Seventh Swamphony review by Kalmah

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  • Released: Jun 14, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 9.1 (34 votes)
Kalmah: Seventh Swamphony
0

Sound — 7
It is with great difficulty that bands leave their mark on niche styles of music. When genre conventions are bound tightly, only subtleties can really set you apart, and this is especially true of metal despite its lack of delicacy. Unfortunately Finland's Kalmah chose melodic death metal, a niche that has progressed very little in the past decade and "Seventh Swamphony" makes no claim to turn the genre on its head. It's their seventh album, their seventh in the same style and their seventh with a mostly stable lineup. We can't be sure that the previous six were all about swamps. They specialise in the glitzy Finnish variety of melodic death, thundering up and down the natural minor scale with constantly moving lead guitar and campy keyboard bringing up the rear. New man behind the keys Veli-Matti Kananen has brought some new presets with him as well, theatrically punctuating blastbeats with organ stabs and cheerfully sprinkling his fairy dust on seven-minute centrepiece "Hollo." The album sounds thick and heavy despite the guitar leads, which are incredibly fidgety and insist on being uber-melodic from start to finish. The sound is big because Kalmah have something going for them that 86 million* other "melodeath" bands don't: a mixing job from Jens Bogren. The experienced engineer, who produces many of Scandinavia's most famous metal exports, gets the best sound out of everybody and turns ordinary closer "The Trapper" into something vaguely enjoyable, while the high-octane "Pikemaster" wouldn't be the highlight it is without his contribution. Musically, next to nothing has changed for Kalmah since 2000's "Swamplord" but Bogren at least ensures that they're getting the most bang for their buck. *Figures accurate at time of writing.

Lyrics — 6
It would be disingenuous to attempt a proper lyrical analysis without any access to the words Pekka Kokko's bellow and shriek is not the easiest to understand but we can infer from the wordplay in the title that the band care far more about music than lyrics.

Overall Impression — 7
Not every band can change the world, and it doesn't look like this one particularly wants to. That in itself is no problem but music that relies on melody (rather than, say, a distinctive vocalist) has to stay fresh somehow. How memorable can a tune be if it's followed by another one 10 seconds later, and another after that, and six more before the end of the track? "Seventh Swamphony" is so oversaturated with melody on the same scale that it would be quite difficult to get through were it any longer. There's no reason to expect Kalmah to change, but perhaps they would do well to take up a more subtle approach to their craft because it's getting rather stale.

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15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Skyvalve2012
    And yet again, a review from UG that never goes into depth. Give them a big round of applause! Anyway, I really need to hear this record!
    SlashORC
    This reviewer is talking out of his ass Kalmah always produce solid material, always.
    dontBANmeBRO
    "...oversaturated with melody.."??? WTH is wrong with that? As far as not changing, I sure to hell wish Metallica and Megadeth would not have changed. It's good to have some consistency is this era of sellouts.
    viciousintensit
    Wow... just wow... what a crap review xD Ok... I have to insist, that I liked 12 Gauge more than this one... but Seventh Swamphony (the song) is my new all time favorit of Kalmah. Isn't it somehow hypocritical to judge over the lyrics just by the title and not knowing the texts? I for myself really like "seventh swamphony" as a title... but there shouldn't be a problem to get the texts via the internet since the texts are INCLUDED in the booklet... and I can tell you... there are some really good texts within... And of course this album doesn't sound like the others before... you always hear (minor) changes but for sure keeping the Kalmah sound. Clean vocals like in Hollo (damn I absolutly love the two little clean parts never thought Pekka would have such a good voice, since he is always singing guteral) for example are totally new for Kalmah (some choirs excluded, cause ... yay that was not just one person singing, you know..) Funniest thing in this review for me: "The album sounds thick and heavy despite the guitar leads, which are incredibly fidgety and insist on being uber-melodic from start to finish." Cause I really think that (especially compared to 12 Gauge) there are a lot less (distinct) melodies than in the most other of their albums. And that is a little said, cause I miss them (what is the main reason I don't like it as much as the predecessor) Outstanding here are Seventh Swamphony, Deadfall and Windlake Tale which have los of these typical "windy" Kalmah melodies.
    Tap Master
    Two things: 1) Why do some reviewers randomly decide that the focus of their next review is going to be on a band "changing the genre" or deviating from some standard? If the band likes their sound, they're gonna stick with that sound. It's like they're griping for something about which to review. 2) The thing that made this review piss-poor was this line: "It would be disingenuous to attempt a proper lyrical analysis without any access to the words Pekka Kokko's bellow and shriek is not the easiest to understand but we can infer from the wordplay in the title that the band care far more about music than lyrics. ". If you're so lazy that you can't take a moment to look up the lyrics to a song on the album that you are reviewing , then you shouldn't be writing reviews.
    phili666
    I'm guessing the reviewer had never heard any melodic death metal band ever ever.
    duncang
    Yasaki
    Guess phili666 was right. Fall out boy, really? And only In Flames as main melodeath band, figures. 'I listen to In Flames so I know my melodic deathmetal!!' For some real metal, may I recommend: http://www.last.fm/user/Zeromanners
    Cavalcade
    #11 Insomnium #18 Dark Tranquillity #30 Omnium Gatherum All above FOB, with several hundred plays. Come on, if you're going to dismiss a shit review, dismiss it for being a shit review, not because the guy who wrote it listens to a lot of different bands. Especially if Five Finger Death Punch is #3 on your "real metal" charts.
    Rekreatur
    Same style for 7 albums? Tell that to a Kalmah fan and they'll laugh. Sure they keep their distinct Kalmah sound, but comparing the first 3 albums to the next 4 there is such an obvious difference in sound. Obviously I love Kalmah and I'm not trying to just defend one of my favorite bands because someone doesn't like it, but geez.
    Swampson
    Best album yet. Although everyone are hyping about Hollo, I feel it is not the best song on the album. Neither is Seventh Swamphony, but Pikemaster and Black Marten's Trace are on my heart. Gotta say my word about the review as well. Its bullshit. Sound hasn't changed from the first album? Has the reviewer even listened to it!? There is a great difference between the early and late production of Kalmah. Anyways, album deserves at least 9, but I voted for 10. No bad songs like Kalmah really rarely has. Also, the songs are AWESOME live.