30 April 2018
Kalmah - Palo
Label: Spinefarm Records
Release Date: 6 April 2018
Format reviewed: Digital
20 years of its foundation as Kalmah, now the band releases their eighth full-length album. Always craving into the melodic death/power metal, including epicness and folk-from- the- North elements, in order to achieve majestic heroic Finnish spirit, now Kalmah is delivering a strong, vivid and soulful album.
“Palo” comes 5 years after the previous “Seventh Swamphony” and this is the biggest break for the band between the release of the album. Recorded predominantly at Tico Tico studios and mixed also there. The line up of the band hasn’t changed almost through the entire history of the band. With Anti Kokko and his elder brother Pekka Kokko at guitars since the very beginning, Timo Lehtinen (bass) and Janne Kusmin (drums) since 2001 and Veli-Matti Kananen on keyboards since 2012.
“Palo” (“Fire”) delivers a big fire from the Finnish lands and swamps: excellent harmonies in guitar melodies, keyboards, and rhythm. Actually, the best way to describe the album is “balanced” – heavy enough, melodic enough, epic and heroic enough without showing off extra muscles, consisting of just the right nuance of folk feel without being an into the northern folk. All this is presented well by the band in 10 full of life tracks for 46 minutes in total.
“Blood Ran Cold” is a very good opener, instantly drowning in Kamah’s specific style. “Evil kin” somehow reminded me about Amorphis’ Tales from the Thousand Lakes and it’s like take from there. “The World of Rage” is raging and thus melodic, mixing fast and slower part. ‘Into the black Marsh” is intensive contrasting to the deep and melancholic Senteced- queue “Take me away”. “Paystreak” is war hymn, very intense, heroic, powerful, marching and punching tune. Then in the next 3 tracks (“Waiting for the Wings”, “Through the Shallow Waters” and “Erase and Diverge”), we can hear what we have already heard so far in the album in terms of rhythm, melodies. Nothing unexpected to be honest - the tracks are very similar. The final song “The Stalker” is slower but again it is in the same flesh and blood as the rest.
Despite all technicality and musical artistry, all the way I still could hear motifs and patterns which I already know from band’s previous works plus Amorphis, Children of Bodom, Wintersun, Finntroll. That said, “Palo” is enjoyable and captivating, and will be appreciated by all the fans digging into this particular style. Still, some of the songs are lacking of that final touch in order to reach for the heart and make the whole record a real fire. 7/10 Count Vlad
7/10 – Victory Is Possible
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