Kalmah: Seventh Swamphony

Finnish melodic metallers with far more sheen than soul

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We live in an era where performance, recording and production standards are higher than at any other point in metal history, and even relatively low-budget records can be expected to sound huge and clear. Kalmah’s new album is a good example of this: a carefully constructed tour de force so sizeable it can barely squeeze through the speakers.

In fact, it’s somewhat reminiscent of Peter Tägtren’s Abyss Studio productions, where every element and point in the sonic range is amped to 11 all the time.

As the title suggests, this is the band’s seventh album, although it’s anything but swampy in style, instead essentially maintaining a melodic death metal sound with hints of orchestration and a vaguely cinematic overtone. The musicianship is impressive, with stellar guitars and the roared vocals underlined by tight percussion and synth work, but it suffers the same problem as a lot of melodic death metal in that it cries out for a bit more soul and the sort of memorable songwriting that separates, say, Insomnium from Catamenia.