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Kalmah 12 Gauge - A Review of This Classic Metal Album

Updated on February 7, 2024
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Kalmah 12 Gauge: front album cover

The album cover has a brave wizard on it trying to battle a dragon. We will assume that he will eventually become successful. The warrior in the image looks like a Viking warrior.
The album cover has a brave wizard on it trying to battle a dragon. We will assume that he will eventually become successful. The warrior in the image looks like a Viking warrior. | Source

12 Gauge is one of the heaviest metal albums you will ever hear!

Finnish melodic death metal band Kalmah in 2010 set some sort of heaviness record (well nor literally a record for heaviness) but it sure seems like this is the case. With their 2010 album called 12 Gauge, they play ferocious, heavy music and combine that with the rough vocals of guitarist Pekka Kokko.

Rust Never Sleeps and One of Fail set the tone for this heavy album

The opening song Rust Never Sleeps has a very well written acoustic part similar to what Dark Tranquillity would have put into their music. The melody in the middle of the song gives more credence to this claim. The next song called One of Fail is about Mr. Jack, is some sort of spirit that functions on anger. I really like the cover of the album. It has a brave wizard on it that is trying to battle a dragon.

The song Swampwar has an important meaning and message in it

There is a slower song on the album called Swampwar. It is about a farmer that has come one day with a tractor ready to drain and clean out this swamp. However, a troll appears and wakes up noticing that his hiding place has been disturbed. The song speeds up as the lead guitars kick in. The troll is ready to attack the farmer so he’d better be careful! This sounds like a fairy tale that the band thought of but it can also mean that sometimes when you try to clean out and drain something, it causes more problems than it solves. Maybe that farmer had no idea what he wanted to drain out and he just assumed that there was something in that swamp that needed to be cleaned out. He did not know that there was a troll inside the swamp. We will assume that the farmer escaped and went to safety.

The second half of the album is pretty impressive as well

The great melodic song called Better Not to Tell is a song about being aware that sometimes when you venture out into the real world, there are dangers that are around the corner. Through periods of extreme inflation, prices will be higher than usual so we are all expected to pay these prices. And also, you never know when someone less fortunate than you is going to need help so give them a helping hand when you can do so.

Hook the Monster is a song about a man who is in a boat as it sails through the lake. A monster then pops up out of the water and the man is bravely standing so that he can fight it and declare victory. The song 12 Gauge has acoustic guitar combined with technical lead guitars and the usual speed that Kalmah has been using in their career. It reminds me of early In Flames in the beginning.

"Rust Never Sleeps"

About the Last Song Sacramentum

Sacramentum, the last song in this album is about a warrior that has lost all that he had. He is going into an arena with many who will be watching him. He is waiting to be judged and he must go out into battle to prove himself again if he wants to be seen as a brave warrior. Either he will fight for freedom and succeed or he will be chained and succumb to the power of his foes.

Favorite album from Kalmah

Which one of these albums is your favorite Kalmah album?

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How does 12 Gauge compare to earlier Kalmah albums?

Overall, 12 Gauge is an album that continues in the heavy style that we heard on 2006’s The Black Waltz. It is a good heavy album but it still is not as good as Swamplord or They Will Return. Even so, the Kokko brothers prove they can play music that is super heavy, creative, and pleasing to the ears.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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