Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 7/29/2003
posted on 6/2003 By:
I'm going to let you all in on a little secret I've known for awhile now - Kalmah kicks ass. 3 for 3. Not too many bands release three great albums to start off a career, but these fired-up Finns have done just that. Continuing down the path set by the outstanding album They Will Return, Kalmah has further defined their sound to the point where you know a given song is a Kalmah song even before the vocals kick in. The Children of Bodom comparisons that used to be so prevalent have pretty much dissipated to the point where both bands play Finnish-style melodic death, but that's where the similarities end. If anything, they seem a bit thrashier and more determined than Bodom, who come off as a bunch of guys who just want to get out there and have a good ol' headbanging time, not that there's anything wrong with that. As mentioned, this album is more like They Will Return than the debut, Swamplord, but the songs have gained more depth and are less immediate than TWR.
The production is as it was on the prior two: just a little underproduced, with a slight lack of low-end, and Pasi Hiltula's quirky keys (Think Evergrey). Fortunately, this sound fits Kalmah like a glove. The guitars have a sweet sound, with the lead carrying a nice chirpy tone, while the rhythm is thrashy as hell. I've always liked the way that Kalmah tends to throw vocals in as an afterthought, instead, preferring to just let the instruments jam away for minutes at a whack. On Swampsong, they've utilized the vocals a lot more, but learned how to effectively work them in. On top of that, Pekka Kokko's vox sound a bit improved. Pekka and his brother Antti continue to come up with spiraling, flowing riffwork, held down effectively by the blasting backline of Timo Lehtinen and Janne Kusmin.
Opener Heroes to Us has a nice start that builds in intensity until a dirty thrash riff ushers you into some trademark Kalmah metal. Note the way that they use a DEEP growl to back up the chorus. Very nice. And then there's the godly song Cloned Insanity... Great melodic leads set the stage for a song that rushes by at deadly speeds, with the deathblow delivered by a violent brakedown-like riff that first shows at around 1:10 and then again at the close. Bird of Ill Omen is another vicious thrasher that rolls over you like an M-1 Abrams tank. Man With Mystery showcases a bit of Gothenburg-melodicism, sounding a lot like Dark Tranquillity (Feast of Burden).
So if I were to recommend one particular track to listen to, it'd be the first one. And then, just hang tight for the next eight as well. There's no weak link on this album. It's about time this band gets some recognition for their ability to write killer jams. Swampsong has a vitality and urgency that's lacking in the current melodic death scene. This badboy doesn't come out in the states until the end of July, but it comes out in Europe this week, so I know I'll be ordering Swampsong from somewhere very soon. I highly advise you do the same. P.S. It's about foking time that Kalmah gets over to the US. If I don't get a tour or at least a festival appearance, heads will roll.
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For The Revolution
The Black Waltz
They Will Return