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Review: Kalmah - Kalmah

Label: Ranka Kustannus
Year released: 2023
Duration: 43:59
Tracks: 10
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


Review online: June 18, 2023
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.8/5 (96%) (10 Votes)

Finland's very own swamp kings Kalmah took their sweet time to get this one out. Can't say I blame them, seeing how they were preparing to tour some time after their last album Palo released only to get dick slapped by COVID like everyone else did, but with how Palo disappointed a lot of fans, the real question is whether or not the band spent their lockdown time wisely cooking up their self-titled album. To my ears, I'd say they absolutely did.

If you have heard a Kalmah album before, you got a good idea of what this album is going to sound like. You get infectious melodies, songwriting that ranges from melancholic to chaotic, and the distinct rough whispers and growls of vocalist Pekka. The biggest difference is simply that this is the best they have ever sounded, with greater variation and clarity to their craft that takes everything the band is about and cranks it to 11. This is immediately evident with the fierce fireworks display of the opening track, "Haunted by Guilt," but the band doesn't stop there and keeps on delivering some of the best tracks of their career, whether it be the surprising and sorrowful semi-ballad "No Words Sad Enough," the powerful mid-tempo march of "Home Sweet Hell," or the larger-than-life closing highlight "Drifting in a Dream," which may well be their finest damn song, period.

It would have been easy to simply rest on their laurels and churn out a standard Kalmah album, but it's inspiring to hear a long-running band still pushing themselves to refine their craft and ending up creating a career-defining work so late in the game. Where the band goes from here is anyone's guess, but regardless of what the future holds, long-time fans will find their loyalty rewarded with what I'd call the definitive Kalmah album. Magnificent.

More about Kalmah...
Review: 12 Gauge (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: 12 Gauge (reviewed by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein)
Review: For the Revolution (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Palo (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Seventh Swamphony (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Swamplord (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Swampsong (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Interview with guitarist Antti Kokko on November 3, 2001 (Interviewed by Christian Renner)
Interview with vocalist/guitarist Pekka Kokko and guitarist Antti Kokko on September 7, 2021 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with guitarist Antti Kokko on April 9, 2023 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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