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Role Model Power/Folk - 90%

TimeEnd, February 7th, 2009

Here we are! The latest installment by the legendary folk/power band: Falconer! I'm sure I'm not the only one who’s been hanging out for this one after the mild disappointment of Northwind. Even though Northwind was still pretty damn good I felt that it lacked the thought and effort that the previous albums had.

This is the second release with their original singer Mathias Bald who reunited with the band in ’06 on the aforementioned album and it’s good to hear his voice again. There's not much that can be said about him other than he rules and sings in the same vein of the deep vocalists like Hansi, Piet and Jens Carlsson. But enough about Mathias, let’s discuss the music.

I’m happy to say that this album is a return to the bands roots, namely; the self titled debut and Chapters From a Vale Forlorn. These two albums being closer based on power metal than the next few, which i felt (while still killer!) were closer based on heavy metal. This release however, achieves the balance between the two genres perfectly. We’ve got the speed and melody of the first two albums and the heaviness of the later few. So basically the music is really on par with this one, its powerful, catchy, progressive and more folky and epic than ever.

Speaking of folky, we've got a few ballad tracks on here too where the vocals are all sung in Swedish. Personally i would say this is the album’s only downfall but that may just be because I'm not a huge fan of ballads,

There are some new elements in the album too, namely the introduction of metal opera/symphonic influence and also another guest vocalist who duals with Mathias on the last track. It’s great to see this sort of thing in the band because it really makes their music sound more dynamic and epic (think Rhapsody of Fire) and also shows that their are growing as band. The best thing about this is that it’s not over done so much that you would have to re-classify them because they exercise control and still keep it heavy.

All up, this is a another solid release from a solid band that really just cant seem to do no wrong. The music is brighter and folkier than ever with catchy guitar riffs and hooky melodies. The arrangements are well balanced, introducing new elements whilst still emphasizing the old. These guys really are the role models of their genre.

9/10.