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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic, symphonic death metal, 15 July 2008
By 
Hedon (Eternal Night) - See all my reviews
This review is from: They Will Return (Audio CD)
I'd gotten into Kalmah through the Black Waltz, and although i picked up their backlog over time, i'd never actually given any of their older albums a listen untill i picked up For the Revolution. FTR is pretty much a mix of Black Watlz and their older style, and having enjoyed it thoroughly i decided to have a blast at Swamplord, Swampsong and They Will Return. I've still got to give Swamplord and Swampsong more time, but i think They Will Return is the second best Kalmah album ever. And, owing to the high quality of their other releases, this is no small order.

Before we begin, lets sort out the whole Children of Bodom comparison. Kalmah sound nothing like COB. Yes, they both have a similar guitars/keyboards with extreme vocals set up. Yes, they both have elements of power metal, death and thrash. But thats where it ends. COB, aside from the vocals, are pretty much a technical power metal band whereas Kalmah are definitly an extreme (yet melodic) metal band at their core with hints of power metal, and infinitly darker, heavier and more aggressive then COB. You won't find much of the cheesy hard rock parts of COB in They Will Return. and while COB have classical influences in a cheesy Stratavarious/videogame-ish way, Kalmahs classical influences are much darker and more symphonic. You'll also find a lot of real melodic death influences from In Flames and Dark Tranquillity in Kalmah, which is absent from COB. All in all, i think they sound very different, both great bands, but Kalmah being the more serious, extreme band.

Phew, now thats over with, lets get to the music. They Will Return is quite a fantastic album which may not imediatly sound that different to other Finnish bands, but repeated listens reveal a much more unique and darker bands then most of their peers. its dark, its kinda twisted and very melancholy in places, yet the band still manage to thrash away like complete demons. I doubt you'll hear many of their contemporaries play this hard or aggressive, and they're definitly one melodic death band that no one can argue the 'death' tag off. For one, the vocals are very extreme and quite hard to get into as frontman Pekka Kokko lets rip with his sickening gargled screams and occasional guttaral below. Seriously, his vocals are much more impressive then most pure death metal bands. Great numbers like powerful opener "hollow heart" or "Swamphell" with its killer keyboard lines show Kalmah at their fastest, with chaotic keyboard runs going head to head with blast beats and out of this world riffing. Seriously, the guitar playing is fabulous. Not a one trick pony, Kalmah also show they can be slower and more subtle with brooding numbers like "human fates" or the apocalyptic closer "my nation". Also, we find that the band have a great sense of groove and melody with the epic, thrash inspired title track. And while there is a nice variety of songs on offer, the intensity levels never drop and the album is captivating from start to finish,

It's really hard to over state the brilliance of this album. Fans of Norther or COB may find this a bit too heavy at first, but let it grow on you and hopefully you'll get into it. Also, check out "Swampsong", which is probably even better then this!
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