Rating:
8.0
Kalmah - The Black Waltz
22 February 2006


01. Defeat
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
10. Mindrust
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.


Band profile: Kalmah
Album: The Black Waltz


 


written by Undercraft | 01.03.2006

Guest review by
AnEpicDeath

Rating:
8.5
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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published 27.08.2009 | Comments (1)



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iaberis - 19.11.2006 at 14:53  
Indeed, they've changed their sound... Now they sound like Power Death Metal... Since I'm not fan of Death Metal, I don't like this change... They sounded better before, when they were a copy of Children Of Bodom...
Weird music... and weird cover art!!! It reminds me of the Pirates of the Caribean!
zarakkazak - 29.11.2006 at 14:56  
album of the year!
Stigmatized - 29.11.2006 at 23:57  
Love it. Every song is quite good, but the title track is godly.
BreadGod - 30.11.2006 at 01:15  
I really should check out this album sometime, I hear it's really good. I also have something related to this album:

Man Of The King Interpretation Video
buttsechs - 09.12.2006 at 04:57  
As always, good review Undercraft. Although I would've scored it higher than just an 8. I find this latest Kalmah album to be just as good as any other of their previous releases. The album cover is a pretty strange one. Loved the new vocals. And that link submitted by Incineratehymn, feel free to completely ignore it. Not only was it posted by a Dragonforce fan, but it really is just an awful attempt to try and make you somewhat, hate one of the best bands on Metalstorm. The video on that link was apparently some bored guy remaking the lyrics to Man of the King. And of course, our little youtube poseur, POSTER* lol sorry, being the Dragonforce fan/youtube addict that he is, had to post this link in the Kalmah section to try and piss some people off while forgetting for fack sakes that he's a Dragonforce fan. Dragonforce, a band that makes songs that sound rushed. Rushed in terms of production and rushed in the way that they perform. They think they're cool because they can play really fast and keep all songs sounding the same. What's even the point in giving the songs different titles anymore when they all sound like garbage and identical? Enough about Homofagforce though, this is about Kalmah's latest release and damn, it's a good one.
iMPERiAL_iCE - 12.02.2007 at 10:44  
I never ever thought they were a copy of Children Of Bodom, the vocals were different, the riffs were more thrashy, they didnt have a "show-off" style (like Alexi) and they were much much better.
and this album I believe is a masterpiece, although missing the mind-splitting solos in all the songs but still one of the best albums, and I LOVE the new vocals.
BlueMobius - 16.02.2007 at 01:07  
to add to what imp ice said...Kalmah is nothing like Children Of Bodom, other than that old COB was good melo death metal. If you are going to compare Kalmah to anything, I would say they are more like old Amorphis but with better guitar parts.
Sc4p3g04t - 18.02.2007 at 23:01  
Despite the changes in sound and presentation i personally like the album title and art for The Black Waltz. It suits the band quite well in my opinion and as bluemobius said it also goes great with the layout of the album and the mood/lyrics of the songs. Go Kalmah!
Death5189 - 21.02.2007 at 01:51  
An Incredible Album! I really recommend to people to purchase this album. I have 1 word for this album...Amazing!
Danny Thomas - 22.02.2007 at 23:40  
i didn't like thsi as much as the others : / and i never really thought of them as a bodom copycat. the music was always darker to me.
Dangerboner - 25.02.2007 at 03:26  
From what I've heard, this is my favorite Kalmah album. I'm really not into their older stuff, but I really like this album. I'd classify their new approach just as Melodic Death Metal....maybe even Symphonic Melodic Death Metal. Whoever said that The Black Waltz sounds similar to old Amorphis is completely correct. It sounds like a mix between the first two Amorphis albums, but this one is much faster.

Overall, this is their most aggressive album and I hope they continue using low vocals.

From what I've noticed, only the really talented bands actually succeed at taking risks and progressing from their original sound. Kalmah seems to have done this here.
Sunioj - 25.02.2007 at 17:22  
Ok, I just figured out what I dont like about this album but just want to acknowledge at the same time, this album is also great.

The older Kalmah had a much more cold/romantic melodicness with their guitarwork and keys. Plus, I found the guitarwork to be too happy or upbeat relative to their older stuff. When I think of Kalmah, I think of sad, melodic, and cold atmosphere and such...
Marcus - 23.03.2007 at 03:42  
This album is awesome, and IMO i prefer the new artwork to that of their old artwork.
cruel pain - 28.03.2007 at 11:43  
kalmah n cob..!!man they're way different n have grown further apart after the release of this album .weird cover but its ok not dat bad
the songs r awsme!!!the vocals may not be appealing 2 some(like me in da beginning)but u gradually start likin them .....then loving them....just amazing.....some ppl might think that the album wud hve been better wid the same songs and older vocals...even i had da same opinion earlier....but itz gud in itz own place...gud work guyz...
cant w8 for da next album...
highlights-groan of wind,the black waltz,time takes us all
Danny Thomas - 30.03.2007 at 00:20  
Written by Sunioj on 25.02.2007 at 17:22

Ok, I just figured out what I dont like about this album but just want to acknowledge at the same time, this album is also great.

The older Kalmah had a much more cold/romantic melodicness with their guitarwork and keys. Plus, I found the guitarwork to be too happy or upbeat relative to their older stuff. When I think of Kalmah, I think of sad, melodic, and cold atmosphere and such...


you make a very good point! i think that may be why this one doesn't do it for me.
cruel pain - 18.04.2007 at 17:11  
Written by iaberis on 19.11.2006 at 14:53

Indeed, they've changed their sound... Now they sound like Power Death Metal... Since I'm not fan of Death Metal, I don't like this change... They sounded better before, when they were a copy of Children Of Bodom...
Weird music... and weird cover art!!! It reminds me of the Pirates of the Caribean!

dude....how can u say dat they're a copy of cob...???they're way diff..!!
iaberis - 18.04.2007 at 20:20  
Written by cruel pain on 18.04.2007 at 17:11

dude....how can u say dat they're a copy of cob...???they're way diff..!!

In the beginning they were a copy of CoB. CoB invented this genre, so ay comparison with them was logical and in my opinion their sound was very similar to them, but now as I said, their sound is much different...
Sunioj - 18.04.2007 at 20:38  
I dont agree, if you want to be politically correct you can say that Cob invented the genre, but the sound of Cob and Kalmah even on the first album sound differrent to me. They sound similar in the respects of the neoclassical riffs, but Cob also threw in alot of riffs that were sort of hard rock oriented and that made Cob more distinct...but I wouldnt call them a carbon copy though.
Stigmatized - 19.04.2007 at 02:01  
Written by iaberis on 18.04.2007 at 20:20

Written by cruel pain on 18.04.2007 at 17:11

dude....how can u say dat they're a copy of cob...???they're way diff..!!

In the beginning they were a copy of CoB. CoB invented this genre, so ay comparison with them was logical and in my opinion their sound was very similar to them, but now as I said, their sound is much different...


Even in the beginning, their sound was miles away from Children Of Bodom. Just because they play the same genre doesn't make them identical.
iaberis - 19.04.2007 at 02:10  
Well to me they sounded the same...
Rodent - 04.05.2007 at 17:20  
I don't like CoB couse they have too much MTV influrence in their music... maybe older albums...
Kalmah sounds much different from them, even if they are in same genre, kalmah guys have their own style and sounds much better to me :-)
There is passion in sound of Kalmah... at CoB I hear only money earning...
Bsquared - 20.07.2007 at 14:03  
I just started Listening to Kalmah, pretty good so far I must say!
I'm just wondering, live, are they using the new or the old vocals?
Valaskjalf - 21.07.2007 at 16:42  
The review score is about on the money....its not their best album by any means, probably slightly better than "They Will Return" but a LONG way off "Swamplord" and "Swampsong". The gruff vocals arent used to the best effect on this album because its the only voice you hear. I much rather prefered the black metalish screechying vocals from the past, with the growls mixed in now and then. If you ask me they lost a lot of dynamics by using this solitary vocal approach. The songs also tend to get a bit stale quickly....everything repeats and repeats and gets boring, its also a very slow album.

Dang now when i read what i wrote i dont know how i get the score as high as 8/10 lol Its a good album tho, with some very good songs, better than most Melodic Death stuff you get thesedays. I suppose i partly raised their score because Ive always been a MASSIVE kalmah fan, eversince the beginning when the "COB clone" shit was slung around, I always liked Kalmah better than COB
Sunioj - 21.07.2007 at 20:37  
Written by Valaskjalf on 21.07.2007 at 16:42

The review score is about on the money....its not their best album by any means, probably slightly better than "They Will Return" but a LONG way off "Swamplord" and "Swampsong". The gruff vocals arent used to the best effect on this album because its the only voice you hear. I much rather prefered the black metalish screechying vocals from the past, with the growls mixed in now and then. If you ask me they lost a lot of dynamics by using this solitary vocal approach. The songs also tend to get a bit stale quickly....everything repeats and repeats and gets boring, its also a very slow album.

Dang now when i read what i wrote i dont know how i get the score as high as 8/10 lol Its a good album tho, with some very good songs, better than most Melodic Death stuff you get thesedays. I suppose i partly raised their score because Ive always been a MASSIVE kalmah fan, eversince the beginning when the "COB clone" shit was slung around, I always liked Kalmah better than COB


Yeah dude,...I know there are songs that standout on the album and its pretty solid to me. But if I look at their past works, all I can do is remember how they used to sound. Well, here comes their new album for what next year? We'll just need to wait and see what how they decide to use the vocals.
BurbotsRevenge - 22.12.2007 at 01:06  
nice album, nice review, but the cover art? their previous 3 albums had awesome cover art, but this? its horrible IMO, well, at least the music is awesome
ArcesseEum - 02.11.2008 at 20:38  
I look at it this way: Kalmah's first album was their Catchiest, but this one is their heaviest/most bombastic/tightest.
Kasper - 22.12.2008 at 20:44  
This album is really growing on me. I think it's more attractive than the other albums, maybe it's the vocals? But it's definitely their best IMO. It has a more - in your face - attitude than the others.
ms68 - 23.12.2008 at 22:09  
Kalmah never were a copy of children of BEDROOM
neither they are power-metal nor melodeth-metal they are SWAMP-METAL
K†ulu - 23.12.2008 at 22:35  
Written by ms68 on 23.12.2008 at 22:09

Kalmah never were a copy of children of BEDROOM
neither they are power-metal nor melodeth-metal they are SWAMP-METAL

Yeah, that's the definition the band gives to the music, but after all they fall under the extreme power metal category.
Kasper - 03.01.2009 at 18:17  
Anyone else noticed how similar the intro in With Terminal Intensity is almost the same as in Heroes To Us.
Was acutally the first thing I noticed when listening to With Terminal Intensity. ;-p
Ph0eNiX - 02.05.2009 at 10:06  
This album was their best work!
Two reasons why:
1)TimeTakes Us All
&
2)To the Gallows
Abattoir - 02.05.2009 at 13:48  
Pretty strong release...agressive, fast songs with nice melodic guitars.

Personally I quite like this album, very enjoyable...
Uirapuru - 25.05.2009 at 08:08  
Quote:
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.


Yeah. Only decent parts in the album IMO.
flamey - 13.08.2009 at 15:03  
Kalmah has been constantly slaying COB with every release since 2000, while Alexi was too busy painting his nails.
Elio - 13.08.2009 at 15:16  
Written by flamey on 13.08.2009 at 15:03

Kalmah has been constantly slaying COB with every release since 2000, while Alexi was too busy painting his nails.


This is pretty much the best quote I've ever read in a review comment.
Mr.Tugboat ;) - 24.11.2010 at 01:44  
Written by iaberis on 19.11.2006 at 14:53

Indeed, they've changed their sound... Now they sound like Power Death Metal... Since I'm not fan of Death Metal, I don't like this change... They sounded better before, when they were a copy of Children Of Bodom...
Weird music... and weird cover art!!! It reminds me of the Pirates of the Caribean!

norther was the copy cat lol never kalmah the riff structures are very very very differant

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