Friday, December 10, 2010


Crimfall is folk metal band from Helsinki, Finland. Their music is very epic - can I emphasize that again? Very. Epic. Finland doesn't disappoint when it comes to folk metal, and Crimfall is no exception. Their music generally features melodies reminiscent of Finnish folk music and lyrics about vikings, but sometimes their music can even have an ethnic middle-eastern feel to it. Their dense keyboard orchestration and heavy guitars provide for a powerful sound, and the male and female vocalists provide for a nice contrast. Although the male/female singer lineup occurs quite frequently in metal, I feel like their male grunter/female operatic singer offset is exceptionally well done and stands out from the rest.
The official band consists of the two singers, a guitarist/keyboardist, drums and bass, while their session musicians on the album include violin, cello, and accordion. The guitarist also plays "other weird instruments," and I'm not entirely sure what that entails, but I do know it includes the jaw harp!
Crimfall is still a fairly new band - they only have one album out right now, As the Path Unfolds..., which was released in 2009. They have a new album coming out in March of 2011, and they posted a new song on their Myspace, "Frost Upon Their Graves." Check it out, it's a great song!
Their session violinist was Maija Arvaja, but they are actually going to have Olli, the violinist from Turisas, be a guest musician on their next album! So, I'm officially really excited for this new album, and I'll be writing about it when it comes out!

Recommended Songs: "Wildfire Season," "Ascension Pyre," "The Crown of Treason"

Official Site:

"Ascension Pyre" :

"Wildfire Season" :

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chthonic (erhu)

The first time I heard of Chthonic was when I saw them at Ozzfest in 2007. After seeing that they had an erhu (a Chinese 2-string violin), that they were from Taipei, Taiwan, and that they fought for human rights and Taiwanese independence from China, I have never forgotten them. They are a driven and impressive group - they were the first asian metal band ever to play at Ozzfest, they have been banned in parts of China for their political views, and they have also met with the Dalai Lama as a part of their human rights endeavors. Even though their music is more brutal than stuff I normally listen to, I am a sucker for bands with political motives, girl musicians, and ethnic instruments. It didn't hurt, too, that I am half-Taiwanese. They have very interesting corpse paint, which they call "ghost paint," (not pictured above) which actually corresponds to symbols and curses in Chinese mythology. They are a band which has a deep concept behind their musics, which is something I really appreciate.
They consider themselves an extreme metal band because their lyrics don't really fit into the black metal scene, but musically they have a very black metal sound. They utilize high screams, low grunts, fast tempos, eerie keyboard sounds and sometimes haunting choirs and female vocals. They even incorporate some thrash influences on their newest album, Mirror of Retribution. As far as lyrics go, they sing about oriental mythology of the underworld, ghost stories, tragedies, and the oppression and colonialism of Taiwan. (A word of warning, their lyrics can be very brutal)
Now, I don't know much about the erhu except that it's awesome. Chthonic used to have an erhu player named Su-Nung (pictured), but he left in 2009 and now the erhu is played by singer Freddy Lim. In their music, the erhu plays mournful melodies behind the heavy guitars and screaming, and sometimes plays traditional folk tunes.
While this is not a violin, I feel like the erhu melodies could be easily adapted on the violin. It's also a unique style of playing, and a good reference for metal violinists who are looking to add an asian feel to their music.

Recommended Songs: "Progeny of Rmdax Tasing," "Enthrone," "Blooming Blades," "49 Theurgy Chains," "Bloody Gaya Fulfilled"

Official Site:

"Progeny of Rmdax Tasing," great song! :

"Blooming Blades," listen @ 0:21 !! :