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Opening with the track "Regalis Aperture," an instrumental piece that sounds like it could have been lifted from the Chariots of Fire soundtrack, Kamelot's Karma promises to deliver ambitiously orchestral prog-metal from the very start. A scan of the song titles ("Wings of Despair," "The Light I Shine on You," "Temples of Gold") further suggests Kamelot's wholehearted embrace of the dramatic (expect lots of references to "destiny," "mountains," and "immortals"). Fans of symphonic metal groups like Helloween, Dream Theater, and Yngwie Malmsteen will find few surprises on the quasi-conceptual Karma -- which doesn't add any new wrinkles to the genre -- but they will appreciate the meticulous performances of the band. Tracks like "Forever" and "Karma" are propelled by blinding 16th-note kick drums and post-speed metal guitar rhythms, but are overlaid with enough lush keyboards, string arrangements, and unabashedly emotive vocal turns to impress most prog-metal aficionados.

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