Release: April 6, 2018
Northern Finland used to be a fertile breeding ground for death metal bands in the later 80s and early 90s. One of these early purveyors of boreal brutality was Ancestor, founded in 1991 by guitarist-vocalist Pekka Kokko and drummer Petri Sankala. After two demos, Pekka’s brother Antti was added to the fold as lead guitarist. Ancestor disbanded after five progressively more melodic demos in 1998, leading to the formation of Kalmah. With a line-up completed by bass player Altti Veteläinen (also Eternal Tears Of Sorrow) and keyboard player Pasi Hiltula the band recorded a promo entitled Svieri Obraza, with which the band scored a recording deal with Finnish metal behemoth Spinefarm Records. The debut album, ‘’Swamplord’’, was recorded in the premier music facility of Northern Finland, Tico-Tico Studios (Sentenced, Impaled Nazarene) by studio squire Ahti Kortelainen. The album was released in November of 2000.
To reiterate, with Kalmah everything’s always up to inspiration. So, having upped their game considerably with Swamphony, it would take another five years before Kalmah felt their new material was ready to be presented.
Blood Ran Cold
The Evil Kin
The World Of Rage
Into The Black Marsh
Take Me Away
Waiting In The Wings
Through The Shallow Waters
Erase And Diverge
And what a triumph it is… Once again recorded at Tico Tico with trusty old Ahti Kortelainen manning the helm and finalized by studio sorcerer Svante Forsbäck (Rammstein, Volbeat, Apocalyptica et al) ‘’PALO’’ is up to now the apex of Kalmah’s 26 years of work. With its poignant, almost beautiful melodies intertwining with relentless rip-your-face-off aggression ‘’PALO’’ is everything its equivocal name suggests and more – a testimony to and a prime example of burning passion for music; a piece of unbridled all-consuming wildfire of melodic death metal mastery likes of which come by maybe once in a decade.
‘’Little by little the Swamplord has gained ground. Now it is time for him to set the world afire.’’
Everyone who knows me, knows I love (melodic) death metal. And I am not kidding, when I saw this album in the inbox, I almost lost it. Kalmah belongs to the Finnish melodeath top, including Wintersun and Children of Bodom as well. The first 10 seconds of ‘’Blood Ran Cold’’ alone gave me enough information I needed, ‘’Palo’’ is amazing! ‘’The Evil Kin’’ was released as a single with a lyric video, I hope we get a music video soon as well! I love how tracks like ‘’The World Of Rage’’ start of very slowly and kind of trick you into thinking that it’s a ballad or something, and then you get hit in the face! The keys come to shine a bit more through, there could be more of them or be more present though. ‘’Into The Black Marsh’’, ‘’Take Me Away’’ and ‘’Paystreak’’ are all just simply perfect. I could make this review really long and detailed, but I think we all know there score here. Sometimes music is so good, it is hard to find the words, and that is definitely happening in this case. ‘’Waiting In The Wings’’ has an amazing duo solo with both guitar and keys, twice the awesomeness!
All the tracks are equally good, and I have never heard that before. Usually on an album there are a few tracks that I dislike, but this time that is not at all the case. I literally can not think of any critique, which makes ‘’Palo’’ a well deserved 10 out of 10!
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Read our interview with Antti here!
Antti Kokko - Guitars (lead) (1998-present)
Pekka Kokko - Guitars, Vocals (1998-present)
Timo Lehtinen - Bass (2001-present)
Janne Kusmin - Drums (2001-present) V
eli-Matti Kananen - Keyboards (2012-present)