Kalmah – Swamplord – Review


Swamplord (Century Media)
by Scott Hefflon

A review in BW&BK (if yer into metal and don’t read Brave Words, um, what’s wrong with you?) gave voice (or ink, at least) to something I’ve been struggling with… Kalmah is a great band to listen to, don’t get me wrong; they’re from Finland, recorded masterfully at Tico-Tico, and released on Spikefarm, a division of Spinefarm, and while they display top-notch musicianship, they might as well be a tribute band to Children of Bodom (working in covers of In Flames, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, and the handful of others all paying homage to At The Gates). CoB rules and, until recently, there was nothing like them. But that’s what people said about the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and suddenly there was a swing revival, of all things. Never underestimate the public’s stupidity… But Kalmah, shit, I guess there’s kinda got to be a scene, cuz who’s gonna open for Children of Bodom? They never quite fit with In Flames’ mid-tempo rocker approach to melodic death metal, and they were just too ferocious to put onstage with classic heavy metal/power metal falsetto fruitloops cuz Alexi’s death snarl’d scare the bejesus outta those post-prog fairies. And most of the real death metallers (blame the fans, not the bands) wouldn’t cotton to the band’s use of keyboards cuz, like, Yngwie did that faggy shit and fuck him, maaaan.

Now Children of Bodom have an opening band. Actually, they have an opening scene. And it’s got a name: It’s the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal. People like to name things and capitalize the first letter. Adds legitimacy or something. Swamplord is distinctly unswamp-like, but it sure is fast, furious, and expertly-played, even if not remarkably original. Kalmah and Shadow are both great listens, and seeing as they’re both on the same label as Children of Bodom (and they’re probably all from the same area code), it’s conceivable that they’d all tour together. Consider me there.
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