Melodic death metal as practiced by the Swedes and Finns is alive and well, and those swamplords from Kalmah proudly bear the standard in their sixth studio album, 12 Gauge. In our humble opinion, it’s the best music these five dudes from the northern marshes of Finland have put out since 2003’s Swampsong.
It’s the same model Kalmah have been driving since the beginning, but they’ve given their machine an oil change, a tune-up, and a supercharger, and it’s running fast and smooth. Hop in, fire it up, and the adrenaline starts flowing.
12 Gauge is filled with thrash-metal speed, hammering rhythms, and enough infectious power-metal riffs to wake the dead and set their heads to banging. But this is melodic death metal, and so 12 Gauge also delivers blistering melodic guitar solos and soaring keyboards. Pekka Kokko’s vocals supply a low-end howl that provides an effective contrast and complement to the melodies.
For variety, folk-metal stylings make an appearance on “Better Not To Tell” and “Sacramentm,” and in acoustic intros to “Rust Never Sleeps” and the title track, while black-metal style tremolo work mixes with swirling guitar and keyboard solos to flavor “Godeye”.
Lyrically, the songs are as interesting as the music. (more after the jump, including some Kalmah-style swamp metal to stream . . .)