Kalmah - The Black Waltz
The story of Kalmah began in 1991 when Pekka Kokko and Petri Sankala founded Ancestor. After several demos the band was reformed in 1998 under the moniker Kalmah. Their debut album Swamplord reached the record shelves in 2000 and Kalmah's newest offering The Black Waltz is their fourth attempt in the popular genre which we like to label as melodic death metal.
Taken in consideration from which country Kalmah hails from and the type of metal they are playing, it's no surprise that it sounds a lot like Children Of Bodom. Kalmah however is not a carbon copy of Wild Child & Co because their arrangements are a bit straighter to the point and in that aspect quite effective. The guitars and keyboards work together and produce exploding leads and chords that always are extremely melodic and when the rhythm section is tight and heavy it creates great contrast. They also know how to produce rhythmical riffs that inspires to headbanging and that will certainly appeal to a lot of listeners.
The song writing is in fact quite impressive and flooded by catchy hooks. This could have been a monster if it wasn't for Pekka Kokko's poor vocals. His harsh growling has absolutely no variety and lacks necessary punch and attitude. You almost get the feeling that he is singing since no one else wanted to. This lowers the overall feeling and reduces the identity of the songs a bit. However, since the song writing and the melodic instrumentation holds a very high quality, this almost makes up for most of the problems in the vocal department.
Songs like Time Takes Us All and the title track are perfect examples of how melodic death should sound like, intense and aggressive but still with a lot of melody. Fans of the genre will most definitely like this and when it comes to writing songs, Kalmah is in fact at least on par with C.O.B. at this point. A change of vocalist and some extra variety next time and Kalmah might be on to something big!