FALCONER - Black Moon Rising

July 1, 2014, 2 months ago

(Metal Blade)

By Mark Gromen

Rating: 8.0

review falconer

FALCONER - Black Moon Rising With much fanfare, Falconer burst onto the scene with a pair of albums offering a mixture of folk and power metal, aided by theatrical/Broadway-style singer Mathias Blad. However, his 3+ year departure, then the band's sudden interest in Swedish-only lyrics (including the entirety of Armod CD) eroded some of the luster. Since their turn of the millennium eponymous debut, the whole viking/folk/pagan sub-genre has blossomed, thus founder / guitarist Stefan Weinerhall wishes to distance himself from the also-rans. The overt folk elements have been greatly curtailed within the eleven latest. Galloping out of the gate like Churchill Downs on Derby day, “Locust Swarm” buzzes, but with a heavier, double bass drum bottom end. From the short (3:01), minstrel introduced “Scoundrel And The Squire” to aforementioned kick-off (5:36), the themes remain slices of Medieval life and in the case of Halls And Chambers”, with a bit of a cappella flavoring. The title cut is another fast-paced power metal anthem, plenty of spirited guitarwork, likewise “Wasteland” another punisher. There's a lilt to “At The Jester's Ball” missing elsewhere. "There's A Crow On The Barrow" sees the drum kit take a lot of physical abuse as it races towards its conclusion, while the aptly named “Dawning Of A Sombre Age” downshifts the tempo. “Age Of Runes” sees some echoing, backing vocals and wah wah guitar between the fleet-fingered riffing. A closing “The Priory” resurrects the sing-song musical delivery, the guitar churning out a beefed up jig. Overall, depends how you like your Falconer. Those wanting the heritage instrumentation/feel will be somewhat disappointed, while speed freak metalheads will find much to enjoy. Happy listening!

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