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Kalmah - Swampsong (8/10) - Finland - 2003

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Century Media
Playing time: 43:51
Band homepage: Kalmah

Tracklist:

  1. Heroes To Us
  2. Burbot's Revenge
  3. Cloned Insanity
  4. The Third, The Magical
  5. Bird Of Ill Omen
  6. Doubtful About It All
  7. Tordah
  8. Man With Mystery
  9. Moon Of My Nights
Kalmah - Swampsong
KALMAH's third album "Swampsong" definitely stands in the tradition of the two previous efforts and even though the gang around the Kokko brothers Pekka and Antti in the past time and again had been thrown into the same pot as CHILDREN OF BODOM, THRONE OF CHAOS etc. they by now have managed to find something like an own sound, which contains far more than "just" Finnish sounding Melodic Death Metal.

If Sweden produces Elk Death, then we can call this Thousand Lake Death (even though the band calls it Swamp Metal), because that without a doubt still is the foundation of the KALMAH sound, but they also present us with some excursions into the worlds of Thrash and also a bit of Black Metal, yet always with great melodies, as the opening "Heroes To Us" proves right away before "Burbot's Revenge" unleashes the Thrash monster in its second half.

"The Third, The Magical" then for the first time contains a choir like chorus, damn that sounds good! Almost Viking Metallish, cool! But the song itself also bears the trademark guitar/keyboard duels between the Kokko brothers and Pasi Hiltula, which give the KALMAH sound something special. And this choir… Aaaaahhh... And "Tordah" starts out with heavy riffing before turning into another heavy, but very melodic song that again has this kind of shout chorus, which fits the furiosity of the track very nicely.

As said before, KALMAH have managed something that many bands apparently do not even try, to find their own niche. Sure, the single elements they are using are not really original, but the sum of the single parts still sounds surprisingly much like KALMAH. Also the surroundings are more than acceptable and here KALMAH also stand for continuity, with the Tico Tico Studios, the mastering at the Finnvox Studios and the artwork by Juha Vuorma, so also the visual and production side is far in the green.

Even though many will still accuse the Finns of standing too close to the other greats of this style, I still attest them that they have found their own niche, for the third time now fill it with good quality and that they continuously have gotten better - and there is no end in sight… (Online August 14, 2003)

Alexander Melzer



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