Kalmah - Palo (Review)

The swamplords of Kalmah return with “Palo”, the band's eighth full-length release, and as always set the standard for the whole of the melodeath genre with a time-tested style. Fans can expect the hallmarks of Kalmah's sound: catchy hooks, savage polyphonic riffs, dynamic rhythms and the immediately identifiable growls of vocalist Pekka Kokko.

In comparison to the last two efforts “Seventh Swamphony” and “12 Gauge”, this album feels like a throwback to the heyday of Finnish melodeath when it was really coming into its own as a distinct sound. The average tempo on “Palo” is slower than expected for Kalmah and really helps to distinguish it from previous releases - an important quality for such a prolific band!

Notably, this record may not be as technical and overloaded with melodic hooks as other Kalmah endeavors in the last decade but it achieves a deeper heaviness not often heard from the band. There is less emphasis on lead guitar parts, allowing the rhythm section to shine. Coupled with the slower pacing and orchestration this almost gives sections of the recording an atmospheric or trance-like feel which is rather novel for a group that consistently brings intensity to the table.

Parts of the album feel like a refreshingly different take on a recognizable approach to melody and songwriting. In a long career, this is something to be lauded: even the most hardcore fans don’t want to hear the same material rehashed time and again. On “Palo” Kalmah excels at innovating on a beloved sound, giving every indication that they will continue to push boundaries and evolve in the future.

8/10 HAILS

1. Blood Ran Cold

2. The Evil Kin

3. The World of Rage

4. Into the Black Marsh

5. Take Me Away

6. Paystreak

7. Waiting in the Wings

8. Through the Shallow Waters

9. Erase and Diverge

10. The Stalker

#Kalmah #SpinefarmRecords #melodicdeathmetal #blackenedfolkmetal #folkmetal #swampmetal #review

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