Crimfall – Amain (Metal Blade)

Wednesday, 16th August 2017
Rating: 8/10

With two albums (released by two different labels) under their belt, Crimfall have ventured to Metal Blade to release their third album, Amain. A full six years from their last release, 2011’s The Writ of Sword, it seems that there was clear emphasis on making sure that their all-important third release was as fleshed out and polished as it could be. The band seemed determined to leave an impact with Amain.

One of those bands where you could fling terms like folk metal or melodic death or symphonic and they might seem to work on some level, it doesn’t really encompass what the band is all about. With a cinematic scope in mind, Crimfall surge forward at most times – able to meld bombastic elements with a volatile fury (“Wayward Verities”) or dreamy melody (“Ten Winters Apart Part II: Song of Mourn”). That’s the beauty of it all really – Crimfall can operate with orchestral heaviness or melancholy, or any combination thereof. “The Last of Swords” captures this quite well – zipping from Helena Haaparanta’s emotive vocals atop some folky symphonics to more epic, guitar melodies with a combination of clean and harsh vocals. The surprising cover of Rambo’s “It’s a Long Road” also fits like a glove, easing in from gentle melodies to explosive melodeath-inspired riffing while staying true to the original track. Their ability to dabble in many areas gives them a freshness that is lacking in many symphonic or folk-ish groups. Given the spry and moving parts to the band’s music, Mikko Häkkinen and Haaparanta do a fantastic job of covering the bases, vocally. The pair avoid the usual ‘beauty and the beast’ faire, particularly with the wide breadth of emotions Haaparanta draws from depending on the moment.

Amain has some true cinematic scope, and it’s the wealth of emotions present from start to finish that will keep listeners captivated. More than the sum of its parts, Crimfall sit comfortably knowing that they can combine these elements from tried-and-true sources into something that still feels fresh and invigorating.

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