KALMANKANTAJA — Demonwoods (review)

KALMANKANTAJA — Demonwoods album cover Album · 2017 · Atmospheric Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Finland's Kalmankantaja may have only released their debut album Kuolonsäkeet in 2013 but the group, which currently consists of instrumentalist Grim666 and vocalist Tyrant, are, as of the release of Demonwoods (2017), already on their tenth studio album. Known up until this point as part of the depressive black metal scene, the band's last few albums, which include two albums released in 2016, Waldeinsamkeit and Tyhjyys, have also displayed atmospheric black metal elements. It's this territory that Demonwoods now finds the duo fully engaged in.

Demonwoods is just three tracks long, with the middle of those, Sorrow, serving more as an interlude between the other two, which are lengthy compositions at 15:18 for opener The Wanderer in Eternity and 17:16 for the closing title track. The total running time of the release is 35:32, which is a fairly average time for a black metal release, only made notable by most of it being taken up by just two tracks. The style of these tracks is fairly typical atmospheric black metal fare and overall the album does come across as perhaps a bit less interesting style-wise than the prior album Tyhjyys where Kalmankantaja had elements of both the atmospheric and the depressive black metal styles, as well as pure ambient music in its final track.

What Demonwoods is though is very engaging from start to finish, with a fairly well polished production job that allows every detail to be conveyed to its full potential. The two long tracks, rather than droning on and outstaying their welcome feature many shifts in style and mood. Some parts are soft, almost post-rocky and some parts are metal. Most of the vocal parts are traditionally growled with the odd cleanly sung section. Some of the music is driven by the guitars, while some has added synths. Gone from Kalmankantaja's sound though is anything that would remotely still tie them to depressive black metal. This is, overall, a fairly peaceful, pleasant atmospheric black metal experience despite the rather grim cover artwork the album carries and it's a pleasure to spend the thirty-five minutes just soaking it all up.
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