Album: 12 Gauge Release Date: 03 March 2010
Label: Spinefarm Records
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Kalmah is not as popular as other bands in the genre but now that the sixth release is in my hands i’ve come to think about the past about this band and other bands in the same genre. Kalmah has been one of the bands that has firmly embraced their style no matter how the public has received their albums. These autoproclaimed Swamplords have refused to mix their style with american metal influences or ruin it by adding needless layers. Their music has evolved step by step without forcing the music and this is why I think the transition between each release is barely noticed. But if you compare older albums like Swamlord or The Black Waltz you can actually note the musical evolution.
12 Gauge is a step ahead of what For the Revolution was, technically and melodically speaking. The opener Rust Never Sleeps is a deceiver since it begins with tranquil acoustic guitar that it transforms into a real headbanger!!! Traditional kalmah sounds are heard throughout all the tracks, I cannot say that there’s a weak song in the whole album since in my perspective 12 Gauge is a perfect reflection of kalmah’s career. Swampwar is a song that resides on the same verge than For The Revolution, the solos and the overall pace of the song cannot deny it’s resilience with the previous album (specially Holy Symphony War).
12 Gauge takes the slightly more layered melodies and guitars of For the Revolution and channels them over the rhythmic, pulsing beats of The Black Waltz with an added burst of aggression and speed. The dark and mystical feel gives the album some of the same arcane atmosphere as Swamplord, while in places the hooky leads recall old classics from They Will Return even better than the previous album, so often considered their career-spanning album. Arising wetly from the smog-layered swamp of their socio-political oddballing, Kalmah unleash a gleaming array of weaponry that draws on their back catalogue as well as playing with new elements that keep things interesting. So from a certain point of view, maybe not so obvious, Kalmah has managed to keep themselves as a solid band but also slightly evolving with each release.
With 12 gauge Kalmah is crowned one of best of melodic death metal bands, and in this moment superior to its counterparts Children of Bodom and Norther.
Doctor X Rate: 8.5 / 10
Highlights: Rust Never Sleeps, Bullets are Blind, Godeye, 12 Gauge, Sacramentum