
  9. "Beautiful Apocalypse"
  10. "Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)"  
  11. "Here's To The Fall"
  12. "Revolution"
  13. "Haven"    
Disc 2:
  1. "End Of Innocence" (Piano Version)
  2. "Veil Of Elysium" (Acoustic Version)
  3. "Fallen Star" (Orchestral Version)
  4. "Here's To The Fall" (Orchestral Version)
  5. "My Therapy" (Orchestral Version)
  6. "Fallen Star" (Instrumental Version)
  7. "Insomnia" (Instrumental Version)
  8. "Citizen Zero" (Instrumental Version)
  9. "Veil Of Elysium" (Instrumental Version)
  10. "Under Grey Skies" (Instrumental Version)
  11. "My Therapy" (Instrumental Version)
  12. "End Of Innocence" (Instrumental Version)
  13. "Beautiful Apocalypse" (Instrumental Version)
  14. "Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)" (Instrumental Version)
  15. "Revolution" (Instrumental Version)

    Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, California)
  • Website:
  • Brew: Ovila Abbey Saison with Mandarin Oranges and Peppercorns
  • Style: Belgian-Style Saison/Farmhouse Ale
  • Serving: 12 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 7.5%
  • IBUs: 24
  • Gravity: 16 degrees Plato
  • Ingredients: Wild Belgian yeast; estate-grown two-row Caramel, Pale, and Wheat malts; Summit hops (bittering); El Dorado, Mandarina Bavaria, and Styrian Golding hops (finishing); and locally grown and hand-picked Mandarin oranges (from the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California) and peppercorn     
  • Pour: It pours a very murky orange-copper with a very thin, white head that fades quickly.
  • Nose: The nose of the Ovila Abbey Saison is characterized by fruit ester, tartness, hints of sweet malt, spices and wild yeast... lots of banana, pineapple, pear, citrus (orange and lemon), and pink bubble-gum with peppery and exotic spices in the nose of this one. 
  • Taste: Following the nose, the taste of the Ovila Abbey Saison, is sweet, peppery, and tangy.  There are wonderfully intricate notes of pineapple, pear syrup, orange, lemon, banana, sweet toffee, pepper, nutmeg, and pink bubble-gum.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate to strong carbonation, the mouthfeel is frothy and prickly with lots of spices in the rather dry finish... and a bit if boozy warming.  It seems to sweeten and become more syrupy as it warms as well... lovely!
Overall pairing: If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have picked up on the somewhat consistent pattern of my pairing power/progressive/symphonic metal albums with Belgian-style ales.  There's something about the complexity and fruit esters of Belgian ales that seems to go so well with the bombastic, soaring, and well-balanced sound of a really good progressive/symphonic power metal band... and this is definitely true of Kamelot's "Haven"!  There's all sorts of richness, complexity, and brilliance going on here... both in the ale and the album!!  Big thumbs up for both!!

Cheers and hails to Kamelot!!

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