With the arrival of ‘Surun Saattomailla’, the second Kalmankantaja album of 2023 and 24th full-length in total sees its release. Often working with in particular different vocalists, this time we once again find Grim666 taking care of everything all by himself. And as has become a tradition with the band’s releases in recent years, the music on the latest album is far from the same as the last few albums.
While some elements of for instance 2022’s ‘Metsäuhri’ can be heard back on the most recent album, to really find a suitable comparison within the Kalmankantaja discography we have to go back a little bit further in time. To be precise, to the 2015-2017 period, and specifically the ‘Muinainen’ and ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ albums. At this point, the music of Grim666 had cast off most (but not all) of the depressive nature that was featured on the band’s earliest works and had shifted to a more melancholic and colder atmospheric brand of Black Metal. ‘Surun Saattomailla’ has that similar style, with clean guitar strumming, minimal melodies that drive the songs forward at a medium pace and underlying keyboards that add to the sense of melancholy. To further enhance the chilling atmosphere, Grim666’s vocals have a distorted effect over them, not unlike that used by Wrest of Leviathian. This adds a level of bleakness on top of the desolate and melancholic melodies and the hypnotizing pace. The result is something that feels like an entrancing, captivating and at times downright beautiful journey through the cold and dark night.
Despite a respectable number of albums and steady release pace, Grim666 can pride himself in consistently releasing excellent albums within the frame of atmospheric Black Metal. Taking a slightly different approach each time, some might prefer one style over the other. To those that consider ‘Muinainen’, ‘Eindsamkeit’ and ‘Demonwoods’ amongst their favorite Kalmankantaja releases take note. ‘Surun Saattomailla’ is an album that can match itself with those albums, and in particular the final two tracks ‘Mina olen kuolema’ and ‘Veriuhei’ bring out the best of the band in this style. And to those that enjoy all of Kalmankantaja’s interpretations of Black Metal, they’re in for another treat.