If Scandinavia is a land where Metal bands are not rare, it’s also possible to find some excellent ones. This is the case for Kalmah. Founded in 1991 under the name of Ancestor, the band plays Melodic Thrash/Death. Driven by guitar brothers Antti and Pekka Kokko, they switched name for Kalmah in 1998. Pekka sings and plays guitar, while Antti plays lead guitar. In 2001, after a first record, the line-up won’t be long to change, welcoming Timo Lehtinen (ex-Mythos, ex-Catamenia) on bass and Janne Kusmin on drums (who is also Wrathage’s drummer), but it’s only in 2012 that their current keyboardist, Veli-Matti Kananen (also in Vintergata) will replace Marco Sneck’s vacant post (Afterworld, Nothnegal, Stargazery, The Man-Eating Tree, Poisonblack).
Kalmah is a prolific band : seven full-lengths in fifteen years (during Ancestor’s period, they only released five demos), and all of them are full of catchy and epic riffs. The last one, Seventh Swamphony, has eight tracks that respect this rule. While waiting for a successor, I suggest you to discover or listen it again with me !
No more unnecessary preparation, let’s begin the record by the best way : fast blast and heavy riff, on a keyboard layer that offers this epic sound. Voice is quickly added to the mix that already make necks suffer. The acoustic break has the mission to hold you out of breath before leaving place to a masterful solo. And this chorus that stays stick in mind… Deadfall allows more sound to the bass in a well balanced mix, offering to the Kokko brothers the possibility to focus more on harmonics.
Let’s continue on our way with Pikemaster’s lead guitar introduction riff, then the changeover between deep growl, fierce scream and choirs takes over. This track is filled by lead guitar parts sublimated by a keyboard that adds ambient sound, but it seems nothing compared to the seven minutes long song Hollo. An acoustic rhythm part begins this composition that sounds slower but also ways heavier than the previous ones. Between screams, a soothing clean voice resounds. After a break, rhythm will gets angry with a psychedelic side thanks to keyboards. It’s in my opinion the record’s best track.
There is a lot of lakes in Finland, and it would be a shame to refuse their inspiration to write such Melodic Death Metal songs just like Windlake Tale ! The symbiosis between the two guitars is as terrifying as pleasant to hear, while Wolves Of The Throne focuses on a heavier rhythmic with a lead guitar that literally wages the whole song.
Black Marten’s Trace starts with a worrying keyboard part, but the other instruments quickly join on a fast and complex rhythmic that won’t for sure let you indifferent. The bass is once again highlighted with a more distinct sound than previously, while ambient parts created by riffs are honored on The Trapper, the last song. The chorus inlays itself on your mind whereas the rhythmic part slowly expedites our painful neck.
All this power is concentrated in just forty minutes on this record… Even if it’s uncommon to cross Kalmah’s path on the road, each of their shows is a true event ! France was specifically forsaken in recent years, and I can’t wait for a new record and tour, to finally enjoy an orchestrated show as Kalmah knows how to do.