Kalmah - Seventh Swamphony
Label: Spinefarm Records
Reviewer: Rak Hiasat - 2013-05-24
Highlights: Hollo, Wolves on the Throne , Deadfall
When I first knew that Kalmah - the Finnish melodic death metal group - has started to record a new album before some months entitled "Seventh Swamphony", I really felt a big joy to my eyes, because the six masterpieces records that they've released before never let me down with their music. According to Kalmah, this release is going to follow the previous albums and it will also be one of greatest releases in 2013. About the cover and booklet artwork design, the band decided to go back to the roots and step out of the digital image world. The artist and illustrator is Juha Vuorma, I really get impressed by his work in designing.
The first three tracks that appear on this full-length are just filled with aggressive melodies as we always wanted from Kalmah. The production on this album presents the songs much than I or any metal fan can ever ask. Overall, it sounds more like a well-balanced death metal production of the time, not polished, but everything is audible and sounds pretty good. The drums sound good, a bit dampened, which really complements the music. Each drum hit sounds through, plenty of separation even in the fastest parts. The guitar sound is sufficiently thick and crunchy, not extremely polished like most of their Finnish peers, but a perfect tone straight out of the amp. The bass fills in the bottom end and complements the punch of the guitars and drums nicely. The vocals sound great, a bit rough, which fits the music quite well. The production captures the songs perfectly, a balanced mixture of early death metal which highlights the melodic guitar lines that characterize the band, with a great vibe that feels like you are in a practice space or small club hearing the band's best performance, as always I salute Mr. Jens bogren for his amazing work on the production tasks.
The next two song are my more epic than you will ever going to wait from a melodic death band, but let don’t forget here that we're are talking about an icon in this field here. Generally speaking this is a very fast-paced album, and anyone objecting to heavy double-bass or gratuitous blast beats really ought to stick their head in the ground while this is on. I find the speed rather welcoming, naturally, and feel that the band has placed their blast beats rather tastefully unlike a great number of bands that play in this style. The drums rarely interfere with the music and only serve to elevate the compositions as a whole. Similarly, the guitar work is quite good when it comes to blending with the rest of the band's musical elements, and despite the speed and intensity of the album, there are many soft solos and even few sections of clean vocals. The timbre of the guitar in some places is the sort that I absolutely love, specially in the track "Hollo".
The track "Wolves on the Throne" is another highlighted track here, and I think the song itself is actually a mere/pure death metal. It almost feels like old school death with orchestra and choirs, even the musicianship here is really good, as on the rest of the album. It's a relatively a slow song, and the chorus contains of clean vocals through. Pekka sings pretty rough here and I like that, and it's mainly why I don't skip this song in my player like all the songs, really you can't skip a song from this outfit.
The most impressive features of the last songs from the technical aspect are the fluidity and precision of the execution, which they give this music a graceful quality of pure instrumental accuracy and detailed delivery, seamlessly moving through its often charging and dramatic progressions with nimbleness and finesse, aided in sound by the sharp clarity of instrumental definition, provided by the coldly reverberating studio production. This instrumental exactitude gives a clear and sharply defined presentation in the performance of these involved structural designs, highlighted by the rhythmic fluency of highly active but rhythmically contained percussion, featuring playful double bass acrobatics and expert precision of beat definition which is careful not to obstruct harmonic flow, and excellent conception and delivery of lead guitar melodies and solos which course through the music as a guiding source of articulation, the perceptive crest of this dark illumination in a musical form.
This outfit is full of old school melodic death metal elements with some classical influences here and there. I suggest you listen to this immediately if you were a fan of the 90's style melodic death metal. All around this cd is near flawless.