Many people know Kalmah as sounding very similar to Children of Bodom - fairly dynamic, mid-range vocals, heavy keyboards, and excellent guitar work. Personally, I am more of a fan of Kalmah - Antti Kokko's very unique, melodic lead style appeals to me more than Alexi Laiho's ripping solos.
Now, however, Kalmah seems to be ditching the CoB style of Power Metal, or at least moving in a different direction. Pekka Kokko's shyly mixed, mid-range voice has become a monstrous, deep roar mixed very prominently into the music. He has, over the course of when Swampsong was released until The Black Waltz, learned how to use his voice as an instrument, which really improves the overall sound of the music. The keyboards have also taken on a more dramatic tone, and for the most part, do not play along with Antti Kokko's soloing. They instead take on a very Dimmu Borgir-ish feel some of the time, and other times switch off soloing with the lead guitar. This, again, adds a more dynamic feel to Kalmah's music.
Another improvement is the presence of an acoustic track, Svieri Doroga (fun fact - that is the name of their first EP). I always knew Kalmah would be brilliant in an acoustic piece, and I was not let down! This is an absolutely superb song, and I love the riffing on it. It also serves as a very nice prelude to possibly the most epic-sounding track on the album - The Black Waltz, in which, again, Kalmah keyboardist Marco Sneck shows his versatility on the keys.
Another thing which really shows through on The Black Waltz, more so than their previous albums, is Kalmah's absolutely HUGE influence by old Heavy and Thrash Metal bands. There is enough Maiden and Megadeth in this album for both bands to make an album each from it. It really is that present - and Kalmah's unique keyboards and new vocal style give these sounds a new dimension that lends the overall feel of their album a unique sound. Much, much different than CoB.
I really cannot point out any weak spots on The Black Waltz - each track sounds extremely different from the last, yet they still retain a sense of uniformity. While it is by no means perfect, and perhaps could've used a little more variety in its tracks, I love the direction that Kalmah is going. They are still keeping their distinct, romantically guitared power metal riffing, pushing the vocals to be as brutal as possibly, and sending the keyboards into a dramatic, black metal tone. The shredding solos, usually seconded by keyboards on this album, are still there, and are intense as ever. This is definitely an album worth picking up, whether or not you are a big fan of Kalmah. The Black Waltz practically guarantees an explosive follow-up album by the band, and I am eager for it already!
Recommended tracks - Time Takes Us All, Bitter Metallic Side, Mindrust, Svieri Doroga.
Yeah, it's... really different. Pekka's vocals suprised me at first...I even checked a bunch of metal news sites and wikipedia to see if perhaps they had a band lineup change, but nope, that's Pekka. How the hell can that be Pekka? I don't know. But I like it.
Like I said--it's really different. They definitely completely ditched the CoB sound--and because of it, they sound almost like an entirely different band. In some ways, this is good, but in some ways I kind of miss the old CoB-style power/death fusion. They did it far better than Bodom, if you ask me. But oh well. Good stuff.
Whereas the comparison could've been justified back in the They Will Return days, it is definitely not justified now. Kalmah is beginning to totally forge their own sound here - In my opinion, The Black Waltz is just a stepping stone. Their next release will be absolutely killer.
It doesn't change much (although I personally thought To The Gallows sounded a lot different than the previous tracks)...until the Svieri Doroga interlude and The Black Waltz, then it takes a step in a different direction. It begins to start sounding the same, and then Mindrust comes on. Kalmah finishes the album with One From the Stands, which kind of kicks back to the sound of the first couple tracks.
I think CoB is crap compared to Kalmah, has always been, and always will be. Their riffs are boring the shredding doesn't save a song or album, since riffs make up most of a song, and CoB's melodies sound too happy or childish, as well as boring keyboards, back to Kalmah, Defeat has awesome keyboards, omg >.
check out Jerry C from.... somewhere in Asia, his guitar work puts Laiho to shame when it comes to shredding/solo-ing. with that being said....... sorry im just a bit anal about mofos putting Laiho and 'co' above Kalmah when really.......... well its only my opinion anyway =p
i dont know about the vocals, music is really good though. but vocals really turn me off
and to the guy above me, laiho is a really good guitarist. kalmah also has a very skilled guitarist. jerry c is not any better than alexi, jerry c should be known as a god of sweeping becuase he is purely amazing at sweeps, but alexi laiho is pretty damn good at them aswell. and alexi made something of himself, jerry c has only and couple video's and a website. laiho has a record deal.
not to put down jerrycThis Message Edited On 03.08.06