Crimfall - As the path unfolds 3.5/5

Reviewed: 4-24-09





Tracklist:

1. Neothera awakening
2. The crown of treason
3. Wildfire season
4. Where waning winds lead
5. Sun orphaned
6. Ascension pyre
7. Shadow hearth
8. Non serviam
9. Aubade
10. Hundred shores distant
11. Novembre


Crimfall is a new band formed by just 3 members and since their debut 'As the path unfolds' was released through the popular Napalm Records, it's been heard by many metal fans throughout the world and reviews have been popping up regularly over the last few months. In addition, I've had more than just a few buddies mention to me how much they like or dislike the CD, and I finally got it into my listening rotation, to hear for myself.

I learned earlier in the year that one of Crimfall's members is the ex-Tacere vocalist Helena Haaparanta, and even though I didn't care for Tacere's 2007 debut 'Beautiful darkness' (which is all over the place as far as style, and the male vocals are horrendous), I was still eager to hear her in this new band. Thankfully, she sounds great, and her counterpart this time (Mikko Häkkinen), while of the raspy/black metal kind which isn't usually my thing, is strong for the type of vocalist he is.

What we get with this debut is an epic melding of folk/viking metal and symphonic/power metal, with both the female vocals and raspy male vocals sharing fairly equal roles. There are moments where the CD is fast, folky, and very much in line with what's heard with viking metal, while other parts are bouncy/bombastic and more typical of symphonic/power metal. There are also some orchestral instrumentals and they're what you'd normally hear from a professional film score. In a nutshell, 'As the path unfolds' offers up sides of a number of different styles/genres (or sub-genres).

The question is, does the blend of styles work? Well, I've heard comments that it doesn't and it's hard to settle into what the band's doing, and I've heard comments that it's brilliant and executed perfectly. I'm going to get straight to the point folks - my feelings sit right in the middle of these 2 extremely different opinions. There are times when I find this CD to be a powerful and amazing blend of styles with catchy and memorable musical and/or vocal segments, but there are also times when it's just not working (or "clicking") with me and I find myself needing more of an establishment.

So I'll end by personally calling this debut fairly strong and promising, but I think there's more work to do as far as balancing things out. That said, regardless of how I feel and the fact that the CD seems to be hit or miss amongst the metal world, if you're normally into any of the styles/genres mentioned, there's a chance you'll dig this, so I suggest doing what I did - hear for yourself.



CLINT




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