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Kalmankantaja – Talvisota [EP]

kalmankantaja – talvisota [ep]


On November 30, 1939, three months after World War II had started, the Soviet Union invaded Finland. Three and a half months later on March 13th, 1940 the battle ended with the Moscow War treaty. During that time, the Soviet Union has suffered an estimated 321000 to 381000 casualties at the hands of the resilient Finnish fighters and the barren Finnish cold. With temperatures as low as −43 °C (−45 °F) that ravaged the troops, this war is now known as the Winter War, or in Finnish, Talvisota.

Whether Kalmankantaja was inspired to write about ‘Talvisota’ by the events that are unfolding in Ukraine and the resulting threat upon the borders of Finland is unclear, but it certainly provides a sad actuality to this EP. Besides musical mastermind Grim666, the line-up on this recording also features vocalist Tyrant, whose contributions to the band had been reduced lately after featuring on nearly every release from 2016 until the 2020 album ‘Talventuoja’. On this EP, released in April 2022, we find the two lengthy tracks ‘Valkoinen Kuolema’ (or ‘White Death) and ‘Talvisota’ that together make up for 23 minutes of music. Despite the length, these songs represent a harsher and more uptempo side of Kalmankantaja. ‘Valkoinen Kuolema’ starts at a high pace once the howling winds have died down but then just as quickly, the mood changes to a strumming melancholic melody and background keyboards accompanied by Tyrant’s raspy shrieks. These changes in dynamics recur throughout the duration of the EP, and with the at times faster approach and more elaborate melancholic riffs, this shows a slightly different sound for the band compared to the albums released at a similar time of this EP. However, with the trademark cold atmosphere provided by the keyboards, this harsh atmospheric Black Metal sound perfectly conveys this feeling of a bitter winter cold, with piercing faster sections and vocals against the calmer and melancholic atmosphere fully representing the grueling weather conditions of the Winter War. Fittingly, the EP comes with beautiful artwork perfectly illustrating the grip of winter that took tens of thousands of lives in the span of only a few months.

‘Talvisota’ shows a somewhat grimmer and up tempo side of Kalmankantaja, at times with more elaborate leading melodies, yet it all keeps the familiar and high quality atmospheric Black Metal core. In other words, ‘Talvisota’ beautifully portrays some of the harshest and coldest parts of Finland’s history.