Blood Ran Cold’ opens up the album ‘Palo’ with a majestic and almost poetic like power base, on which intricate and technical musicianship is portrayed with exacting precision. Pekka Kokko then kicks in with growling vocals which are powerful and bruising, yet sit harmoniously alongside the clinical guitars and pounding drum line. ‘Palo’ is Kalmah’s eighth full length opus since their inception in 1998, prior to this they were in existence as Ancestor since their birth in Finland in 1991.
‘Palo’ then continues along the power metal/melodic death branch with ‘The Evil Kin’ and it begins with more crunching and powerful undertones, which cohabitate with intricate guitar work and growling vocals excellently, intermittently throughout the track, they slow the pace and then speed it up to mind melting levels.
‘The World Of Rage’ starts with a fragile opening, which is dictated to by a beautiful fragile piano which then turns into a thrashy, black metal esque episode. The track builds into a behemoth which leaves you wanting more as the ending seems to come far too soon.
The album continues down the same path with regards to copious amounts of power, intertwined with black hints and Melodic death chunks. ‘Take Me Away’ utilises the piano again to accent periods of the track along with plenty of melody and tuneful subdivisions.
‘Paystreak’, ‘Waiting In The Wings’ and ‘Through The Shallow Waters’ all deliver guitars, which seem to show dynamics and clinical precision in equal measures, and these are all backed up with a heartbeat of pounding drums and bass tones.
‘Erase And Diverge’ throws in a heavier element into the fold, whilst keeping the same undercurrent that the rest of the album exhibits. ‘The Stalker’ starts with absolutely beautiful and mesmerising guitar picking, and the crunching then begins, until the mid-point, and then it ceases, and lets the band demonstrate their excellent guitar skills yet again.
This is the bands 20 year anniversary as Kalmah, and they have an extensive back catalogue which has helped them build their sound and confidence over the years, and this is exhibited perfectly in ‘Palo’. Kokko et al have returned with a behemoth of an album and I’m sure this will flaw anyone who gives them chance with this album of crossover of genres.
(8/10 Phil Pountney)