CRIMFALL
Folk Metal • Finland

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Crimfall is a young soul; it came to being on a wildfire season, autumn 2007 as a one mans vision. Jakke composed a demo of three songs just for himself but he soon noticed that the material was unique, diverse and strong to stand on its own feet in front of wider audiences. What was still needed was some talent to fulfill the forceful yet melancholic music he had composed, someone to bring the stories of songs to life with voice of both beauty and power. In the end Jakke decided to bring two people to finish his line-up, voices with contrast and variance, as Mikko and Helena joined the band. So was the first recording of Crimfall born, “Burning Winds”.

Napalm records immediately took interest on this group and signed the band. Fires of creativity burned strong and a studio was booked for summer. After furious songwriting that bled the
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AmainAmain
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Imports 2017
Audio CD$12.37
$13.31 (used)
Writ of SwordWrit of Sword
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.. Album Cover 4.17 | 5 ratings
As the Path Unfolds...
Folk Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
The Writ of Sword
Folk Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Amain
Folk Metal 2017

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.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Burning Winds
Folk Metal 2008

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CRIMFALL Amain

Album · 2017 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
DippoMagoo
There are many metal bands right now who can fluidly blend together elements of genres such as folk, symphonic and melodic death metal all in one package, so any band trying to pull off that kind of sound has their work cut out for them, trying to find a way to stand out. One band, I tried a few years ago but wasn’t overly impressed by, was Finnish band Crimfall. I barely remember anything about their second release, The Writ of Sword, except that I thought it had some good moments but wasn’t too enjoyable overall, so a new release for them wasn’t exactly on my radar. But now they’re back with their third full-length release, Amain, and I have to say, this time around they have definitely impressed me!

The band released their first two albums with two different labels, and have again changed labels this time, being picked up by Metal Blade, who of course also have Ensiferum in their lineup. I mention this, because the two bands definitely have some stylistic similarities, with both blending elements of folk, symphonic metal, and melodic death metal, using varying amounts of all those elements throughout their songs, and also mixing in varying amounts of harsh vocals, clean vocals, and choirs. However, the biggest difference between Crimfall and any similar band is that while they certainly do have their epic moments, at least on Amain I find their music to be a bit more complex at times, as many tracks on this release are a lot calmer and take more time to build up than one would expect from this style of music. Obviously, there are some huge instant winners like the two singles “The Last of Stands” and “Mother of Unbelievers”, where the music goes full out epic, with some explosive guitar work, epic orchestras, and some folk elements, but there are many extended quieter sections on this album, and many tracks take a few listens to fully click.

Vocally, the band offers the kind of approach one would expect from this mix of genres. Which is to say, there are the expected harsh vocals, which are done very well by Mikko Häkkinen, who has a very powerful voice that would work perfectly on a pure Melo-death album, as well as some epic choir vocals during choruses. And of course there are the clean vocals, which are handled by Helena Haaparanta, who mostly stays in a lower register, and has a very powerful voice that works great on the louder, more epic passages, but she also excels during the many softer sections, as her voice is very smooth and very beautiful at times. There are also some clean male vocals, most notably on “It’s a Long Road”. I’m not sure who does them, but they’re very good, slightly animated and pretty emotional, really adding to the feel of that particular track.

Moving on to songwriting, the album gets off to an excellent start. After a brief intro track, which has some voice overs, listeners are treated to the explosive opening track “The Last of Stands”, which opens up with a brief folk infused section where Helena delivers some beautiful vocals before the guitars kick in and we get our first taste of the epic growls. From there the track picks up the pace, leading to a section with epic vocals from Helena and then eventually a stunning chorus, sung by choirs. This is a very fast paced and explosive track which has some of the best guitar work on the album, and certainly gives listeners a taste of the band’s cinematic style, while also being possibly the most instantly enjoyable track on the album.

After that, the album takes a surprising turn, as we get the four part epic “Ten Winters Apart”, which feels like one song split into four tracks. Obviously, these tracks all flow into each other perfectly, and together they form a narrative, with the occasional use of voiceovers, though I find they add to the experience and aren’t distracting. Overall, the first two tracks are mostly fairly calm for the most part, with the occasional explosive growl section, but it’s mostly Helena dominating the vocal passages, especially on Pt. 2, where it turns into a ballad. Pt. 3 is the darkest, most explosive track, and has an exciting folk passage near the end, while Pt. 4 is probably the most upbeat track. On the whole, it’s a great sequence, though it does feel a bit odd to place it so early on the album, especially coming off such an explosive opening track.

Next is another standout in “Mother of Unbelievers”, which opens up with an extended folk passage, before giving way to the heaviest guitar riffs on the album, and the opening verse is very intense, with some powerful growls from Mikko, though the highlight of the track is the chorus, where Helena delivers some very epic and powerful vocals, probably her best work on the entire album. After that is another calmer track in “It’s a Long Road”, which starts off as a ballad, with some pretty solid clean male vocals early on, and going into the chorus, but the track builds up tension as it goes along, with growls kicking in around halfway through, and from there the track gets heavier and becomes pretty epic as it goes along. This track took a few listens to click for me, but once it did it ended up being one of my favorites. The following track “Wayward Verities” is probably the most folk infused track on the album, starting off with some epic group chants, before the growls kick in and then as the track gets heavier it certainly reminds me a lot of some Ensiferum tracks, though Helena’s vocals help it to stand out, and she does a great job as always. It’s definitely a fun, catchy song and one of the more instantly entertaining tracks on the album. Lastly, we have “Until Falls the Rain”, the longest individual track on the album. This track is mostly fairly calm and has some great melodies, as well as some excellent vocals, but I find musically there isn’t much to it and there aren’t really enough memorable moments to justify the near 8-minute running time. The epic vocals and voice overs help, but overall I find it to be the weakest track on the album.

Overall, Amain is an excellent release, which has a nice blend of folk, symphonic and melodic death metal elements, as well as a nice mix of heavier, more immediately satisfying tracks, and some calmer, slower building tracks. The closing track doesn’t do much for me, but everything else is excellent, and it’s an album I can easily recommend to fans of any of the genres I mentioned, as well as obviously fans of the band’s prior releases. Hopefully, Crimfall takes less time to release a fourth album and hopefully they can build on this release and produce something even better in the future.

Originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2017/08/26/crimfall-amain-review/

CRIMFALL The Writ of Sword

Album · 2011 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
Metal and bones...

Genre: symphonic folk metal

It's big. It's epic. It's dark. It's heroic. It's Crimfall. "The Writ of Sword" is one of those albums that are so rich in detail that it takes some time to really be able to appreciate it.

The band combines folk metal with symphonic metal, which means that you will encounter both symphonic orchestration and folk instrumentation throughout the album, and there is also an emphasis on folk melodies, which are performed sometimes on guitars, sometimes on folk instruments and sometimes vocally (I really like those passages where the folk melodies are sung).

In terms of metal, Crimfall draw on power metal and melodic death metal and spice it up with elements from power metal and melodic black metal, and thus this album contains both galloping guitars, groovy riffs and blastbeats. In terms of vocals, you will heard both harsh male vocals and clean, as well as rock-ish, female vocals. Now this is not exactly and original approach, but it works; especially the female vocals are pretty awesome at times.

If you like your metal big and epic, then you should not hesitate to buys this album.

CRIMFALL The Writ of Sword

Album · 2011 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
The Writ of Sword is the second full-length album from Finnish folk metal band Crimfall. It was released in 2011 and is the first album from Crimfall as a full band, as their debut, 2009’s As the Path Unfolds... featured only three regular members. The music of Crimfall is best described as symphonic folk metal as there is some emphasis on orchestration throughout the album, but not to the point that it is dominated by it and the folk melodies remain at the fore of the sound, along with some decent and often pretty aggressive metal elements. Sometimes some elements of other metal genres creep into their music as well, such as progressive and power influences, but these take a backseat and are only heard on rare occasion during the album and could easily be missed if your attention was to wander.

But on that note The Writ of Sword doesn’t strike me as an album that should be allowing your attention to wander, particularly if you’re an established folk metal fan. What the album does strike me as is an exceptional one at once and it gets better with subsequent listens as you learn where the really epic moments are and can psyche yourself up in order to be ready for them. It’s also a petty varied album all things considered, with plenty of fresh ideas cropping up from this band who clearly aren’t afraid of a bit of experimentation and there’s a nice mix of heavier and lighter sections in the songs.

Vocal wise Crimfall uses the tried and tested formula of alternating growls and female vocals, curtsey of Mikko Häkkinen and Helena Haaparanta respectively. Both are good at what they do and the band finds the right sort of balance vocal wise for The Writ of Sword to work to best effect – there’s never a section in the album where I wish they’d allocated a vocal section to the other vocalist. There are also several guests vocalists appearing on the album, including Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll) and Mathias Nygård (Turisas).

My only real complaint about the album is that although it is of an average length at about forty-five minutes, it could well do with being a bit longer because by the time you reach its end it feels like it should be continuing into even more epic folk metal. It certainly leaves me begging for more upon its conclusion. Depending on your point of view I guess that could be seen as a good or a bad thing. On one hand I feel that the end comes too soon, on the other the replay value for The Writ of Sword is very high. But all in all I’m very impression by the album and I look forward to hearing more from Crimfall in the future.

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