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Review originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas
For me, the allure of Falconer, one of the handful of power metal acts I can tolerate, was they were essentially a power metal continuation of Mithotyn, one of the best Viking metal acts of their time. However, after three well received albums, internal strife resulted in a new vocalist and the stylistically different Grime vs. Grandeur.
However, the ship righted for 2006s Northwind, with singer Mattias Blad back in the fold and a return to the frilly shirts and green tights style of power metal that made the band standout. Continuing and improving where Northwind left of, Among Beggars and Thieves is folk and slightly Viking influenced power metal led by Blad’s unassuming, calm voice. The guitars are the expected power metal romp and gallop with a very slight Mithotyn undercurrent (just check out the riffs in standout native tongue tracks “Vargaskall”, “Skula Skorpa, Skalk” and “Mountain Men”) and lots of folk tangents, female vocals and hair in the wind ballads.
It’s all never quite Rhapsody-like in its pomp and over the top majesty, but more early Elvenking, another band who mixed power metal with folk influences with great results. That being said, if you despise anything Renn Faire, SCA or LARP related, Falconer’s epic songs of heroes, forest, villains and other flute laden, medieval frivolities will no doubt have you fuming in your denim. However, for the rest of us, Falconer is simply perfectly adept at mixing soaring, upbeat, folk laced riffs, and a few hey-nonny-nonny, admittedly fairy metal, guilty pleasure moments that in truth share as much with the likes of Turisas and Ensiferm as well as their power metal brethren.
Tracks like the aforementioned standouts “Vargaskall”, “Skula Skorpa, Skalk” and “Mountain Men” as well as “Viddernas Man”, “Pale of Silver Moon” and “Boiling Led” provide plenty of rousing, solo filled, galloping, maypole jig moments while the likes of “Carnival of Lust”, “A Beggar Hero” and “Dreams and Pyres” provide plenty of lighter waving controlled, somber balladic moments.
In all, this is a classic high quality, Falconer album that will appease Falconer fans as well as power metal fans and provide an amply epic soundtrack to your next game of Dungeon and Dragons in your mom’s basement