Kalmah really changed their style on this one. They moved away from the more power metal influenced, epic style of their first albums and instead leant more towards death and thrash. the riffs are thicker, the drums heavier, and the high screams have been almost entirly traded for earth trembling growls. Kalmah were once called Bodom clones by some. However, this is no more as the Black Waltz comes crushing through my speakers like a nuclear explosion.
What really sets this off from most of their peers (and their earlier works) is that they've sacrificed alot of the cheese, classical influences and power metal parts for bone crushing heaviness. Thunderous rythyms meet with the dark, low death growls of the superb frontman to create an intense variation on melodic death that points back to originators such as Carcass and At the Gates. What i really love most about this is that theres an unapologetic love of 80s thrash (i.e. Megadeth, slayer, Kreator) running through the album that Kalmah had hinted at before but never given room to breathe too much. but its not noise for noise's sake. Songs are intelligently crafted and masterfully written combining the best of both worlds, and Kalmah have still kept the intricacy and melody of their older works intact, as the wonderful keys of 'Mindrust' and 'To the Gallows' show.
'Defeat' kicks the album of with a bang, effortlessly switching from symphonic death to chugging thrash while making great use of back up vocals. However, its really with the second track 'Bitter metallic side' that we see what Kalmah are capable of. Spine chiling keyboards, amazing riffing and a chrunching verse that pummels your ears into your head. 'Time takes us all' is another great example of Kalmah's news style and with beautiful interplay between keyboards and guitars and has one of the most killer chorus' you'll hear. The prize for best song has to go to the incrediable 'Mindrust' which is just stellar and really finds a nice balance between the brutality of the new style and the melody and symphonic elements of older Kalmah. 'one from the stands' is great too
Its not all fast though. Kalmah show variety in the monsterous title track, which slows down into mid paced grooves. Another epic number is ' Groan of the wind', one of their most unique songs that has a bouncy, almost folky feel to it.
All in all the record is amazing and breathes a new lease of life into the band. they've sacrificed some of their technicallity for intensity and i think it really works great for them. Don't get me wrong this album is full of sick guitar playing, wicked riffs and solos, but its a more stripped down affair then previous efforts and it blows the competition away. Especially relevant as the likes of Bodom and Norther move towards more of a mainstream sound.
I must say that i'll always prefer the older albums Swampsong and They Will Return over this, but that doesn't stop The Black Waltz from being great. if your a fan of melodic death, or extreme metal in general, check this out. One melodic death album where no one can dispute its 'death' tag.
I only wanted to write this review to give this band the 5 stars it deserves! People have heard of Children of Bodom, but there's more to Finland than Alexi Laiho. Each album from this band is flawless. Utterly melodic and gloriously death! The subtle hint of Finn-Folk is here somewhere but not to the extent of some folk-metal bands. If you haven't heard them before, get hold of a track or two and see what I mean!
Love it. I came across this bands music on a streaming site under the genre of 'Melodic Death Metal'. Having heard 2 tracks I bought the album and haven't regretted it for 1 second. I don't really know what 'Melodic Death Metal' is supposed to sound like but this has given my music library a refreshing addition. I haven't really listened to anything made recently for 10yrs or more prefering just to listen to- King Diamond, early Trivium, Yngwie J Malmsteen, Dio, early W.A.S.P., Iron Maiden, early Metallica etc