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Kalmah - The Black Waltz
When ‘Swamplord’ came out in 2000, it was recommended to me by a friend who heard some songs and liked it very much. I didn’t have much for the bands I wasn’t quite familiair with back then, but I was low on inspiring music so I decided to give it a go.
‘Evil In You’ and ‘Withering Away’, the first two songs on ‘Swamplord’, aroused some interest but didn’t make the impression I expected them to make. That didn’t happen until the third song, ‘Heritance of Berija’ kicked in. That was the whack on the head I needed to buy the album and to love every minute of it.
Later I also bought the follow-up ‘They Will Return’ (with the cool Megadeth-cover on it!), which rocked even more.
After that, it was a case of ‘out of mind, out of heart’, I’m afraid. I missed ‘Swampsong’. It was until I saw the album to be available for reviewing that I had actually forgotten about Kalmah’s existence. I immediately mailed the chief to get me this album, which he did. Anxiously I waited for the moment to be able to give it a listen.
 
The first thing I noticed was that the black metal screams had almost completely vanished. Where the first two albums had loads of screams with the occasional grunt (I thought that combination was awesome!), ‘The Black Waltz’ knows only a few.
The second thing was that Kalmah seems to have chosen for less catchy, yet razor-sharp melodies. Where for example ‘Heritance Of Berija’, ‘Hades’, ‘Hollow Heart’, ‘Swamphell’ and ‘The Blind Leader’ knew how to knock me off my feet right away, most of the songs on ‘The Black Waltz’ failed. A few exceptions like ‘Time Takes Us All’, ‘Mindrust’ and ‘One From The Stands’ succeeded to bring back that feeling with a catchy chorus and some blast beats, but the majority of the songs consist of mid-paced, ‘casual’ - sounding death metal with only an occasional blast part. In the midst of all that, a slow and totally misplaced instrumental, ‘Svieri Doroga’, comes along. What’s up with that?
 
Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed at the first listening session. After hearing the album a couple of more times, I had to adjust my opinion a little. It had become clear to me that Kalmah had chosen another path in their musical career and that I just have to learn to live with that.
 
The songs may sound different from the first two albums with less leads, catchy choruses and almost no screams,  the structures and solo parts are still noteworthy.
Also, the vocals are good, deep grunts where you can still hear what the words are (always a plus, in my opinion) and if you like it heavy, you’ll be okay with most of the material on this album.
 
‘The Black Waltz’ is not a bad record, but I just expected a lot more of the band that made such a smashing impression on me with their first albums. I was and still am disappointed about ‘The Black Waltz’ as it is, nothing can change that.
If you were blown away the previous Kalmah albums like me, be sure to think twice before blindly buying this record without listening to it first. You might not like what you get.
Kalmah - The Black Waltz
65/1001Details Spinefarm Records
Released on Wednesday Feb 22nd, 2006
Melodic Death Metal

Writer @Bastian Blackrain on Sunday Mar 12th, 2006

Tags: #Kalmah
Tracklisting 1. Defeat (5:32)
2. Bitter Metallic Side (4:28)
3. Time Takes Us All (4:22)
4. To The Gallows (4:40)
5. Svieri Doroga (1:08)
6. The Black Waltz (4:37)
7. With Terminal Intensity (4:56)
8. Man Of The King (4:02)
9. The Groan Of Wind (5:02)
10. Mindrust (4:06)
11. One From The Stands (4:32)
Line up Pekka Kokko - vocals, guitar
Antti Kokko - lead guitar
Janne Kusmin - drums
Timo Lehtinen - bass
Marco Sneck - keyboards
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