FALCONER – CHAPTERS FROM A VALE FORLORN (METAL BLADE 2002)

REVIEW BY VILLE KRANNILA/2007

Falconer are a Swedish five-piece with five albums behind them and sixth to be released very soon. The self-titled debut was a great metal album with some folk influences where they already proved being very good at what they do. This, their second album, took them further down the road towards folk metal. At the time, the band consisted only of vocalist Matthias Blad, guitarist Stefan Weinerhall and drummer Karsten Larsson.

There are obvious comparisons with groups like Skyclad but IMO Falconer has the edge with great mixture of metal and folk and unique vocals by Matthias Blad. Blad sounds unlike your typical power metal singer, no high pitched screaming or growling. Basically just clean notes. At first, it might seem a bit strange but after giving it some time I started to like his approach. It certainly fits the music very well. Falconer have their own sound pretty much nailed down which to me always is a good thing, and gives them a solid ground to stand on. And given the steps they have taken since the beginning, I find myself already looking forward to the next one.

This record begins with a more typical power metal sounds but already by the second track, excellent ”Enter The Glade” the folk influences are clear and in front. My favourite track of all might be ”The Clarion Call” which is an adaptation from a traditional folk song. Falconer do a brilliant work here, and the song has a haunting melody guaranteed to remain in your head for days after listening.

Another song worth mentioning is ”Stand In Veneration,” which has some tasteful guitar melodies and is among my favourites as well. Catchy melodies and are present throughout the whole album and they have also paid extra attention to arrangements, which keeps it refreshing. Some songs reminded me of Ritchie Blackmore’s latest Blackmore’s Night project (with more metal spice of course) and some were in more traditional power metal vein. Great combination overall.

On a side-note this album (as their debut) is co-produced by King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque who also appears on one track. La Roque has worked on all their subsequent releases. Blad left the band after this album and for two next records he was replaced by Kristoffer Göbel, who was a fine singer but of course could not compete with Blad’s personal vocal style. As it was, the fans were thrilled when Blad returned to fold for 2006’s “Northwind.” Blad also works on theatre and musicals so the band will play fewer live shows in the future, none are planned for 2008.

While not as instantly heavy or ”in your face” as their debut, CFAVF remains a very, very good album!

4k

falconerforlorn

1. Decadence Of Dignity
2. Enter The Glade
3. Lament Of A Minstrel
4. For Life And Liberty
5. We Sold Our Homesteads
6. The Clarion Call
7. Portals Of Light
8. Stand In Veneration
9. Busted To The Floor

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About Ville Krannila