Kalmah - Seventh Swamphony review
|Release date:||June 2013|
01. Seventh Swamphony
05. Windlake Tale
06. Wolves On The Throne
07. Black Marten's Trace
08. The Trapper
Kalmah are one of the biggest names in Finnish extreme power/melodic death metal and are a well-established group by now; time and again they have put out consistently high quality albums which are usually thematically centered on all things swampy. They are back in 2013 with Seventh Swamphony... and let's just say the swamp kings are, without a doubt, in fine form.
I will admit, after hearing the stylistic changes that albums like The Black Waltz and 12 Gauge made to Kalmah's sound, going into this one I was not expecting to hear much of the "pre-logo change" albums. At first the sound these Finns brought to the table was more oriented towards a melodic death metal style; it had speed, real power behind it and very colorful and memorable guitar work that led the charge and gave the songs room to progress. On the next three albums, the sound got thrashy but the production seemed to have a fuller, thicker feeling behind it (especially on 12 Gauge).
Now, why is this important? On this album, the best of both worlds combine, and it makes for what could very well be the best Kalmah album to date. The production and sheer power of the album is impressive in its own right, but not only that, some of the riff magic of old has returned. The experience of the musicians really shows and there is a masterful layering of thicker rhythm guitar and soaring melodic leads on display. The album as a whole is structured in a way that it takes listening to a lot of disappointing album to appreciate. You know, those ones that open with the best track, fly out of the gate and lose momentum and get boring later on. This album starts a little slow but when things get cooking the momentum and enjoyment starts building and, before you know it, you are near the end and "Black Marten's Trace" is hitting you with the best Kalmah riffs and speedy melodic mayhem since ever. It could very well be the best song they have ever written.
Basically, this is top notch musicianship, brilliant songwriting, excellent production and at some point on this album, if you are a Kalmah fan, you are pretty much guaranteed to find whatever it is that makes you like them. The only downside I can find is the first couple songs aren't as strong as the rest, but this is very easy to overlook (and they aren't bad).
What I really like about Seventh Swamphony though? It is clear these guys have talent, but it really sounds like each musician is pushing themselves to their fullest potential to give the listener an enjoyable experience, and to make something that they can be proud of and enjoy having created themselves. Kalmah are embracing their identities as musicians and making the best music they possibly can. And that my friends, is what it's all about.
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