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Flying On The Wings Of Serenity - 96%

Crimsonblood, March 15th, 2003

Stefan Weinerhall of course started Falconer after his Mithotyn project folded. Even though the bands are somewhat at supposed opposite ends of the metal spectrum i.e. Mithotyn played Viking Metal and Falconer play Power Metal, the bands do have a lot in common, at least from a musical stand point.

This s/t debut from Falconer is an excellent slab of Power Metal that sounds different. There are two reasons for this: one is the vocals of Mattias Blad, and the other is the riff style of Weinerhall. Blad probably has the most unique vocal style in Power Metal. He is a classically trained singer and the result is a singing style and voice that nobody even comes close to. To some it might be a turn off, but to me he just adds an incredible amount of originality, character, and emotion to the band; though perhaps there are certain vocal lines that could be delivered more forcefully (would be corrected on their second release). Weinerhall’s guitars are somewhat of a hold over from Mithotyn, but instead of Black Metal roots being at the fore front at times, there are Speed Metal roots instead. If you’re familiar with the folkish style in Mithotyn, you’re on the right track as to what you can expect. It’s really one of those situations where description wouldn’t do it justice, however, if you can picture a Power Metal version of early In Flame leads or Gates Of Ishtar leads, then it’s another starting point at least.

There are essentially three different styles of songs on here. You got the straight-ahead, very fast songs that follow somewhat typical song progression, which usually includes an unexpected and interesting break near the end; “Wings Of Serenity” is the best example. Other songs like this include “Royal Galley” which has an excellent sing-a-long chorus, and “Upon The Grave Of Guilt”, which kicks off the CD with some great galloping riffage. Another style present is a more progressive style that has more breaks, more change ups, and just overall a more sophisticated structure. Both “Mindtraveller” and “Substitutional World” work very well in this regard and are two definite highlights of the CD. Lastly is the mid-paced, more laid back song: “Quest For The Crown”, while still being heavy is quite unlike the speedy tracks and contains another great chorus; likewise “Entering Eternity” is the song closest to a ballad on here. No, it’s not a ballad, but it is the slowest song on this release and focuses more on vocals, however, it does speed up during an excellent build up section near the end.

Production wise the band isn’t quite crystal clear. The guitars have a certain dirty quality, sort of like Mithotyn. In my opinion this works in Falconer’s favor as it further separates them from other Power Metal bands. Overall everything is mixed well, including the bass, which does a nice rhythm job to compliment the guitars. The drumming is especially impressive for the genre. The double bass and snare speed is usually not heard this fast in other Power Metal bands and the fills are all over the place. Yeah, there are better drummers out there, but as far as Power Metal goes the performance on here from a shear speed standpoint is top notch. Also, the keys only play a very minor role in the music. They only show up, noticeably, in a couple of songs and they are more there for just some background atmosphere, so if you’re one of those keyboard hating people don’t fret, the guitars always come first.

I’ve been listening to this CD on and off since it came out and it remains one of my favorite Power Metal releases. It’s just one of those CDs that is extremely enjoyable to listen to and it makes for an experience that another band can’t give due to the guitar style and vocals. Yes, I’ll admit, the lyrics can be a tad cheesy, but they don’t detract from the quality of the music. Power Metal fans, check Falconer out, you might be surprised.

Song Highlights: Everything is solid, though Lord Of The Blacksmiths is probably the weakest track.