Crimfall
Amain

It’s been 8 years since I reviewed Crimfall’s  debut As The Path Unfolds, a solid entry into the Finnish folk/pagan/epic/melodic/Viking genre along sides stalwarts Ensiferum, Brymir and Turisas. They released a second album, The Writ of Sword back in 2011, but I never heard it so I can’t tell how they have developed since then.

What I can tell you, is that the band is still epic as hell, and as with the debut, the star of the show is female vocalist Helena Haaparanta  who along with the rasps of Mikko Häkkinen, provides some glorious vocal moments to the proceedings, which are already pretty epic due to founder Jakke Viitala’s ample and rousing orchestration and choirs.

As with a recent discovery of mine Atlas Pain, there is a heavy power metal feel to the material, and with Haaparanta’s voice and the choirs, the likes of Epica often come to mind here and there, with a Gothic vibe to the epic power/blackish metal. But what stands out is the sheer grandiosity of the songs as Crimfall certainly know their way around an epic number.

After Intro “Eschaton” the album’s first single and standout “The Last of Stands” delivers one of my very favorite songs of the year. Much like “The Crown of Treason” opened As the Path Unfolds,  and has stayed in heavy rotation, this track looks to do the same with a sheer guilty pleasure level of cheese that the likes of Pathfinder or Twilight Force might deliver, but with just that added level of blackened extremity amid the  bombastic, over the top theatrics.

I just wish the rest of the album just matched the brilliance of the opener. It’s all pretty good, and certainly epic, with the focal point being the 4 part “Ten Winters Apart”  which seems intent to tell a story rather than deliver great songs. It’s a shame because after such a goddamn rousing start, the more ballad paced duo of  “Ten Winters Apart, Pt. 1: Far from Any Fate” and “Pt. 2: Song of Mourn” kind of brings the exciting album opening to screeching halt. “Pt. 3: Sunder the Seventh Seal”, sort of gets back on track, but the moment is a little lost.

It’s not until penultimate “Wayward Verities” that the moment is back with a another rousing brilliant, epic folk/celtic romp, but to be honest I’m still kind of recovering from the proceeding track. You see, Crimfall placed a cover song awkwardly in the album, not tacked on the end, and it’s a cover of “It’s a Long Road” by Dan Hill, and famously reworked by Jerry Goldsmith and used in Sylvester Stallone’s First Blood movie. Yep. that song. Complete with orchestration and choirs.

By the time the rangy, slow burning 8 minute closer “Until Falls the Rain”, I’m still thinking about the cover song, deciding if I like it or hate it, and frankly all I want to do is listen to “The Last of Stands” again, and that might be the only song I come back to regularly. It’s that good. I just wish the rest of the album followed suit.

 

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Written by E. Thomas
September 21st, 2017

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