Kamara - Kamara - (9/10)
Published on June 30, 2018
Genre:Power / Thrash / Death
Hammer of Finland
It is amazing time and again what diverse talent pours out of Finland on a constant basis. Kamara from Hankasalmi in the middle of the country already have been around since 2004 and Kamara is their fifth album to date, but so far they have not managed to get far beyond the borders of their home country. Stylistically they are not that easy to pin down, taking inspiration from heavy and power metal, thrash and some death (in the vocals) and garnish it with a darker and at times very Finnish atmosphere. What may sound like a kind of hodge podge, though, is one of the brightest unsigned talents the year has spit out so far!
Looking at the translation of the band’s name, which is “rind”, one would expect something far heavier or grubbier, but from the opening moments of “Alkutila” on, Kamara are on a romp that easily puts far more experienced and well-known acts to shame. Setting out slow and melodic, it quickly builds up to a thrashy rhythm, powerful, but with some light symphonic keyboards before a mighty bellow kicks off the main body of the song, seeing growls in the verse, gang shouts in the bridge and finally cleans in the chorus. All the right ingredients for a disjointed mess, but this song as power, dynamics, heaviness, melody, overall being an outstanding opener.
Some may argue that the diverse influences could alienate them from each of the different camps, while others could say that they will appeal to exactly these camps, but whichever way one want to twist and turn this or what genre tags one wants to slap on it, Kamara simply is a great album from start to end that does not have to rely on any of them. The Finns utilize the contrasting elements to their advantage, offsetting melody with heaviness, catchy vocal lines with aggressive growls and using gripping dynamics as the mortar to hold everything together.
Where “Kruunu” emphasizes more the melodic side, especially vocally, “Kaaoksen kohdanneet” sets off with beautiful arpeggiated guitars, but soon unleashing the double-bass upon the unsuspecting listener, flattening them with sheer power and energy, but without neglecting the melody. They cleverly vary the ratio of these ingredients and add dashes of this Finnish melancholy and atmosphere, culminating in the 8-minute closer “Raunioilla”, where Juha Minkkinen gets extra firepower with Mona Steffansson for a slow, epic duet that sits somewhere between ballad and doom, with this intense atmosphere, closing the album on yet another high.
Their use of Finnish lyrics also continues a tradition that bands such as Teräsbetoni, Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus or in the heavier end of the spectrum Moonsorrow, Oranssi Pazuzu, Kaunis Kuolematon or Ajattara. Granted, they likely are limiting their fanbase somewhat, but then again Finnish being such a unique language gives them some added spice.
All in all Kamara is an album that manages to take more or less common ingredients and bringing them together in a truly exciting manner and with a freshness that only few bands can boast this days. Unsigned, singing in Finnish and most definitely a candidate for the year-end lists!