Crimfall - As The Path Unfolds... review
|Album:||As The Path Unfolds...|
|Release date:||February 2009|
01. Neothera Awakening
02. The Crown of Treason
03. Wildfire Season
04. Where Waning Winds Lead
05. Sun Orphaned
06. Ascension Pyre
07. Shadow Hearth
08. Non Serviam
10. Hundred Shores Distant
Finland's folk metal scene is probably the world's most fertile one, spawning more and more bands with each passing year. Korpiklaani and Finntroll are no longer an isolated oddity in the Finnish metallic landscape, and top charters like Ensiferum and Moonsorrow are there to prove my point. And here comes yet another Finnish combo that can successfully throw accordion and fiddle into an electric guitar thunderstorm: Crimfall. One might expect a taste of déjà-vu from a female-fronted symphonic folk band, when country mates Battlelore and Turisas have already experimented similar combinations, not to mention the legendary Nightwish, or the fact that Trollhorn himself is a session member. But even though this kind of metal has been done and done again, Crimfall's debut As the Path Unfolds… manages to stand out as one of 2009's greatest folk metal releases.
With their debut, Crimfall have not invented anything new. "Finnish Epic Folk metal" is nowhere near original-sounding, yet the album is very powerful and surprisingly good. The opening symphonic track "Neothera Awakening", which is almost as solid as The Lord of the Rings' soundtrack, guides you towards the intense "The Crown of Treason", a blackened power metal piece that sets the pace for most of the album. Epic orchestration and fast riffs merge with strong female vocals and teeth-grinding male shrieks to create a thick and dark atmosphere, somewhat enlightened by a traditional instrumentation that fortunately never falls into cheesy or wacky. The whole sound is like a dark and catchy cross between Nightwish and Moonsorrow.
Another notable song is "Ascension Pyre" with its introduction "Sun Orphaned" which transport you to the deserts of Middle-East. Even though it sounds out of place on a Finnish folk album, this probably the best track of this release, as it features some of the most technical metal elements and catchiest melodies.
More good songs of the release include "Shadow Hearth", the battle anthem "Non Serviam" and the touching "Aubade" which lets you enjoy Helena Haaparanta's versatile voice, ranging from Within Temptation's Sharon den Adel's sweetness to a more classic singing surprisingly reminiscent of… Céline Dion!
Crimfall's debut is indeed a varied album full of surprises. It manages to keep a darkness and power that could have easily been annihilated by an awkward use of symphonic or folk elements. However, Crimfall have made a great job of combining symphonic power metal and black folk metal to create if not something new then something epic and unforgettable.
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