Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Falconer - Black Moon Rising

Falconer is one of my all time favorite bands, period. I'll get that out of the way in case you got some hint of bias in this review. Ever since I heard their brand of folk inspired power metal with the Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) vocals I was hooked. They made one fuck up in their career, they allowed vocalist Mathias Blad get away (briefly) and although those albums aren't horrible, it still wasn't the same. They came back to their senses and once Mr. Blad was back all was right with the world. Formed by guitarist Stefan Weinerhall out of the ashes of the viking metal band Mithotyn, a lot of what made that band was brought over to Falconer to create something really special.

Now the band comes with their eighth full length album, Black Moon Rising. This album is just incredible with massive riffs, amazing solos and incredible vocals. This band has lost nothing over the years and is one of those rare instances where a band, fifteen years into their career, can make an album that can stand up against their own classics. The album opener is a song everyone is familiar with since they released is a few months ago as an album teaser, "The Locust Swarm" is a beast of a song and the perfect opener for any metal album. The riffing is insane. There's even some blast beats and tremolo riffing in there as well. The chorus is catchy and melodic thanks to the amazing vocals. The melodies and choruses are what this band is known for and there's no shortage of those amazing choruses on this album. "Halls and Chambers," "In Ruins," and  "At The Jester's Ball," are just a few examples of how infectious the melodies and choruses are. Then we have the solos in this album, which seems to be the best of any previous Falconer album. The title track has a solo that's just godly.

The folk elements proudly show through like on "Scoundrel and the Squire." You can tell by the title that this song will be folk heavy. Then you have a song like "Wasteland" which is just riff after killer riff. It's fast and ballsy but melodic. Then there's "There's A Crow on the Barrow" which is just a Falconer classic with it's galloping tempo and duel lead riffing. This song could have been on either of the first two albums. What sets it apart, though, is the soloing which is miles beyond anything they've ever done. Then you have the heavy as fuck riff fest "Age of Runes" which is probably my favorite song on the album as it just slays from beginning to end. A mid paced song with serious riffs this could be one of the heaviest songs they've done. Midway through the song there's a really heavy riff and this melodic wah wah solo that just reeks of something like Grave Digger. What impresses me the most here is how they added a few new tricks in with their signature formula to create another dynamic to this already incredible band.

After fifteen years and eight albums some bands would just go down the safest route possible and put out a mediocre album to satisfy labels. fans, etc. Not Falconer. Instead they add even more elements into their sound to create an album that raises the bar for their contemporaries. Seriously, if you are a fan of heavy metal music at all, no matter what the genre, you need to give this a listen. This is one of the best power metal albums released in a long time and I can even see it appealing to those who don't always listen to this genre of metal.


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