Date: 21 April 2019
DNA Lunge, San Fransisco, USA
Last month, I had the very honorable privilege to attend Kalmah’s first ever North American tour titled Heroes to us. Although this review is a bit overdue, it’s also right on time with their release of a live filmed ditty in Montreal. Joined by Vreid and Empyrean Throne, this proved to be one of the most fun shows I’ve been too.
For starters, the DNA Lounge in SF is one of my favorite venues in the greater bay area. It is intimate, dual leveled with a full bar at each and a great sound to boot. It was a nice bonus to a highly anticipated event, not to mention great pizza from the same ownership next door.
Empyrean Throne opened the evening with some brutal, blackened death metal. As Californian natives, they knew exactly how to get the early crowd riled up. Never having heard them prior, their sound reminded something of Dimmu Borgir; full, fast, atmospheric and haunting, complemented by the many spikes in their battlewear. Can someone explain the cranial adornment? About midway through, as I was patiently waiting for my turn at the merch table, vocalist Andrew Knudsen scurried off stage to quickly return with a goblet of mysterious liquid. Naively without dodging, the crowd perceived it may be water, beer at best… But no, them folks in the front definitely got splattered with blood. Blood! I’m sold, thank you.
Vreid was sadly the least memorable for me but not through any fault of their own; just a bit tough to follow such theatrics but precede the headliner. Classy black metal, to nicely agree with the lineup, nonetheless.
Kalmah played a variety of old and new titles from their complete discography. A few that stood out were They Will Return, Swamphell, 12 Gauge and Black Waltz. Really though, every single track was rad including Take Me Away from Palo even if I’m biased towards the older stuff. The immense fun they had translated directly into how entertained the crowd was. There was honest and highly noticeable chemistry on stage, not to mention genuine excitement. For the extra touch, Kalmah graciously stayed long after the final number to meet and pose with each and every fan. Thanks again guys!
So, Kalmah set out to make America Swamp Again and did they succeed, you might wonder?
I’d say! The tour continues in Europe this week.