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An album of B-sides? - 64%

Metal_Grail, June 11th, 2011

Is there anyone out there who would call Falconer their favourite band? I’ve wondered about that for a while. I myself own all their stuff and have followed their trek from heavy power folk, to heavy power non-folk – and back again. But none of it has convinced me that anyone will ever claim this band is top of the heap stuff.

What’s really strange about all that is the fact that band mastermind Stefan Weinerhall can write a vicious hook alright. The first couple of albums are utter classics. And there’s absolutely no way Falconer are the type of band you’d label under the “I like their early stuff only” category. I say that because despite the change in lead vocalists, and on-again, off-again folk meanderings – the band really hasn’t changed all that much.

Now all of this explains why I chose this album to review out of all the Falconer albums. The reason is that I think there are basically two kinds of Falconer songs (on both this album – or any other for that matter). But it was on this album that I finally noticed it. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Falconer songs are made up either a killer riff or a killer chorus. It’s rare you get both. Now stop and think about that for a moment. A great little riff grabs your attention, but a great chorus is the shiver up and down the spine stuff. Well, ‘Grime vs Grandeur’ is attention grabbing alright, but man oh man do the shivers go begging.

“Emotional Skies” is exactly what I’m talking about. At about twenty seconds in you’re probably wondering what the band was thinking when they ripped off this clichéd power metal riff arrangement. But then it hits you – a chorus that says raise your fist and cry metal people. It works. So does the riff firepower driven onslaught that is “Humanity Overdose”. But unfortunately everything else only ever gets as far as threatening to work.

In between you get a never-ending parade of riffs which someone walking past must have said “hey that rocks man!”. And instead of writing a real song – Weinerhall (who writes almost everything) decided to just stick some words on it and have the chorus either sung faster (i.e. “The Assailant” or “Power”) or with layered vocals (“Purgatory Time” or “I Refuse”) and call it a chorus. No dice guys.

By the way, I like Weinerhall. He’s a dude with a vision. Even if his lyrics can get pretty dead end – and his song titles can seem strange – he’s still his own man. On this occasion though, it’s all about the riffs. He hopped on a freight train but missed every station after that. You’ll probably love this album if you’re into straight up, US or NWOBHM. As for me, I’ve always thought catchy and chorus are the same word. So do Falconer most of the time. But not this time.