Kalmah
For the Revolution

Bands like Kalmah are really true gems and they wear their hard work on their sleeves. Once labeled as a Children of Bodom clone, Kalmah have consistently matured and crafted their music into one of today’s most noticeable and dominating symphonic death metal sounds. Where Bodom and melodic death metal in general have failed, Kalmah have branded their swamp metal style and became leaders of the sub-genre. Using outstanding functions of black, death, melody, symphonic, and Scandinavian rhythms, there just isn’t a better band. So, it comes as no surprise that 2008’s For the Revolution is one of Kalmahs finest moments and one of my top picks for the year.

As much as I loved 2006’s The Black Waltz, The shift in vocals came some what jarring. Even though they were executed masterfully I longed for the raspy black shrieks which once defined the band. 2008’s For the Revolution shows the band combining deep death bellows with the classic rasps perfectly. The transition from album to album is quite astonishing and shows how well the band grows year to year. It’s as if they know exactly what works.

Musically, there isn’t much more of a safe bet than Kalmah. There sound is distinct and ever ripening. It is by no means stale or surpassed. Right from the title track we are pummeled by black metal blasts, shrieking vocals, and ancient symphonies, that are epic and demanding. The guitar tone is something I have always enjoyed about this band because it just fits their swampy image so well. Majestic and extravagant, track four “Wings of Blackening” will pound its way into your ears and then break for beautiful harmonies and catchy rhythms. The use of brutality with this band is unlike and other in the way it is still so damn melodic. Kalmah will beat your face in all while delivering pure ecstasy. Its like being stampeded by elephants and getting a happy ending all at the same time. “Ready for Salvation” is a no-frills march of pure brilliance. Focusing on straight-forward riffing and effective structures, this song brings chills. One of the most epic things the band has ever written.

There are few filler songs on this disc. Each and every song has its own character and has kept my interest for months. There’s a thick atmosphere which follows Kalmah records. That, my friends is what makes a good record. Most of this is due to Kalmah’s undeniably catchy riffs. If you have never took the time to embrace this band I suggest you start. Kalmah show no signs of weakening and have already stamped their place in metal history as one of the greats.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
October 29th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dan

    I’m a huge Kalmah fan, but I had written this album off after hearing one of the songs they put up on their myspace. It just seemed kinda plodding and uninspired. You’ve inspired me to give it another listen though, with this review.


  2. Commented by: Stiffy

    You’ll have to let me know your thoughts after listening, Dan.


  3. Commented by: ceno

    I love this band and all their albums without exception. For The Revolution has already booked its place on my year list. Gonna blast it tonight.


  4. Commented by: Staylow

    I’ve listened to this album at least 20 times, and it has yet to impact me the way the first three albums did. It’s good, no doubt, but not as good as the early stuff IMO. I never gave The Black Waltz a fair shake though, because of that vocal shift you mentioned. Though my tastes for vocals have changed considerably over time, it’s probably time to give it another chance. Nice review, even if I only partly agree.


  5. Commented by: swampthang

    wicked stuff I dig


  6. Commented by: Nick

    i concur, old kalmah vocals are the shit, but dead man’s shadow is just too good to be ignored.


  7. Commented by: Dan

    AHHHHHGH!
    I just don’t know. They’ve put up a few more songs on their myspace that are more to my liking, but at the same time I’m asking myself “Am I just forcing myself to like this because I’ve loved everything the band’s done in the past?” I don’t know. I think what it comes down to for me is whether or not I need another Kalmah album. Is it really different enough to warrant my hard earned cash?


  8. Commented by: Dan

    Sorry Stiffy, wish I could help you out more.


  9. Commented by: Stiffy

    I think the moral of the story is just what you said, Dan. Do you want another Kalmah album? It isn’t terribly different at all. Thats why I like them. I get what I want, you know. I can totally see how it would be just another kalmah album that isn’t fantastic to some of you. Nevertheless, you cannot deny the fact that its a steady talented group of guys. In todays metal world a band like this is just professional and mature to me.


  10. Commented by: Stiffy

    I feel they are almost like Amon Amarth in the same respect.


  11. Commented by: Dimaension X

    The Black Waltz was an improvement over the first three for me, solidifying their original sound and ideas into a very good overall album. I’d like to say I like this one more, but more of the same isn’t always good. Haven’t made up my mind yet.

    I still think Bodom are catchier, but Alexi’s attitude is annoying.


  12. Commented by: Stiffy

    Bodom are poppier I’d say.


  13. Commented by: Staylow

    I’d still take Hatebreeder, Follow the Reaper and Hate Crew Deathroll over any Kalmah, but they definitely trump all other CoB output after that.


  14. Commented by: swampthang

    NORTHER owns bros


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