Sound — 10
"The Black Waltz" is the fourth historic album of metal that Kalmah has graced us with by releasing earlier this year. The first release was more then enough to establish themselves as an up and coming underground metal band. Being underground, their albums are unfortunately hard to come by. As can be seen by my username, Kalmah would have to be my favourite band since I began listening to them. They are with Spikefarm records and the music that brothers, Pekka and Antti Kokko write, continues to amaze me and everyone else I'm sure. I say this because these guys have an endless arsenal of solo's. They are continually shredding throughout every song. The sound Pekka has managed with his vocals throughout this and all of their albums I believe has accencuated their style of music. Unless you were a true metal fan, you would most probably agree that Pekka's inaudible vocals take away from the song. Well if that's what you think you're dead wrong and should stop reading right now. It's quite the opposite. This is one extremely talented band. Kalmah did have a casualty between their 3rd album 'Swampsong' and their latest release, 'The Black Waltz.' The loss of their fantastic keyboard player Pasi Hiltula. The band was prepared to go on without filling this position. But there was no question when as to whether this place should be refilled when Marco Sneck auditioned.
Lyrics — 9
Time Takes Us All deals with political issues. Bitter Metallic Side talks about lessons in life and the to take risks. To The Gallows has a bit of a short story. It talks about a man facing justice for a crime that he committed and for 'resisting the law.' The lyrics for 'With Terminal Intensity' sound like they're talking about the anti-christ. So Kalmah have pretty much tried all avenues in songwriting both lyrically and musically. The lyrics could be categorised and probably are, as death metal. Of course vocals are ultimately what categorises them. Picture, Kalmah's exact same line-up, minus the singer. You would be listening to would be a symphonic composure of music. As I was saying earlier, you can't understand Pekka's vocals but that's not the point. His style of singing, although a signature growl, is very unique, (when compared to other current Scandinavian/European metal bands) so much so, that it almost sounds as if another instrument is present. This, I find is one of Kalmah's many perks. And I would probably categorise them as Heavy Symphonic Death Metal for those reasons.
Overall Impression — 10
Compared to previous albums Swamplord, They Will Return & Swampsong, the vocals are somewhat deeper. The musicianship is still as skilful and talented as before but with more sexy riffs and solo's. The best songs on this album would have to be "Defeat" (the intro takes off with a nice riff combined with Marco on the keyboard. Ending up with a really good counterpart followed by a solo to finish off with a very good song. There's a lot of energy in this song), "Bitter Metallic Side" (a song I tabbed with guitar pro, is another very good song that used the riffs from an unreleased demo (posted on their website) under the same name, into this song), "Time Takes Us All" (has a powerful intro. You start to lose interest when he starts singing. Then the next riff enters and keeps you right were you are. Has very nice solo's and is worth listening to), "To The Gallows" (very catchy intro riff that leads to the chorus. The vocals complimenting this song as it's another one that will get you going), "Groan Of Wind" (also used unreleased material from a demo called 'Infernal Death.' I'm telling you this because it was very interesting to see how they intergrated the riffs from those demo's into the finished song. Some of the original riffs were used here and there. But some were mixed up and used in different parts. A good result), "Mindrust" (another great song. Skilful intro. Keyboard makes some nice sounds and starts off a solo, followed by Antti on ripping it up on his axe. Every song is pretty much a favourite. That's how much I like the album. All in all, I'd have to say the musicianship on this CD is 10/10). What do I love about it? Well I'm listening to Kalmah right now and I own every album they've done. What I really love about Kalmah is that even their chorus riffs are complicated. If their killer riffs aren't enough, Kusmin's drums turn a classic into a masterpiece. I haven't been disappointed by any of their albums and doubt that I ever will be. I hope that Kalmah continues to release albums and tours Australia! If the CD got stolen I'd buy another 2! One for storage and one for the CD player. When a band has the abilities and talents of Kalmah, the CD is a must. Of course you don't know that unless you've already heard them before. So this should get you into them and rocking out to some swamp metal. If you have not heard of Kalmah, I hope that this review has given you some insight into their music. If you have, I hope you agree with me. This band truly kicks ass. Swamp Metal for ever.