Kalmah
12 Gauge


4.0
excellent

Review

by Thomas Michael Morris USER (36 Reviews)
February 28th, 2010 | 137 replies | 10,671 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: neoclassical-melodic-power-death-folk-cluster***-metal, now with more swamp.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

Since their humble beginnings, Kalmah have constantly been compared to fellow Finnish countrymen Children of Bodom and their delightful clone, Norther. The genre of which these three bands play has been subject to debate by all metallic idiots looking for a chance to flash their intellectual...intellect. (They’re melodic death metal! No they’re power metal with harsh vocals! No they’re neoclassical-melodic-power-death-folk-cluster***-metal!). Hell, the bands have even gone down similar paths in terms of overall progression (or lack of, rather). Children of Bodom and Norther both may have started out with fun-loving, highly energized 30 minute albums of neoclassical-shred but with the release of “Blooddrunk” and “N” respectively, the two seemed to have thrown in the towel and turned into gimmicky quasi-industrial death metal bands. Subsequently, both bands became a shadow of their former self, and it would be hard-pressed to see them return to what they used to be.

Two years ago, with the release of For the Revolution, I feared Kalmah may be going down a similar path. The album was bland, uninspired, and lacked the badass swamp-fueled shenanigans of great albums such as Swamplord or They Will Return. So perhaps it was because I had very little expectations, (in all honesty I had no idea 12 Gauge existed until a few weeks ago) but when I gave Kalmah’s sixth full-length release a listen, I was surprised to say the least.

12 Gauge ***ing rips.

It’s true. Kalmah’s general sound may not changed much since The Black Waltz, but for the first time since Swampsong the band actually sounds like they’re enjoying themselves. Take the chunkiest, thrashiest riffs from The Black Waltz and infuse it with the energy and for lack of a better word, “shred” of They Will Return, and you have a pretty solid idea of the album’s sound. Songs such as “Godeye” and the absolutely enthralling “Bullets are Blind” blister along at speeds not approached by Kalmah since “The Blind Leader”, where as slower tracks such as “Sacramentum” and the title-track bring to mind classics such as “Moon of My Nights” or even “My Nation.”

Unlike on older albums where they were directly in the foreground, the keys have settled back in the mix on 12 Gauge for the most part. However, where on For the Revolution the symphonic elements were abused and obnoxious at times, the keys are utilized absolutely perfectly this time around. On the previously mentioned title-track and the doomy “Sacramentum,” the keys provide minimally symphonic touches that boost the songs’ atmospheres tenfold. When it comes time to shine however, such as the intro to “One of Fail” or the pre-chorus of “Bullets Are Blind,” they do not disappoint and remind the listener that Kalmah still have some shred left in their tank.

Even the production seems to have been kicked up a notch on 12 Gauge. On For the Revolution the guitar riffs sounded absolutely flat and lifeless. However, the moment after the haunting acoustic intro of “Rust Never Sleeps” ends, it becomes apparent that the riffs on this album are some of the densest and meatiest of Kalmah’s career. Hook the Monster begins with an absolutely monstrous riff which thunders on for the majority of the four-minute song’s duration, and opener “Rust Never Sleeps” has an arsenal of magnificent riffage. Though the song writing has definitely improved over the last few albums, the production works wonders on the album’s texture.

All in all, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear Kalmah put out an album like 12 Gauge. With it’s release Kalmah have proven that they are not going down the same path their fellow countrymen have without a fighting chance. And really, they succeeded.

Recommended Tracks

:edit: Actually fuck that I'm gonna rank this shit.

1. Bullets Are Blind
2. Sacramentum
3. Rust Never Sleeps
4. Godeye
5. Hook the Monster
6. 12 Gauge
7. One of Fail
8. Better Not to Tell
9. Swampwar

4 gigantic Norse swamp-trolls out of 5



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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Yazz_Flute
February 28th 2010



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

meh I kinda hit a roadblock after "12 Gauge fucking rips" but I finished anyway. Hit me with some feed back and do yourselves a favor and listen to the damn album.

"Bullets Are Blind" may be the best Kalmah song ever.

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

bloozclooz
February 28th 2010



1770 Comments


didn't this get reviewed like 14 seconds ago?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2010



16301 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome, album slays and I can tell this will only get better with time.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Yazz_Flute
February 28th 2010



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well it got kicked off the front page and I said I was going to review it a few days ago. I'm not one to back off on my word even if the review isn't my greatest.

jingledeath
February 28th 2010



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh my, a 4 and a 4.5? thought this was gonna suck but now i'm really intrigued, will listen soon.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2010



16301 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This far from sucks Jingle, I think you'll like this.

Relinquished
February 28th 2010



24880 Comments


ok Crysis and bodom give this higher than a 4, so I gonna check it out later

Zoo
February 28th 2010



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

should probably re-word that summary as it's very similar to crysis's summary

Ponton
Emeritus
February 28th 2010



5790 Comments


Same here, eventually. Nice one, bodom.

bloozclooz
February 28th 2010



1770 Comments


possible edits: the first sentence is completely useless, merge with the second, as it's both redundant and a poor way to start the review.

:D

Yazz_Flute
February 28th 2010



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah this really took me by surprised. For the Revolution is a 2.5-3 for me and this is bordering on a 4.5. With all honesty it could be their best album, but seeing as i've only had it for like a week that could just be hype.

And really all of the tracks are excellent. My least favorite is probably "Swampwar" and that's still better than half of FTR.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2010



16301 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But the solo in Swampwar is just flat-out awesome.

Yazz_Flute
February 28th 2010



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah Swampwar has one of the album's best solos, but the rest of the song is a bit unmemorable amidst the other 8 songs.

bloozclooz
February 28th 2010



1770 Comments


man i feel like i'm missing something by not looking these guys up. but right now i'm still backtracking neuraxis' discography, and it's too damn good to stop now.

i'll probably remember to look these guys up about 2 year from now. and i'll be like holy fuck this is awesome!

Yazz_Flute
February 28th 2010



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

edited the summary, i'll change the intro when I can think of something haha...but imma shower and whatnot now.

I've thought of the word "swamp" so much in the past 10 minutes that it doesn't sound like a work anymore. I wonder how Kalmah do it.

maidenpmcc
February 28th 2010



1424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album fuckin OWNS, back to their best clearly. Hail the swamplords!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bloozclooz
February 28th 2010



1770 Comments


i'll do it for you. (if i may).

"Kalmah are one of those bands that always seems to be compared amongst similar groups. The bands considered in this case, are Finnish countrymen Children of Bodom and their delightful clone, Norther."

edited:

Kalmah are one of those bands that always seem to be compared against similar groups such as fellow Finnish Children of Bodom and Norther.

something along those lines. not sure what you were tying to say, so i can't do that good of a job.

Zoo
February 28th 2010



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I still don't understand why everyone uses "are" when talking about a band. It should be "is".

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2010



16301 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Probably because a lot of people are thinking of multiple people when they talk about a band. I catch myself doing it sometimes.

Relinquished
February 28th 2010



24880 Comments


eliminator



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