Here is a band that seems to grow with each release but somehow they fly under the radar just about everywhere but their native Finland and of all places Canada where they also have a huge following. It is hard for me to think of a reason why they are not one of the top bands everywhere as they produce a brutal yet melodic form of death metal with some very cool elements of thrash thrown in. There is also a hint of the folk metal that is so prevalent in Scandinavia. When you combine all of these elements the results are a disc that is better than most of the stuff that crosses my desk and something that I plan on revisiting many times.
Lead singer and guitarist Pekka Kokko is the main force behind the band and his death metal screams and growls are an integral part of the Kalmah sound. He is not alone though by a long shot. Brother Antti Kokko provides some stunning lead guitar work throughout this disc and also helps to mold this group into the powerhouse they are quickly becoming a favorite. Antti's ability to add that melodic touch against a brutal backdrop is one of the factors that set this band apart. Just listen to how he lays down a magnificent melody as on the title track "12 Gauge" while there is a full out metal assault going on around him.
Another aspect to the band that allows them to expand into many areas that leave the pack in their wake is the keyboard work of Marco Sneck. As I listen to what he brings to songs like the album closer "Sacramentum" and how he transforms this one into an epic that combines their love of old school heavy metal with a style and flair that will remind you of Cradle of Filth it is little wonder that this disc has seen many a spin on both the CD player and even gets toted with me via MP3. I find myself returning to it time and time again as they have finally found the bullseye with this release. This one is a no brainer once again as they have come up with a unique sound that will keep you coming back for more, at least until the neck pain starts from all the headbanging!
1. Rust Never Sleeps
2. One of Fail
3. Bullets are Blind
5. Better not to Tell
6. Hook The Monster
8. 12 Gauge