Released: 2003, Spikefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
It has been 2 (long) years since we got a new release from the ´Swamplords´, Kalmah. These relentless northernmost metallers two previous two albums seemed to be decent successes for them in many senses even if some of the ugliest critics said them to be one of those Finnish metal bands in the ever-growing mass that were only at their best in one thing: To copycat the sound of Children of Bodom. Well, some of those accusations obviously had some truth in them, but as far as SWAMPSONG is concerned content-wise, all the negative references to C.o.B. could be said to be gone and history by now. What has happened to their sound I´m hearing some of you whispering now? So, how drastically have they changed their sound then?
Well, not that drastic changes have been made actually on SWAMPSONG. The band´s use for rich melodies and overall a strong execution of their songs are those things that have still remained the same. But now the songs are quite much more riff-based than ever before on their previous albums; they have some really tasty, catchy and heavy Thrash –riffs all over their songs and the whole musical spectrum of the songs on SWAMPSONG has definitely reached new heights in terms of creativity and sort of an undying desire to better songs on each of their new album they put out. It would be an understatement to say that SWAMPSONG isn´t Kalmah´s the strongest and most powerful album to date. I was surprised to find out that SWAMPSONG is so terribly riff-laden as an album where a respectable amount of amazingly powerful monster riffs just follow each other one after another. You need examples? Ok then, you get a bunch of them: First off, you need to check out “Heroes to Us” which simply crushes you by ten-ton Thrash –riffs; “Burbot´s Revenge” simply screams for some murderous and tightly played Thrash –riffs; so do such songs as “Cloned Insanity”, “The Third, The Magical”, “Bird of Ill Omen” (the riffs match perfectly with Arch Enemy –type of riffs in heaviness here..), etc. – actually you can pick up any song off SWAMPSONG and scream from the top of your fuckin´ lungs that “Kalmah is the shit...” while headbanging for some certain song on this kick-ass album. I bet many of you Kalmah –fans may surprise quite much a very welcomed progression they have made between their previous release THEY WILL RETURN and this new album of theirs. If I can wish something I really wish from the bottom of my heart that they are going to stick with this heavily riff-laden direction ´coz SWAMPSONG surpasses easily everything they have done before. And I said, ´easily...´. Also, what you´ll notice as well, keyboards don´t play that important part of Kalmah´s sound that much any more; they are mainly haunting in the background of the songs, creating strong and rich atmospheres more than working out as a separate instrument. I honestly have to say I like the way they have arranged the keyboard parts for their songs more than how they were on Kalmah´s previous two albums, stealing perhaps a bit too much space for my taste. Now the balance between guitars, bass, drums and keyboards is just perfect and hopefully it will stay that way on their future efforts as well.
Now when all essential has been said, I warmly suggest you to run the nearest record store hell to split and invest your money into Kalmah´s incredible 3rd album. Yep, the third always seems to be ´the most magical´; just wondering myself how well that statement fits to Kalmah´s stunning and very much massive-sounding SWAMPLORD album...