Crimfall
As the Path Unfolds

Hot on the heels on Century Media’s Kivimetsan Druidi, come another female fronted, dirt, fur and paint covered folk metal band infusing classical/orchestral elements into the tried and true Finnish take on folk/pagan/Viking metal as plied by the likes of Ensiferum, Turisas and such.

The results are largely successful, mostly due to Helena Haaparanta who has an excellent range to complement the black screams of guitarist Jakke Viitala. Having served in a couple of split up unsigned Goth metal acts (Tacere and Dewain), Haaparanta has found her niche in Crimfall. Where Kivimetsan Druidi’s Leeni-Maria Hovila was a bit too operatic and dry, Haaparanta has the ability to deliver the expected angelic soprano croons, without overdoing it but has a lush, sylph like quality that benefits the folkish structures.

And those structures do a solid job of being varied and entertaining from the epic, bombastic chorus of the opening standout “The Crown of Treason”, to the ethnic chants and blast beats of “Wildfire Season”, the chorus of the otherwise surprisingly stout “Where Waning Winds Lead”, to the arabesque “Sun Orphaned” and epic closer (not including the acoustic outro “Novembre”) “Hundred Shores Distant”, Crimfall are able to keep the album within the realms of the expected high energy Finnish folk bounce and jig, but also add plenty of shifts that include m,ore romantic orchestral and classical synths that could also appeal to Nightwish fans, especially “Shadow Hearth” and ballad “Aubade”. Of course it’s all wrapped in a lavish production that focuses on the synths and Haaparanta’s vocals, but the guitars still retain plenty of polished bite. Also of note is that session bassist Henri Sorvali of Finntroll and Moonsorrow appears on this recording, certainly lending some credibility and FInnish folk clout to the band’s debut.

On the minor downside, this still may still be a bit too sugary for hardened Viking/folk fans expecting more Thyrfing, Fintroll or Falchion than Nightwish and Viitala’s vocals are a bit too hawkish and monotone, but overall a very competent and enjoyable foray into Finnish folk metal, that seems to have a little more promise and lasting power than Kivimetsan Druidi’s, Shadowheart debut, which only kept my interests for its first half.  

It looks like Finland has yet another Folk metal winner rising up in the ranks.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 5th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Belgarath

    I just checked this out. Really enjoying it, though maybe a bit too polished. Great review.


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