Kalmah - 12 Gauge
Spinefarm Records
Melodic Death Metal
9 songs (42'58'')
Release year: 2010
Kalmah, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Jared
Archive review

Kalmah is a melodic death metal band, or otherwise noted as being classified as swamp metal. However you may look at Kalmah, they are one of those bands that have truly emerged from the metal world as some extremely talented musicians. I can remember the song The Black Waltz was my official anthem for the entire year of 2006. One thing that always impresses me with the band is that they never have delivered a bad record yet. With such a good track record, they are always on my mind every year to see if they have any new material on the way. 12 Gauge was probably one of the most highly anticipated albums for me in 2010 and I was pretty impressed with its result. I’d like to say that Kalmah’s They Will Return might be my all-time favorite by the band, but 12 Gauge does not disappoint and keeps the Kalmah fan in me very much alive.

It’s hard to believe 12 Gauge is already Kalmah’s sixth studio album since 2000. They have released an album almost every two years since. Even compared to other groups who take their “sweet time”, Kalmah always produces great quality albums with wonderful musicianship every time. 12 Gauge is definitely a melodic metal album but it contains more thrash influence than their previous work. This was to be expected. The intent of the album was to achieve a sound more like thrash than anything they had done before. Kalmah’s journey into a more thrash sound is nothing to concern you with. The guitar work is absolutely stellar and arguably to some, it may be their best work yet. It is hard for me to distinguish which album has the best guitar work but 12 Gauge is definitely a high contender. Despite having a more aggressive sound on the album, Kalmah also incorporates acoustic guitars a bit more frequently, and also includes trumpets. Both can be heard during the first track Rust Never Sleeps. It begins with an acoustic melody that collectively joins in with the trumpets. The intro was a very different approach to their album which I’m happy to say worked well.

Kalmah does not ever disappoint when it comes to soloing. Every song has some instance of it, or comes across with an extremely catchy lead or rhythm. Antti's and Marco’s solos are some of the best of 2010. Antti’s solos are performed with extreme precision and make you ponder if any of it comes with difficulty for him. The same goes for their keyboardist Marco. He also equally impresses me with his ability to run his fingers so flawlessly across the keys. As a fellow guitarist, I’ve always enjoyed listening and learning Kalmah’s songs. To the Gallows was one of the first songs I had tried to learn from the album The Black Waltz and had a lot of fun in doing so. I can say the same about their album 12 Gauge. This album is definitely a lot of fun, and hard to put back on the shelf.

The vocals remain the same mostly throughout like their previous records The Black Waltz and For the Revolution. Pekka Kokko returns with his same deep death metal style vocals as before and this time like the guitars, they show more aggression. With all this new aggression put into their album, it is still very much a Kalmah album. Kalmah has yet to disappoint me and hopefully coming in 2013 their new upcoming album will refrain from doing so. If Kalmah decides tour the US to promote their new album, I will definitely make an effort to do so. Seeing these guys perform live would definitely be a memorable evening in metal for me.

Killing Songs :
Rust Never Sleeps, Bullets Are Blind, Swampwar, 12 Gauge, Sacramentum
Jared quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Kalmah that we have reviewed:
Kalmah - Seventh Swamphony reviewed by Jared and quoted 95 / 100
Kalmah - For The Revolution reviewed by James and quoted 83 / 100
Kalmah - The Black Waltz reviewed by Jason and quoted 89 / 100
Kalmah - Swampsong reviewed by Jay and quoted 88 / 100
Kalmah - They Will Return reviewed by Danny and quoted 70 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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