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A Solid Debut, but a bit wanting... - 80%

Iron_Thunder, December 1st, 2003

I guess it was easy to see that I’d like these Finns, since I’m on a huge Melodo-Black Metal kick... You’ll probably hear the name Kalmah associated with Children of Bodom and all those guys which is fair enough, since they’re the same genre, but they’re not a carbon copy or anything! Kalmah has a style all their own, both musically and lyrically—one which I find a bit more akin to my personal tastes…harmonic guitar work, convincing vocals, diverse drumming (it’s not all double bass) and—of course, keyboards. I was relieved to find that Kalmah’s use of keyboards is a little less obvious than many other Metal bands…it’s noticeable, but often it’s more atmospheric and more of a background tool rather than squealing all over the place (which happens only occasionally).

Aside from the more subtle keyboard work, there are other differences which lead me to somewhat resent the Children of Bodom comparisons; for instance, Kalmah is less classically influenced, the vocals are a bit deeper and also there are major differences thematically. Well… we all know what Children of Bodom sings about; Kalmah’s expressions tend to come from personal or social struggles. The words are very realistic, while there are also moments of mysticism laced in here and there. Whoever writes the lyrics is a real poet—not only are they perceptive, but they’re beautifully phrased. Similarly, the music is layered—compositions are rich and never boring. Time changes are fluid, and everything is tastefully interspersed. There is a lot of attention to detail, and production is also commendable. My only problem with the album is that it took a lot of listens for songs to stick in my head; while it is, as I said, never dull to listen to in the moment, afterwards I’m not left humming much. Nevertheless, there are still many songs which I enjoy! The album opens with “Evil in You,” which is a very strong track, along with “Heritance of Berija.” My very favorites are “Black Roija” and “Dance of the Water.” Wow. If you’re into this whole Melodo-Black Metal stuff, you cannot miss these guys, they’re a truly splendid act!