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Kalmah - Swampsong (Cover Artwork)

Kalmah

Kalmah: SwampsongSwampsong (2003)
Century Media

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: TheTommunistThe Tommunist
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ok, ok I'm sorry. I silently promised not to review anymore death metal, but this album has been in constant rotation lately so I had to inform the masses about it. The album in question is Kalmah's third effort, entitled Swampsong. Now Kalmah started off back in 2000, and sounded almost exactly.
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Ok, ok I'm sorry. I silently promised not to review anymore death metal, but this album has been in constant rotation lately so I had to inform the masses about it. The album in question is Kalmah's third effort, entitled Swampsong.

Now Kalmah started off back in 2000, and sounded almost exactly like another little death metal band called Children of Bodom. Then they put out an album in 2002, which was a spastic blend of black and death metal. 2003 brought Swampsong out of the bog, and here the band really nails their style. Building upon what they had done in the past, Kalmah have developed a melodic death metal style with a healthy helping of black metal frenzy. The guitarists play exceptional riffs and solos. Of particular interest is the guitar playing in "Tordah" and the somewhat minimal use in "Burbot's Revenge". The keyboards are phenomenal. Some songs have catchy little melodies, while other songs, such as "Bird of Ill Omen", contain ominous, almost unsettling keys. Yet in "Doubtful of it All", the keys and guitar work together to create an almost classical harmony. Drummer Janne Kusmin wails away on the skins, pounding out quick beats, and occasionally shattering speeds with blackened drumming. I tend to dislike this style of drumming, be it by Dimmu Borgir, Finntroll, or Children of Bodom, but Kalmah uses it masterfully, particularly in "Burbot's Revenge".

Singer (Screamer? Growler?) Pekka Kokko growls and hisses through most of the songs, the exception being the final track, "Moon of My Nights". His voice doesn't really lend itself too well to the music. As opposed to every other melodic death band, his vocals come across a bit cheesier than anyone else. Not too mention his English pronunciation is a bit off at times. The lyrics are competently written, covering topics such as the epic battle between fish and man ("Burbot's Revenge"), being cast as an outsider ("Tordah"), and paranoia ("Doubtful of it All"). They work well with creating a mood for each song. Nothing ground breaking, but it works.

For the most part, the songs blaze by with speed and intensity, with the exception of the last song, which broods slowly for about seven minutes. It's not a bad song per se, but its nothing really worth spending seven minutes on. In case you couldn't tell from the bulk of the review, "Burbot's Revenge" and "Tordah" are standout tracks, but really, this is a standout album. From the first riff though 43 minutes of melodic chaos, and ending on a slow note, Swampsong is a must for any metal fan, be it black metal, death metal, or anything in between (Which really isn't much).

PS: No more death metal reviews, I promise!

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 11, 2005)

Great Album. This band sounds more like Eternal Tears of Sorrow than Children of Bodom.

Anonymous (February 5, 2005)

Antti Kokko is friggin' amazing. I've had this album for at least 6 months and I still can't stop listening to it.

Anonymous (January 24, 2005)

just bought it, ROCKS!!!
cloned insanitys a sick song too

Anonymous (November 30, 2004)

yeah they really don't sound like Children of Bodom. you need to stop. or listen to more metal bands if you're gonna keep reviewing them.

soulbleed (November 29, 2004)

I'll tell you what, when I first bought Kalmah's debut, there were a lot of things I thought about and um, Children of Bodom was not one of them.

Icapped2pac (November 29, 2004)

Burbot's Revenge? Are you fucking kidding me? So how are you doing in Everquest?

Anonymous (November 29, 2004)

Let me clear this up, I did indeed compare At the Gates to Break the Silence. Yes it was a bad comparision. I only did it because I had no metal bands I could compare At the Gates to, so I just compared them (poorly of course) to bands that sound nothing like them.

But hey, it was my first review, I got no regrets.

- The Tommunist

Anchors (November 29, 2004)

I stopped reading after Children Of Bodom.

FortyMinutesWest (November 28, 2004)

Well, he is the guy that bought it based on the cover, but he also compared them.

"This is a perfect album for fans of the genre, or brutal music in general. I would say itâ??s like a mush harsher and slightly less melodic Break The Silen"

Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

"After all, he did compare At The Gates to Break the Silence."

Correct me if i'm wrong, but i have a vague memory of a reviewer hearing their atg cover and then buying and reviewing the atg cd, wasn't this that guy? If so, he's not comparing them.

FortyMinutesWest (November 28, 2004)

Well, who doesn't?

Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

I love you too FortyMinutesWest.

- The Tommunist

FortyMinutesWest (November 27, 2004)

I think it has more to do with this guy reviewing death metal, rather than death metal reviews in general. After all, he did compare At The Gates to Break the Silence.

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

i don't really get why people get all uptight when a death metal album is reviewed yet when some 3rd rate death metal aka metalcore album is reviewed no one cares.

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

someone needs to review the nightwish cd

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

its just a traditional metal album cover, they all look cheesy but hey this shit rips. Good review

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

Ugh, judging by the cover, this band sings about gargoyles and other creatures from beyond. Laughable.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

Pekka Kokko, bitches.

Anonymous (November 26, 2004)

sounds great!

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