Compared to its immediate predecessor, 12 Gauge, Finnish melodeath stars Kalmah have toned down the thrash influences and returned to a more traditional melodic approach but nonetheless, Seventh Swamphony doesn’t fail to pack a punch.
New keyboardist Veli-Matti Kananen does an admirable job of maintaining Kalmah’s symphonic reputation right from the start the title track, leaving you in no doubt that their technical prowess is still intact. The guitarwork is unsurprisingly phenomenal, taking several playthroughs to digest the heavy stream of riffs pouring from your speakers. As always, Kalmah frequently flirt with the clichés of Finnish melodic metal (most obvious on “Deadfall”) but for the most part stay well away from cheese. “Hollo” is the weakest track on the album; the obligatory ballad that sadly serves only to stall an otherwise highly engaging tracklist. It does, however, provide a breather before the assault of the final four tracks which make up the strongest half of the album. Final track “The Trapper,” achieves all that “Hollo” could not with a patient, yet rewarding, build that satisfactorily concludes the album.
Kalmah set high expectations and rarely fail to deliver on them. Seventh Swamphony is no exception; proving once again that Kalmah are one of the most consistent bands in the genre.