Monday, 2 July 2012


Roy Khan has quit music.

I'l understand if this means nothing to you - most of you have no clue who this guy is, not to mention his (former) band, Kamelot. But to me, this one sentence stings more than a hundred heartbreaks. While this says a lot about my fanatic love for music, it does not say nearly enough about this man's voice and how much it influenced me.

So why this lament? It is not just because one of my favorite singers of all time quit one of my all time favorite bands. It is because a truly unique voice, a true rarity in metal especially, has ceased to sing. For you see, Khan did not just quit Kamelot, he quit music alltogether.

The reasons for his departure are manifold. He now has a family and young son. He experienced burnout due to the intensive touring that bands these days have to undergo just to break even. His voice register went down, rendering him incapable of singing the high notes of Kamelot's older songs (though he hit them well enough when he needed to). But the final, and most dominant reason, is most perplexing: religious. Khan has found God.

This to me is especially abhorrent, because his voice is God given. I do not consider myself a religious man, but I do believe that if anything is divine, music is. To me, to have such an seraphic voice, to inspire hundreds of people, and then to forsake it all - that is heretical. Saying you quit music because of God is blasphemous.

I could tell you about Khan's days in Conception, where his exceptionally high voice grew and evolved. I could play you some of Kamelot's early songs where his silky tones gave rise to a new kind of power vocals, as well as the consolidation of his voice in their apex. I could show you how well he dealt with his voice register going lower in crafting wonderful melodies during Kamelot's post-Black Halo era. I could show you how astonishingly accurate and impressive his live performances were. But I will not.

I will not tire you with the story of Roy Khan and the evolution of his voice, as I intended - I understand my zeal and passion for this particular artist is probably shared by a select few.

What I will do is leave you with the lyrics of Epilogue, a bonus track from the Black Halo sessions that even then heralded Khans departure. Upon reading these and listening to the song, I am stunned by how obvious it was that Khan was going to leave. Though the song is dedicated "to the fans", anyone listening can hear the cry of a man on the edge of burnout - the cry of someone who's had enough. Now that he quit, and considering his age, I am loathe to admit that this might be it - we'll never hear from Khan again.

Here is to Roy Khan's voice. May it rest in peace.

EPILOGUE by Kamelot

One other year has left my life
One year bygone so soon
These were the days I sacrificed
These days were lived for you

Some came with winter in white

Some days were blown away
Some came with sultry summer nights
Some with October rain

Oh, how I long for utter silence

But who am I to know
When rain will turn to snow?
If life brings another day


  1. Thank you so much for this paean to Roy Khan. It is sweet and poignant and we miss him so much. Epilogue is a gorgeous song and brings to light Roy's pain through these beautiful lyrics and his exquisite voice.

    Your devotion and this page is much appreciated!

  2. Thank you for the comment! I truly miss Khan but I cherish the fact I can always listen to his music - that will never disappear. I am happy that Kamelot have managed to soldier on, because Khan's voice and presence was truly one of a kind. I did not think they would "make it" - but Silverthorn is pretty damn good.

  3. I miss him too...weird how sad it makes me to think of not ever hearing anything new from him again. I am so thankful that Kamelot found Tommy and will go on but I will forever miss Roy.

  4. Roy wasn't in the same category as singers such as Bruce Dickenson and Rob Halford, just as a random example. I mean, they're good, but Khan is a different beast. Khan's notes were worth more than our known heroes of rock and metal, in a way. His voice wasn't used to shout almost haphazardly as Rob was prone to do, nor could it be described as "close, but no cigar" in terms of its delivery and sustainability like Bruce's. You can't argue with Khans mastery, even on a raspy live performance, no more than you can argue that it doesn't take mastery to execute Paganini caprice perfectly on the violin when you hear it. I could rant all day about passaggios and vocal register stuff, but the point is the man had all the power and range you'd want in a singer, and he execute any portion of it in a completely healthy way and loud way from dead silence, even nights of arabia (even though youngblood may not think so anymore).

    1. I agree Stephen - he had amazing power and that subtle finesse that few other vocalists possessed. Age, and relentless touring, took their toll on his voice - but I still consider him one of the greatest vocalists of all time.