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Falconer - Black Moon Rising

Label: Metal Blade
Format: CD download
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8/ 10


With much fanfare, Falconer burst onto the scene with a pair of albums offering a mixture of folk and power metal, aided by theatrical/Broadway-style singer Mathias Blad. However, his 3+ year departure, then the band's sudden interest in Swedish-only lyrics (including the entirety of “Armod” CD) eroded some of the luster. Since their turn of the millennium eponymous debut, the whole viking/folk/pagan sub-genre has blossomed, thus founder / guitarist Stefan Weinerhall wishes to distance himself from the also-rans. The overt folk elements have been greatly curtailed within the eleven latest.

 

Galloping out of the gate like Churchill Downs on Derby day, ‘Locust Swarm’ buzzes, but with a heavier, double bass drum bottom end. From the short (3:01), minstrel introduced ‘Scoundrel And The Squire’ to aforementioned kick-off (5:36), the themes remain slices of Medieval life and in the case of ‘Halls And Chambers’, with a bit of a cappella flavoring. The title cut is another fast-paced power metal anthem, plenty of spirited guitar work, likewise ‘Wasteland’ another punisher. There's a lilt to ‘At The Jester's Ball’ missing elsewhere. ‘There's A Crow On The Barrow’ sees the drum kit take a lot of physical abuse as it races towards its conclusion, while the aptly named ‘Dawning Of A Sombre Age’ downshifts the tempo. ‘Age Of Runes’ sees some echoing, backing vocals and wah wah guitar between the fleet-fingered riffing. A closing ‘The Priory’ resurrects the sing-song musical delivery, the guitar churning out a beefed up jig. Overall, depends how you like your Falconer. Those wanting the heritage instrumentation/feel will be somewhat disappointed, while speed freak metalheads will find much to enjoy. Happy listening!

 
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