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Review: Falconer - Falconer

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2001
Duration: 51:44
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: August 19, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4.18/5 (83.64%) (55 Votes)

This was Falconer's debut album from back in 2001, after the demise of Mithotyn, from whence came Stefan Weinerhall and his riff-wizardry. This was pretty well received at the time, but was largely dismissed as 'yet more Swedish Power Metal', as the boom was hitting there pretty hard at the time. But the truth is this is one of the very best metal albums of 2001, and deserves to be ranked among the very best.

I just don't see what is not to love here. Weinerhall is (or was) a riffmaster par excellence, and this CD bristles with hooks galore. There is not a song on here that doesn't have great riffs and memorable melodies. The guitar tone is thick and crunchy, and there are really no keys here, so I class this as just classic Heavy Metal rather than Power Metal. There are no castrati vocals, no keys, no happy-dragon lyrics, and not much double-bass drumming – what exactly is Power Metal about this? Falconer just crank out one killer tune after another. After opener "Upon The Grave Of Guilt", you get the absolutely stellar "Heresy In Disguise", then "Wings Of Serenity", "A Quest For The Crown", fuck, I could go on listing the whole tracklist as standouts. If I had to pick favorites they would be "Heresy In Disguise", "Royal Galley", and "Lord Of The Blacksmiths". But really there is not a tune here I would skip. This is an album I play all the way through every time, and that to me is the definition of solid.

Some people took exception to the vocals of Mathias Blad, now sadly departed back to the stage. I can't for the life of me see why. He has a smooth, stage-trained tenor that doesn't have the operatic punch of most metal singers, but replaces that with charisma, a folky, almost medieval tone, and a feel for vocal melodies unequalled by anyone except maybe Roy Khan or Urban Breed. His smooth, theatrical voice made Falconer instantly unique, to the point where I can't even listen to the post-Blad albums. To me, no one else is the voice of Falconer. It boggles my mind that people constantly complain about every Power Metal singer sounding alike, and yet when someone sounds different, as here, they whine that he sounds too different.

So I just want to go on record here as saying this is one of the best metal albums of the last five years or so, and a personal favorite to boot. If you want good, heavy melodic metal with a folky twist and a different vocal and lyrical approach than the usual 'swords and dragons' gruel, then you cannot go wrong with this album. Highly Recommended.

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