The first full-length album that Kalmankantaja released in 2022 was the, by my count, 20th in the history of the band. Quite a feat considering they were formed in 2011 by Grim666 and Nagh. Nagh left in 2014 and was replaced two years later by current vocalist Tyrant, but on more recent albums other vocalists have appeared. On the preceding album ‘Waeltaja’ the session services of S. Korpituli were employed, and on this first full-length of 2022 entitled ‘Metsäuhri’ it appears Grim666 himself has provided not only the lyrics, but also the vocals.
Compared to the previous album, but also the ‘Waiennut’ album released later in 2022, the sound on ‘Metsäuhri’ is quite different. The guitars have a much heavier and cleaner tone to them, with the sound of the drums being more mechanic in nature. The keyboards are more subdued in the mix, and the album as a whole is much more focussed on the melodies in the guitars. In addition, the vocals have a pretty strong distorted effect to them. As opposed to the often more bleak and depressive tone of the Kalmankantaja music, this album has an almost dreamy and soothing atmosphere, but also one that nears Doom Metal territories, for instance in ‘Kun Täältä Lähden’ when things really slow down. While the pace does change from time to time, the album has a bit more of a melody-laden midpaced feeling to it. The exception is ‘Veri Josta Routa Kasvaa’, which features more prominent keyboards and has a slightly more uptempo and less melodic approach, but doesn’t fall out of tune with the rest of the material.
Out of the three albums released in 2022, ‘Metsäuhri’ has a more yearning and dreamlike atmosphere, accomplished through more emphasis on guitar melodies, with a more supportive and atmosphere-enhancing role of the keyboards. In particular the contrast with the distorted vocals works well, and though I personally prefer a slightly less mechanic sound on the drums, it makes this album quite distinct from ‘Ahdistus MMXI’ and ‘Waiennut’. For a band that manages to release so many albums a year, that diversity in facets of atmospheric Black Metal within a single band should be considered a compliment.