Kalmah - The Black Waltz review
|Album:||The Black Waltz|
|Release date:||February 2006|
02. Bitter Metallic Side
03. Time Takes Us All
04. To The Gallows
05. Svieri Doroga
06. The Black Waltz
07. With Terminal Intensity
08. Man Of The King
09. The Groan Of Wind
11. One From The Stands
12. This Mortal Coil [Carcass cover] [Japanese bonus]
This are interesting times to take a look at the Extreme Metal in Finland, a lot of releases are showing beloved bands evolving and adapting to the times. Kalmah is one of them, once tagged as a copycat of Children Of Bodom (yeah, other one), they have changed so much through the time that comparing them to the after mentioned act is quite ridiculous.
This is Kalmah's fourth release, strangely entitled "The Black Waltz" and is also the release that distances the most from the rest of their discography. For starters, the graphic treatment of the cover art is much different from what we're used to receive from the Finnish combo, this time the artwork simply sucks balls, I don't know what they were trying to do here, but they did it pretty bad.
Despite the terrible presentation, the album is quite good! A lot of changes in the band, being the most noticeable the vocals, instead of keeping the typical blackened shriek, they went for a Death Metal harsh growl, which suits perfectly to the Thrash/Death Metal vibe of the album. At least they didn't added clean vocals like every single band nowadays.
The approach in this album is much more riff-laden than other albums, with a lot of references to eighties Thrash Metal scene, with awesome guitar solos (something that is always welcome) and pounding grooveness.
The keyboards are less atmospheric this time, they act as instrument more, accompanying the guitar and even doing solos! The cooperation of guitar-keyboard is a nice arrangement in the band I must admit.
Killer songs! Yeah the album has some tracks that will blow you away young metalhead, "Time Takes Us All" is my personal favorite, although down-beat moments like the title track "The Black Waltz" deserve to be mentioned. "Man Of The King" and "One From The Stands" did fine a work leaving my neck all distended.
This might not be qualified as the album of the year and maybe some of you will hate the new vocals, but you have to give the band some credit for daring to change and be different, and that's gotta worth more than a million blackened shrieks.
|Well, from the first dark, crunchy guitar riff, it's obvious that that this isn't a typical Kalmah album. One of the most standout (and very probably the most controversial) changes lies in the vocal style, which have changed from phlegm-drenched black metal shrieks to low-register "cookie monster" death growls. I'm not a fan of the new vocals (take the terribly under-melodic vocal intro to "Time Takes Us All", for example), but I wasn't a huge fan of the old ones either, so this isn't a deal-breaking issue for me. Eventually I got used to the old ones, but they were very grating for quite a while. The quality and creativity haven't really changed; they've simply switched ends of the spectrum, so this issue really comes down to personal preference. However, a lot more than the vocals changed here.
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