Saturday, 4 October 2008

CD Review: For The Revolution, by Kalmah (2008)


There is no questioning the overall high quality of the songs and the professionalism of the band, but there are some signs on For The Revolution that Kalmah are drifting a bit. There is no outstanding track in this collection. Dead Man's Shadow and Like A Slave come close, but they are lacking a final, polished cutting edge.

In the meantime, three tracks display a lack of freshness that is uncharacteristic of the band. While still far from filler material, Holy Symphony Of War, Wings Of Blackening and Coward offer little that is new to the band's sound. On a couple of songs, most notably Coward, Kalmah experiment with a counter-intuitive descending chorus that starts with low notes and gets lower. There is a reason that this progression is not used often in any kind of music, and that's because it's not pretty.

On the plus side, the band's overall sound continues to mature, with Antti Kokko's lead guitar now more integrated into the songs. The vocals are an interesting mid-range growl that is yet again an evolution from the vocals on Kalmah's previous CDs.

The better songs still deliver the terrific keyboard-driven melodic hooks that are the unmistakable signature of the band. The folk metal melody that is the centrepiece of Dead Man's Shadow is simply brilliant, and is built into the song with ridiculous ease.

The band is to be congratulated for limiting the CD to 9 songs, an approach that pays off in keeping the pace brisk and avoiding drag. The compositions are all appropriately complex without ever being pretentious, and as is typical with the band, every note is measured and executed with mechanical precision -- there are never any vague patches. While not their best work, Kalmah do not have to be at their best to deliver a very good recording.


Band:

Pekka Kokko - Guitar and Vocals
Antti Kokko - Lead Guitar
Janne Kusmin - Drums
Marco Sneck - Keyboards
Lede - Bass

Songlist (Ratings out of 10):

1. For The Revolution - 8
2. Dead Man's Shadow - 9
3. Holy Symphony Of War - 7
4. Wings Of Blackening - 7
5. Ready For Salvation - 8
6. Towards The Sky - 8
7. Outremer - 8
8. Coward - 7
9. Like A Slave - 9

Average: 7.89

Produced by Kalmah
Recorded and Mixed by Ahti Kortelainen
Mastered by Dakan Akesson

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