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Better than it lets on...shame on me - 85%

doomknocker, June 20th, 2011

Music with temerity and heart is hard to come by in these days of drive-thru trends and genres. No amount of AutoTune or studio gimmicks can produce a sensation of playing music for the fun of it, and all this youth-based, post-2005 nonsense possesses nothing within the hopes of Roadrunner-borne careers. And it’s with that in mind that we old timey, CD buying, patches-on-denim wearing REAL music folks should pay tribute to every god under the sun for styles like power metal, where even the second-tier wannabes put more in their performance and composition than your average Joe Emocore could ever hope to achieve.

I’d been ticking back and forth within the power metal world for the past few months, reminded of the style’s ability to awaken my own personal creative juices, and such an endeavor brought me to Falconer’s latest. So let’s see what they’re up to…

Now granted, I’d only known Falconer through word of mouth and a few milquetoast reviews, but I figured the time would come for me to see if they were as bad as they were made out to be. Plus, the seeming combination of power and folk metal seemed a little too appealing to pass up on. And while the end result of this crossbreeding isn’t as head-caving as I’m sure the band would like, it nevertheless got under my skin and kept my attention focused throughout each successive track. The folk melodies this time around seem more at the forefront, helpfully giving the album a naturalist feel on par with much of Vintersorg’s early work, just with MUCH better production. Said production is very clean and crisp, giving every instrument enough elbow room to be as effective as possible to send those tingling melodies and powerful riffs aflutter from speaker to speaker.

However, there isn’t really a sensation of raising one’s fist in cheesy triumph; this is power metal demanding to be taken seriously, quickly shifting from extreme guitars, potent harmonic leads and raging drums to soft, mesmerizing strings, stirring singing and straight-from-the-woods acoustic melodies, projecting a grand combination of serenity and ripping darkness. This works quite well when the band is on, and while doing so happens more often than not, there are moments where Falconer can’t help but sound a little confused and cluttered, as if they almost threw in a few extra impromptu moments in that don’t really fit the overall arrangements. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often, though when it does, I can’t help but take notice and mark a few points off my personal scorecard, but even then, the strong harmonies and immense songwriting heard on “Griftefrid”, “Vid Rosornas Grav” and “Fru Silfver” make up for what few shortcomings are present.

So in the end, I’m sorry I hadn’t gotten into the Falconer way of life sooner as their fusion of folk and power make for a nice, tasty combo meal. But then, musical preferences change and evolve over time, and I suppose that back many a year I wouldn’t’ve been mentally and emotionally able to partake in and enjoy their works. But better late than never, so horns up.