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Album Review: "Swamplord" by Finnish Melodic Death Metal Band Kalmah

Updated on May 29, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

On the cover for the album Swamplord is a man or a warrior with a sort of ancient spear as he analyzes an area that looks like a swamp.
On the cover for the album Swamplord is a man or a warrior with a sort of ancient spear as he analyzes an area that looks like a swamp. | Source

Album Details and Rating For Kalmah's "Swamplord"

Released in November 2000

Record label: Spinefarm Records

Length of time: 36 minutes

Rating: a solid 95 out of 100 points for remarkable consistency!

"Swamplord" Album Member Lineup

  • Antti Kokko: guitars
  • Pekka Kokko: guitars and vocals
  • Altti Vetelainen: bass guitars
  • Pasi Hiltula: keyboards and piano
  • Petri Sankala: drums

Why is the Kalmah's Debut Album So Good?

The Finnish melodic death metal band Kalmah has been recording albums under this name since 1998. They started out as the band Ancestor back in 1992 and released several demos. Their career got off to a great start with the awesome debut album called Swamplord which was released in 2000. That was a while ago, but this album still stands out as one of their best efforts ever. The album has three members of the band Eternal Tears of Sorrow performing on it. The vocals of front man Pekka Kokko are of the raspy style and differ from the harsher, rougher vocal style that he would use on the albums called The Black Waltz and For the Revolution. This is the first album that I heard from these guys and I was absolutely in awe of the terrific musicianship, good vocal growls, and nice keyboard usage. If you enjoyed the album Victory Songs by folk metal band Ensiferum, you will really enjoy this one as well. Kalmah is really melodic death metal without the folk elements but it is good!

The first two songs of the album Swamplord show why Kalmah are such a talented group of guys

The opening song called "Evil in You" has a great orchestra type keyboard part at the end which is one of the best parts of any song of any style of music that I have heard in my life. The catchiness of it so amazing that it should leave you in awe. It sounds very classical in nature. "Withering Away" has some more terrific guitar work and melodies particularly before the guitar solo. It is about trying to battle against the not so good forces of this world. Often times, people are controlled by politicians or the media and they may not even recognize it. This song gets the album off to an outstanding start in the early stages.The strongest songs in the album are pretty much most of them. Swamplord is a terrific melodic death metal album along with others such as Norther’s Mirror of Madness or Ensiferum’s Victory Songs album. Kalmah are definitely one of the best bands in the melodic death metal genre for sure!


The rest of the review of the album Swamplord

The song "Black Roija" has a Pantera style influence it because it sounds like the song called Hollow in the beginning. Hollow is a terrific song in its own right and for Kalmah to write something like this speaks to their talent level! The band’s greatness continues into the next song called "Dance of the Water" and this is one that you will be amazed at because it is so catchy! The guitar solo at the start is so amazing too! This is the first instance that Pekka Kokko uses his rough vocal growls. The drumming by Petri Sankala is superb as well, making this song a classic. I think that the more times you hear this, the more you will want to hear, similar to what guitarist Jeff Waters said about the song Brain Dance. Kalmah has often been compared to bands such as Children of Bodom and Norther. Alexi Laiho also has low vocal growls but he differs from Pekka Kokko especially now. Laiho does much more harsh shouts. "Hades" features a strong Iron Maiden influence in the guitar work and it ends with Pekka saying the word Hades with a very rough vocal growl. The Iron Maiden influence continues into the next song called "Alteration." It is present in the interlude in the middle of the song. Iron Maiden has used lots of twin guitar melodies in their career especially with their great 1984 album called Powerslave. This is some of the best 36 minutes of melodic death metal that you will hear!

"Withering Away"

Best song on the album Swamplord

What is the best song on the album Swamplord?

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"Dance of the Water"

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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