Review Summary: Long time metallers for more than two decades and ploughing into their eighth album, the Finnish melodeath masters have had little reason to alter their sound, and thank the Swamplord for it.
‘Palo’, Finnish for Fire, an entirely appropriate name for an album that brings such warmth yet remains deadly at the same time.
Every song is by the book, straight out happy-go-lucky melodeath. Thrashy galloping guitars, Pekka growling his heart out, follow-along drums and occasional but welcome Kananen piano and synth pieces. Nothing in particular stands out—indeed the album blends together as one great jam session. It’s not too much of an issue though, as while hardly a song shines sharply from the rest, none can be said to be very poor either.
The album lacks power overall, certainly with respect to their previous masterpieces in their debut, The Black Waltz
, and 12 Gauge
, but does put out some intense sections on The World of Rage
, Into the Black Marsh
, and Waiting in the Wings
. The melodies are straightforward and pleasant if not amazingly so, with the denouement in The Stalker
containing the best and more creative compositions. Piano sections are done particularly well on World
, Black Marsh
, and Take Me Away
, although Marsh
has to be the weakest song owing to its more mundane riffage.
The hardened metalhead is unlikely to be impressed by the opener Blood Ran Cold
, or Through the Shallow Waters
, but are more than passable for any true Kalmah fan. The ‘hip-hip hooray’s on The Evil Kin
however are lame and stale by any standard, thinly veiled and poignant criticism of mankind’s foibles as they may be, the only element holding it back from being a four-star song and giving The Stalker
In short, Palo
is as much as its title suggests—a comfortable fire by which to warm your aural phalanges after a long day treading the winters of a cold, clamorous world. Just don’t get too close.