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They Will Return

Finland Country of Origin: Finland

1. Hollow Heart
2. Swamphell
3. Principle Hero
4. Human Fates
5. They Will Return
6. Kill The Idealist
7. The Blind Leader
8. My Nation
9. Skin O' My Teeth

Review by Luka on April 17, 2002.

Unless Children of Bodom redeem themselves after the mediocre “Follow the Reaper” and go back to the genius “Hatebreeder” style I see Kalmah as the new kings of Finnish metal. One part death-thrash, one part black, and one part power metal, (add brilliant lead guitarist/composer) is the recipe for “Bodom Metal”, as I now call the trend, and it seems to be something Kalmah were born with.

I am nuts for this sound! Power metal puts a smile on my face and makes me feel warm inside, but I cringe and frown when the fairy-voices start singing and the cheesy music kicks in. Kalmah put a smile on my face but I am laughing with them, not at them. “Bodom Metal” is essentially a much darker, more extreme and potent form of power metal. Kalmah readily massacre and modernize everything from traditional metal-style songs (title-track: greatest song on here!) to moving epics ('Human Fates'), to the unique Children of Bodom-sound songs, which tend to borrow from classical music ('Swamphell'). The production has left the guitars slick and sharp, and sometimes sounding a little weak, but the album’s focus on harmony and lead guitar rather than mean, chugging riffs makes that unavoidable.

Now I hardly want to create the impression that Kalmah are a shameless Children of Bodom rip-off. While both share many basic guidelines and clearly sound alike there are still a number of fundamental differences between the two. Kalmah are more interested in energy and a powerful pumping beat. Technical sections and blast-beats are reserved only for verse lines and pre-solo arrangements to suffocate and hammer you into the ground before the strong grooves break loose for a chorus or solo. The solos themselves often have a more carefree and moving style resembling old 80’s bands like WASP or Judas Priest. Children of Bodom innovated pretty much all of their musical endeavors, Kalmah still stick to certain tried-n-true methods of heavy metal.

Both “Bodom Metal” geniuses reached a climax with their second album. The infamous Children stumbled after that but can the bold and determined boys from Kalmah take the already revolutionary sound even further?! Let us pray that the gods of metal are generous...

Bodom Line: Catchy, happy, melodic and bursting with energy and solos! Kalmah’s style was right up my alley, one of the best metal releases I’ve heard in a long time.

Originality: 9
Musicianship: 10
Atmosphere: 7
Production: 9.5
Overall: 9

Rating: 8.9 out of 10


Review by Allan on April 14, 2002.

Hot on the heel’s of their 2000 debut, Kalmah are back boasting a much stronger band. Nine tracks from one of Finland’s greats is an excellent thing, and Kalmah are here to show us that there is more to their music than the typical melodic death/black metal. In a rather over crowded Finnish scene, Kalmah are showing us that they are ready to take the forefront with “They Will Return”.

One of the most important things about this album is that it shows quite a bit of evolution since their previous record. Although similar to their Finnish brothers Children of Bodom, the band isn’t a clone. It’s a bit more difficult to draw their influences now. The riffing of course is very melodic, but it doesn’t have that same classical touch that Children of Bodom use. The band touches on a bit of thrashy riffing this time around. You can really notice this with the improved rhythm guitars. The band knows that it’s a good thing to have a bit of variation in songs. 'Principal Hero' alternates between furious guitar riffing and a more relaxed groove, while other tracks like 'Human Fates' show a little slower side of Kalmah. While not the most original music, it’s very well done.

The abilities of the band members is notable. The keyboards are excellent, often taking a leadership role instead of just a backdrop for the guitars. The dual guitar guitars is something that metal fans have come to expect from these melody-injected bands, but one can’t deny the precision that Pekka and Antti Kokko play with. The production has made a lot more room for the bass and drums to move forward. Both Timo Lehtinen and Janne Kusmin do an excellent job and the production lets us see that. Overall, Kalmah is a much stronger band with a more defined vision.

Bottom Line: While not the most original thing to come out of Finland, the band does what they do well. The similarities of which one will draw from this album are more than overpowered by the other great qualities of the album. Fans of this type of stuff will surely eat this up in a heartbeat, and others may just pass it on. Whichever, Kalmah do show us a little bit of originality and that they do have some of their own tricks up their sleeves.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Originality: 6.5
Musicianship: 8
Atmosphere: 7
Production: 7
Overall: 7

Rating: 7.1 out of 10