Crimfall: Down A Metal Path


Fans of the epic folk metal genre are sure to enjoy the adventurous musical interludes of the mighty Crimfall. Based out of the thriving metal mecca known as Finland, Crimfall has just unleashed a collection of tunes entitled As The Path Unfolds on Napalm Records. A sweeping work of magnificent proportions, we decided to contact Crimfall to find out more about the chosen metal journey. Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Crimfall, and how long the project has been in existence.
My name is Jakke Viitala, I’m the founder, composer and guitar player of Crimfall. One could say we are a pretty young soul, since our saga began in summer 2007 when we recorded the demo Burning Winds.

Is there any story or concept behind the CD title As The Path Unfolds?
Nope, but we chose carefully the order of the songs to have a flow which might remind of a concept album.

Where did you get the ideas for some of your lyrics?
I cannot take the credit for those, since our male singer Mikko is the man behind our lyrical content… so I will let him answer to this one.

“Ideas are born straight from the images and emotions weaved by the music. Inspiration flows from old times, mainly history of wars, religions and the absolute violence that binds them. Themes deal with the fallen side of man; loss, greed, hatred, pride and his relationship with sin, god and soul.”

What other bands or projects have you been involved with prior to Crimfall?
Before founding Crimfall I had only played in some unknown garage bands and my only so called appearance in a ”real” album happened with Moonsorrow’s choirs in Tulimyrsy EP.

Introduce the two vocalist Mikko Hakkinen and Helena Haaparanta and how they become involved with the project? What other bands have they been in? Has Helena had any professional vocal training?
Mikko got involved with Crimfall in pretty early state. He was actually the guy who told me to found a band of my own. And when I finally needed someone to do vocals and lyrics for the early Crimfall songs, he was the first one in my mind. I played the demos to him and he wanted to give it a shot. Before Crimfall, Mikko has done his brutal vocals at least for Twilight Ohpera, Draugnim and Thyestean Feast.

Helena joined us a bit later. As our songs diverse, our sound needed a singer with a thousand styles. I had not met Helena personally, but I remembered her awesome performance in her previous band Tacere. So I sent her a mail and asked, if she would like to do some small vocal parts in our demo. By having Helena in Crimfall we were able to have much more variety than with a clean male singer. Behind her voice is years of professional training. Everything from classical, to jazz and pop. And in fact, she is currently studying singing as her main subject.

Is Mikko still involved with Twilight Ophera and what have they have been up to? Would the two bands ever want to tour together?
They haven’t done much after their excellent album Descension, but I hope there will be some new material coming one day. Touring with them would be interesting, but as Mikko gives 110% on the stage, he would be sooooo exhausted after two shows in a row.

How did your show in Helsinki go in February and how exciting was it to finally play the music live with a full band?
Oh man! It was excellent! Playing in front of more than 200 people and watching them singing with us, was one of the best moments of my life. It was a big surprise to see that since our debut had been out only for two days. After the last note of the show, I finally felt that our album was finished… like loosing a huge weight from my shoulders.

How did you wind up being signed to Napalm Records?
The process went a pretty normal way. We made demo, sent it to various record labels and chose the best option. Then had a little negotiation about the details and singed the contract.

Cover artist Kris Verwimp has done a lot of work for many influential bands. How much input did you have on the cover art and what do you think of it overall?
The original idea about the colors and picture came from our side, but otherwise he had pretty free hands. The superb inside art was made without any instructions, but you can see the influence of Mikko’s lyrics there. I love the art work; the style, the colors, the mood… everything.! It is like our music captured in one frame.

Any chance of Crimfall coming over to the States to perform some shows or possibly a tour?
I really hope so! We are more than willing to come there. But, unfortunately, it is not in our hands.

Where are you from in Finland and are there any local bands that you could recommend from your area?
Originally I’m from Kuopio, located in the middle of Finland. The best known band from there is Tarot where Marco Hietala (Nightwish bassist/singer) is involved. Also Shade Empire is worth mentioning. Currently, we all are living around the capital city which is a home for most bands.

How odd is it to have an accordion on a metal album and was it difficult to record? What other unique instruments did you use during the recording process?
I don’t think it is that unique to have an accordion in folk-influenced bands. Recording that instrument was not that different from recording acoustic guitar, for example. In addition to those, we also had some violin, cello, bongos, pan flute and mouth harp in the album.

What exactly is a Crimfall?
The name Crimfall is based around two words Grim and fall. But as it does not look that unique when written like that, we gave it a little facelift by changing the first letter to C.

What did Henri Sorvali of Moonsorrow and Finntroll contribute to Crimfall and how did he become involved with the project? Is Henri still working with you?
Henri has been my personal friend before Crimfall even was found. So we pretty much have been sharing our songs to each other for some tips and ideas. That’s why he already knew my material before we started to record the album. Henri is also the most talented musician I have met… so why not use his skills with bass.

Since we have now the full time bass player Miska Sipiläinen with us, we don’t need Henri’s support anymore in the studio. He will still be giving those comments about the upcoming material. So in that sense he is still working with us.

Any messages for metal fans here in the Los Angeles area?
Have a great summer! And let’s hope we get enough fans from there to be able to visit you one day!

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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