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They Will Return
Released: 2002, Century Media
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
I wasn’t expecting a lot from this Finnish band when I put in the CD, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. Though I haven’t heard of them before now, Kalmah are definitely a band I’d be interested in hearing more from.
This is a catchy black/death metal act that obviously has a lot of affinity for the traditional Gothenburg sound, but they put a nice little spin of their own on it, which is quite refreshing. The first track, “Hollow Heart,” contains several pounding, relentless, never-give-up riffs that mesh perfectly with anguished vocals and apocalyptic drumming. The track sets the stage perfectly for the rest of the album, which never falters in its frenetic energy. Being the power metal and Gothenburg death fan that I am, I especially liked that Kalmah are extremely melodic without sacrificing any brutality. However, the melodic nature of their music is more than just the usual “power + death” equation. For example, the song “Principle Hero” sounds much more black metally than you’d expect, and the opening of “They Will Return”--overall probably the best track on the album--sounds like something out of the ‘80s Bay Area thrash scene, although the song later journeys (metaphorically) to Gothenburg as well. Kalmah are certainly not afraid to experiment, and their success rate on THEY WILL RETURN is generally quite high.
While most of this is hard, blistering, dead-serious metal, Kalmah aren’t afraid to show that they’re old school metal fans as well as terrifying black/death metal demagogues (or, at least wanna-be demagogues). I guarantee that their very competent cover of Megadeth’s “Skin O’ My Teeth” will bring a smile to your face. Vocalist Pekka Kokko doesn’t quite have Dave Mustaine’s disrespectful squeal, but his angry screech suits the material quite well.
Overall I walked away from THEY WILL RETURN quite satisfied. This is a strong album from a strong band. I hope that future albums will continue to utilize this band’s considerable potential.
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