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Review: Kalmah - 12 Gauge
12 Gauge

Label: SpineFarm Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 42:57
Tracks: 9
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: June 18, 2010
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating
12 Gauge

Rated 4.19/5 (83.81%) (42 Votes)

Kalmah are a band that have hinted at brilliance throughout their career, and while some fans will argue that their early output was their best, I think they've been building up to something special since the release of The Black Waltz. In their early days these guys were pegged as Bodom clones, and listening to their first couple of albums it's not hard to see why. While they might not have steered completely away from those comparisons they have managed to create more of their own persona thanks to the musical stepping stones of The Black Waltz and For The Revolution. 12 Gauge sees Kalmah firing on all cylinders in top form, and for the most part the best material the band have put out yet.

This time around Kalmah have fused their already established sound with some dark and moodier passages that are an utter delight. The thing we love about Kalmah are there in force: excellent guitar and keyboard battles, furious blast beats and some quality thrash and power metal riffs. Pekka Kokko's vocals are the perfect middle ground between his raspier youth and the deeper growls heard on The Black Waltz, resulting in a cool sound that is both mighty and aggressive. The album kicks off with "Rust Never Sleeps" ushered in with a very classy acoustic piece that quickly leads into a ferocious guitar riff highlighted with a razor tone, the song progresses into a quality riff-fest with a particular sweet guitar and keyboard duel. Speaking of keyboards Marco Sneck has delivered his finest performance the solos actually outshine a lot of the guitar solos, with some particular impressive phrasing for the instrument rendering it highly memorable.

It is the last three tracks however that deserve a very special mention because in my opinion they're the best the band have done. "Godeye" is a twisted mix of mood and melody, boasting some intense blasting sections that will pretty much crush you, not to mention some of the bands coolest riffs. The title track has a somber intro which slowly builds up into some crunchy thrash riffage and stands as one of if not the heaviest track on show and the mid-section just reeks of awesome. Finally we have "Sacramentum" which is in my opinion the finest track Kalmah have ever done. With some strong keyboard presence and a great emphasis on mood this track just oozes quality; the melody they display in the pre chorus is superb not to mention an amazing keyboard solo.

Overall this is a nice effort that despite slightly dipping in quality between track two and six still has a lot going for it. If you're a fan of this band you need this in your life, Melodic Death Metal fans could do no wrong with this one either – sure to be one of, if not the best in the genre this year. Recommended.

Other related information on the site
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)
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