Just recently returning from a concert my bro-in-law and I got to discuss some metal styles. He is slowly becoming “metalized”, so he wanted to know the distinction between the genres. Not being a fan of classification (this ain’t some biology class where you have to assign animals to categories), I did my best. Then we hit the wall with some Finnish bands. Case in point, what is Children of Bodom? There are as many opinions as there are fans, so I just suggested we bundle them in what is to be called “new wave of Finnish metal” – altogether melodic, extreme, catchy and commercial. Couple of days later I got to listen to Kaliban’s The Tempest of Thoughts. I have been vindicated – NWFM exists with Kaliban as its another representative.
I will not explore the dark corridors of music licensing and explain why something that was seemingly recorded in 1998 is now seeing the light of day. You are not here to understand how this eventually ended up on Crash having started on Low Frequency Records. You want to know whether another band playing their metal in the Finnish way, Kaliban, is worth a few of your hard earned greenbacks.
The truth with The Tempest of Thoughts, while enjoyable it fits the mold to a T with a listener knowing what hides behind every corner. Formulaic songwriting with softer verses and harsher catchy choruses (Orchard, The Angel) is on display. Kaliban is split half way between incorporating Finnish pop sensibilities, via standout keyboard runs and melodies, and band’s desire to still be tough with power chops (Orchard) and Swedish style riffs (Call of Siren). In bad need of energy infusion when it comes to those thrashy riffs, Kaliban may be advised to look into Kalmah direction.
The album has more hooks than a Velcro sheet, and if you like your metal melodic you will find a lot of redeeming qualities in The Tempest of Thoughts. The strongest points of the album, in fact, are probably Henri Peltola’s and Toni Kettunen’s leads, some of them so reminiscent of old In Flames and Dark Tranquillity (Forever in Bloom). In the case of The Tempest of Thoughts the leads and melodies serve as expensive vignettes and ornaments surrounding some pretty plain window frames.
Henri Peltola’s Laihosh vocals are pushed quite deep into the mix lacking energy just like the rhythm guitars. The band does try to bring in unusual elements like some Finnish flute (Carnal Cage), sitar (Forever in Bloom) and female vocals in The Angel and Call of Siren (now, is it THAT unusual?), but this hardly changes the overall equation. Glorious and uplifting Scandinavian melodies aside, The Tempest of Thoughts has the same number of clever riffs as it has some less than inspired typical chops.
Given the 1998 recording date, I don’t know where the band is today. I hope they are still making music, band’s guitarists are certainly good at handling their instruments. If you need to hear more melodic, but slightly watered down Bodom, Kalmah playing without a good night sleep or another Norther, Throne of Chaos, etc. pluck The Tempest of Thoughts out, by all means. I still hum the melodies of Forever in Bloom in my head, however, if you want to thrash, go ahead and thrash as if there is no tomorrow, let you extreme vocals loose, leave nothing behind, step up the energy level.
Killing Songs :
Forever in Bloom, The Crimson Ark
|Alex quoted 61 / 100|
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