The story of Kalmah begun in 1991 when Pekka Kokko(v, g) and Petri Sankala founded Ancestor. After 2 demos Antti Kokko joined the band to handle the position of lead guitarist. In 1998 after all in all 5 melodic trash/speed/death metal demos and 5 different bass players it was time to clear the table. Acenstor was buried and refounded as Kalmah. The Line-up was completed by keyboard player Pasi Hiltula.
With new enthusiasm Kalmah started to write new songs for the praised promo CD. With raging melodic death/trash/speed/black metal promo ‘Svieri Obraza’ the band had finally done the breakthrough and reached a contract with Spikefarm Records. The band wasted no time and headed to Tico-Tico studios with line-up Pekka Kokko(v, g), Antti Kokko(g), Petri Sankala(d), Pasi Hiltula(k) and Altti Veteläinen(b). The story of Swamplord begun.
Swamplord – 2000
“Swamplord” was unleashed to the world in the winter of 2000. The album immediately gathered tons of raving reviews and no wonder, the power and intensity of Kalmah’s metal is simply breathtaking, to say the least. The band did dozens of interviews and the praise from the scene kept flooding the Spikefarm office and the band’s website. They also played a few shows in Finland before heading back to the rehearsal-swamp to write the follow-up to “Swamplord”.
They Will Return – 2002
By November 2001, the band was back at Tico-Tico Studios recording “They Will Return”. The line-up had changed a bit due to the departure of Altti and Petri. They were promptly replaced by Timo Lehtinen (from Catamenia) on bass and Janne Kusmin behind the drumkit. “They Will Return” is an album displaying all the aspects that make Kalmah such an incredible band: from the stunning execution and rich melodies to the huge intensity and overall finesse of Kalmah’s music, there was no question that Kalmah had great things ahead of them.
Swampsong – 2003
In summer 2002 Kalmah played couple of gigs in Finland and gig at Wacken, which was a success. In autumn the band started to write new material for the next studio album. After heavy practising and rehearsal sessions swamplords were back at Tico-Tico again in February 2003 with 10 new killer songs. The new album was titled ‘Swampsong’. Heavy guitar driven melodic swamp metal masterpiece was finalized at Finnvox studios. It was time for The third, the magical.
“Swampsong” was a great follower after the highly acclaimed “they will return”-album by fans and media. Some gigs were played, also abroad, and everything was developing in the right direction until in 2004 keymaster Pasi Hiltula decided to pull back and go on with his other duties. The band started thinking then if a new keyboarder was needed but after one rehearsals with Marco Sneck (Poisonblack ) auditioning, it was all clear. A new quintet was born.
The Black Waltz – 2006
With new blood in veins the five Swamplords started to prepair the material for the fourth album. In november 2005 the band entered Tico-Tico studio to record a true swampmetal masterpiece, “The Black Waltz”. All in all 11 new Kalmah songs were recorded and mixed. With the final mastering touch of Mika Jussila from Finnvox the Waltz was ready. The dance has begun.
The Black Waltz started a new era in bands history. For the first time in history Kalmah made it to the official Finnish charts at position 38. The album with deep vocals was a bow to the bands history.
For the Revolution – 2008
With new strength after Waltz success Kalmah was eager to move on to the next album and the writing process started right away after Waltz was released. But it always takes 1-2 years for Kalmah inspiration to blossom. In 2008 new release “For the Revolution” hit the market and gained even more success than the Black Waltz. At this time the chart position was 17. For the first time ever band managed to pull out the very first tour outside Finland as they flied to Canada to show the timber-jacks how Finnish chanisaw works. 8 gigs in a row and most of the places were sold out. It was a great success.
After more gigs than ever in Kalmah’s history band begun writing new material for the next swamp masterpiece. This time it was all about inspiration as with the previous albums. From the very first songs old speed and trash metal influences pushed through. Decorated with modern Kalmah melodies it sounded like Kalmah – surprise.
12 Gauge – 2010
In year 2010 the 6th album “12 Gauge” was released. 9 new songs spreading Kalmah trademark “Swamp Metal” all over the world. After successfull Canada tour and release band got first chance to spread the message on big summer festivals in Europe. Such festivals like Metalcamp and Summerbreeze are known to every metalhead. The album itself was a success. Band gained more fans than ever.
Seventh Swamphony – 2013
Year 2012 was time for changes. Marco step aside and Veli-Matti Kananen stepped in. It was time to evaluate what we have done and what we deep in our music veins want to do next. The first song at the rehearsals “Seventh Swamphony” was the pacemaker. With new angle, not so straight-forward structure, orchestrations etc. we were turned on. We took our time rehearsing, re-thinking, evaluating new material. And it was sure worth it – or maybe we are getting old… Nevertheless we felt strong again entering studio in the beginning of 2013.
Recordings at Tico-Tico studios went smoothly as always. This time we had the chance to try world-class mixing/mastering wizard Jens Bogren and we sure did. We were excited from the very moment and very pleased with the end result. “Seventh Swamphony” – the 7th studio album from Kalmah is now waiting for the release 14.6.
Palo – 2018
After five years with all personal duties like building a house and moving to Helsinki area caused a longer break in recordings as usual. During those years new continents where marked to our live map and e.g. Canada was toured from east to west. Nevertheless the new material already started to take its form after Seventh Swamphony but not until three years later it was time to push it up and start actually wrap it up.
Within the last year insipration gave its most and all in all 10 new Kalmah songs were arranged together within the band as always. This time recordings were spread all over. Drums were recorded at Sonic-Pump studio and bass were recorded at Soundwell Studio in Helsinki area. Guitars, vocals and keys were recorded at the good old Tico-Tico studios at Kemi. This time we wanted to be back at our roots and let Ahti Kortelainen do the mixing as well. Album was mastered at Chartmakers by Svante Forsbäck. All in all it took about half a year and little listening breaks in between made the whole process smooth.
So here we are almost 20 years later after Swamplord standing stronger than ever with Palo.
Kalmah – 2023
After Palo release it was finally time for serious touring worldwide. Two successful tours in U.S. together with visits in Japan, China, Australia etc. just to mention few. The time between was yet again full of normal life duties. It was also the last album for Spikefarm Records/Universal Music and it was time to seek a new solid label to spread the truth of Swampmetal.
Writing process started as soon as Palo was released however we are Kalmah and we don´t hesitate as you all may have noticed. We took our time writing every now and then polishing the new songs amongst ourselves. Two years ago we contacted labels and there was lot of interest around but immediately when Ranka contact happened it was a match made of moss and turf.
So it was all about writing new songs after that and that sure we did. This time the album is more versatile when it comes to song writers. While Antti has written most of the songs earlier this time Pekka did three songs both Timo and Velski wrote one. At the end they are all having the very same edge as Kalmah song usually has but offering new boundaries for Kalmah music itself. As said before we like the songs and if someone else likes them too that is just a bonus. Now we also have pretty much used all of our earliest demo material on the albums. For your interest I can tell that Taken Before Given is a re-versioned song from the very first demo of Ancestor from 1991.
Drums and bass were recorded at D-studio by Juho Räihä. Guitars, keys and vocals were recored at Tico-Tico -studios by Ahti Kortelainen. Digital all-the-same-shit sounds were not an option and as we used of course real amps with all the white noise. For mixing and mastering we decided this time to use the Finnish power as we used to do back in the beginning. Mikko Karmila did the mixing as he did for Swampsong (2003). Mastering took place at Finnvox -studios by Mika Jussila.