Released: 2006, Spikefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The Finnish swamp warriors are back with a new album, titled THE BLACK WALTZ, and with a tiny change in their line-up as well. Since Kalmah released their 3rd album, SWAMPSONG, I honestly believed it was all over with them. More time passed by as there didn´t seem to be much activity from their side once SWAMPSONG was put out. Or, I simply missed something?
However, Pasi Hiltula left the band who played the keyboards on the SWAMPSONG album, and Kalmah announced Marko Sneck as their new keyboard player in spring 2004. After some intense and goal-orientated song writing sessions the band chose 11 new ´swamp songs´ for their next release that was destined to carry the title THE BLACK WALTZ.
Then of course, raises up the first question: What has changed as far as the content for their new album is concerned? The first thing you are going to notice is the band has, either consciously or unconsciously, tried determinedly to get rid off their ´just-another-Bodom-clone-band´ -syndrome. Every time when I have seen any of their 3 previous albums reviewed, people have lifted up C.o.B.´s name from somewhere in order to compare Kalmah to them. Some of those comparisons have been justified to a certain point, yes - and I have had no problem with them, but I still would not think Kalmah as ´just your ordinary C.o.B. -clone band´ that much after all. Where C.o.B. goes musically to these certain levels of techniques, Kalmah takes a more straight road and sort of creates their own brand of noises from there, even if still possessing and maintaining a respectable amount of variety within their musical approach - and spicing their modern metal up with certain things that add their own edge of interest for the whole thing.
THE BLACK WALTZ has all that which is why it can be considered a very well thought-out and very well done metal release. It has lots of intensity, melody, loads of variety, a fair amount of progressive elements and just sheer charisma that many metal releases tend to lack nowadays. The opening song "Defeat" could be a good example from all that. The next song on T.B-W., "Bitter Metallic Side", reminds me pretty much of C.o.B. - thanks to the guitar parts in it. Then they have songs like "Time Takes Us All", "The Black Waltz", "With Terminal Intensity" and "The Groad of Wind (which, by the way, sounds a bit like one of those songs on the Swedish death mongers Sacrilege´s debut album LOST IN THE BEAUTY YOU SLAY) that make a listener to ooze some well-chosen quality words toward their side. The guys´ playing is overall flawless, tight and rich in sense of variety - and compared to any of their previous 3 records, THE BLACK WALTZ can be declared their best work to date.
Melodic Death Metal presented on THE BLACK WALTZ, is just appealing - nailing your ears to it quite effectively. If you have liked them before, I guess there´s a fair chance you´ll like them even more on this new output from them.