Kalmah
Kalmah


3.3
great

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
May 28th, 2023 | 100 replies


Release Date: 05/24/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All hail the mighty swamp lords.

After a five-year hiatus, Finnish swamp sovereigns Kalmah are back with a new self-titled chapter, this time in shades of clay and under a new label, Ranka Kustannus. While periods of hibernation can be seen as the new normal for the collective since Seventh Swamphony, they add some extra suspense and anticipation to the fanbase and members of the honorable Swamp Aficionados Society, eager for another dose of Kalmah's trademark melodic death metal. A vibrant, somewhat distinctive formula that has been leaving a trail of indisputable value since the turn of the millennium, responsible for classics such as They Will Return or The Black Waltz that rank among the best of their kind. In addition to the swampy imagery, the occasional thrashy riffing is likely what sets them apart from the pack, lending a burst of adrenaline to a recipe that swings between melody and aggression, as is customary on melodic death metal shores. Consistency is yet another of Kalmah's attributes, stylistically and qualitatively, as they have never dropped mediocre material or strayed too far from the original path; even the divisive (and underrated) For the Revolution and Palo offer strong highlights that rival the very best music the collective has ever recorded.

Kalmah's lead single 'Haunted by Guilt', and the two that followed, corroborated that yet again the quintet would not venture into uncharted swamps despite what the artwork’s earthy tones might suggest, and frankly, I'd be surprised if it were otherwise. At this point in their 25-year career, it is only to be expected that the lads don't stray from their comfort zone. Nevertheless, it wasn't the music, which remained true to itself, that drew my attention, but the production, which presented shortcomings in terms of the recording and mastering, at least to my ears. While a muddy, more lo-fi sound can occasionally be an aesthetic preference, it appears to be unintentional in this case. Something I would later confirm when listening to the album’s promo, kindly supplied by Ranka Kustannus, comparing its sound quality with the three songs that were available on digital platforms at the time. I don't normally get too carried away by first impressions or production-related technicalities, but in this case, I must admit it conditioned my listening experience, no matter how much I wanted to avoid it or find a rational explanation. Musically, as mentioned, Kalmah is expectably coherent and consistent with the band's portfolio, resorting to the usual recipe that throws folksy melodies and savage riffing into the same pot, often complemented by blast beats and Pekka Kokko's intense vocals that add a raw, aggressive layer to the music. 'Haunted by Guilt' and the thrashy 'Taken Before Given' are the finest examples of this trademark formula, along with the catchy 'Home Sweet Hell', which features the album's most memorable chorus. While I wouldn't put these songs on the same level as the lads' best work, they are nonetheless a pleasant addition to the band's repertoire. The overwhelming verses of 'Serve the Untrue' and 'Red and Black', as well as the Metallica-esque harmony in the bridge of 'Drifting in a Dream', are also among Kalmah's highlights, with the latter forming with 'No Words Sad Enough' the album's most slow-paced cluster and its greatest (tempo-wise) contrasts. It seems reasonable to say that, despite its technical sound glitches and never reaching creative stratospheres, this is a ride that offers enough points of interest to any fan of the band, if only because it may be, in the lads’ own words, their last run.

Swampsong or not, masterpiece or not, the important thing to retain here is that after 25 years and so many accomplished chapters, the undisputed swamp overlords are still having fun and sprouting quality music from their mossy, swampy coastlines. And I, as a devoted member of the mythical Swamp Aficionados Society, humbly ask the lads not to make this self-titled episode their last, for there is no one of noble lineage to take their throne.

All hail the mighty swamp lords.



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user ratings (119)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2023


18936 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I've never had so many mixed feelings about a Kalmah release, but these guys rule 🤘

The album is available on all streaming platforms.



Kusangii
May 28th 2023


6331 Comments


Damn that average rating. Will def check, band is good

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2023


18936 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

May 28th, 2023 - 4.2 (24 ratings)



Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2023


32013 Comments


I'm really enjoying this one.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2023


18936 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Judging by the overall rating you're not alone ;)

Steiner
May 28th 2023


102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm still unpacking this one but initial impressions are that it's vintage Kalmah. If you're a Kalmah fan and you're not enjoying this album then I'm not exactly sure what you were expecting. You could throw any of these tracks onto their earlier albums and they'd fit right in. God bless bands like Kalmah that stay true to their sound.

mifzal
May 28th 2023


3440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Easily their best since 12 Gauge. Nice mix of old + modern kalmah.

Muzz79
May 28th 2023


3022 Comments


1 spin in and Red and Black stood out

JWT155
May 28th 2023


14948 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Album rips.

mifzal
May 28th 2023


3440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The mix is pretty lame that's for sure . For a professional band that's been in the business for 30 years it is inexcusable

Sevengill
May 28th 2023


11911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah I thought maybe my car speakers had gone at first. album's still great.

swipenet
May 28th 2023


3352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

When they announced the album they specifically said "no digital-over-polished-shit but real amps and raw playing", so maybe this is what they meant.

That being said I had to bump my rating given how many times I've replayed it lol.

sneakers
May 28th 2023


1286 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty cool

Ebola
May 28th 2023


4506 Comments


This is really good.

pengui
May 28th 2023


127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is bloody good. Probably best melodic death metal album I've heard in the last couple of years besides Be'lakor. I've always thought these guys are good, just not amazing. I'll have to go back and listen to their earlier albums that have the above 4 ratings but I'd reckon this would hold up as almost the best.

DarkSideOfLucca
May 28th 2023


17521 Comments


Wait this is like prob my favorite melodic death metal band, or at least way the fuck up there

How did I not know about this?

Elynna
May 28th 2023


1427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great record, the lads simply cannot disappoint

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2023


18256 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fern on the front page has been too long a wait.

mifzal
May 28th 2023


3440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Serve the Untrue is an instant Kalmah classic

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2023


18936 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Was Terrasite released that long ago? hahah



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