Despite my love of power metal, Falconer was a band I never really paid attention to. Perhaps it was the folk influences in their music or the colour schemes on their artwork that never quite drew me in, but this is a band I’ve avoided for far too long with no real reason. That changed recently, as I picked up both the band’s debut and their newest album, “Black Moon Rising”. One thing is for sure, Falconer in 2014 is definitely a band you should not pass over. The aforementioned folk influence is overstated (or perhaps it was more prevalent on prior releases). There are definitely folk elements here, but they are not overwhelming, and are only present to differentiate Falconer from their peers.
The make or break aspect of this album for the listener is going to be the vocals of Mathias Blad. The word epic doesn’t really even begin to define his sound. A more appropriate term would be majestic. He has incredible control over his voice, and while he occasionally demonstrates the ability to push his singing to the limits, he instead spends most of his time in a much calmer voice. This is often in contrast to the music underneath him, which can be incredibly intense at times, as well as more rocking at others. A great example of this is the opener, “Locust Swarm”; Blad casually sings along while the band charges with full force. The band also perfectly executes a tamer section where the drumming takes control with a four-on-the-floor-like disco beat that makes tremendous use of the hi-hats.
Falconer manages to blend these two sounds together successfully often. At the band’s most extreme, they incorporate blast beats and are incredibly heavy (see the intro to “Wasteland”). The title track is also in this vein, as it is filled with double bass and tremolo picking. Then on the other end of the spectrum, they deliver choruses like the one in “Halls and Chambers” that are so grand that they truly sound like they were written for royalty. The album never falters in delivering these sounds, though it does slow down a bit at the end. The last 3 tracks are the weakest, but only because the first 8 songs are so exceptional.
Though my knowledge of the band’s entire discography is certainly lacking, my limited exposure to the band has shown that Falconer is truly a unique element. Their vocalist is unlike any other in metal, and the rest of the band knows how to mold their sound to take full advantage of this asset. “Black Moon Rising” is an incredible introduction to Falconer, and this album alone has convinced me to start collecting the rest of the band’s albums.
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"Halls and Chambers"
"Black Moon Rising"
"At The Jester's Ball"
4.5/5 or 90%.
Written by Scott