|Review: Falconer - Northwind|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2006
Genre: Folk Metal
Review online: September 4, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.52/5 (90.48%) (21 Votes)
At last, at last. I will say right here that I loved Falconer's first two albums so much it isn't even funny, so anyone who didn't like those should probably just skip this one. This is their fifth album, and after one so-so album and one crappy one, they are back on track with the awesome Northwind.
Of course, the big news is that original singer Mathias Blad is back in the band. Kristoffer Gobel was OK, but he just wasn't right for this band, and, well, no one could have saved Grime Vs Grandeur, so let's just forget about that. But for me (and for lots of other people apparently) Blad is just the voice of Falconer, and without him it isn't the same band at all. For this new album the band has also ditched the 'realistic' lyrics of their last effort and returned to the Medieval/Folklore themes that their fans wanted anyway. So: the folk riffs are back, Mathias Blad is back, the mythic lyrics are back. All good. From the first listen to the opener/title track I was all smiles, and I kept smiling. I suppose as a way of saying 'sorry' and trying to regain their momentum, Stefan and Co. have punched out a long, satisfying album of that signature Falconer sound highlighted by Blad's smooth, stage-trained voice.
This album is mostly more of a grower than their first two, with more involved melodies and less immediately addictive songs. This album is not as heavy as their first one – more melodic and less punchy. All the songs are of a consistent high quality, if not quiiite on a par with their best. There may not be any songs on here quite as good as "Heresy In Disguise" or "Decadence Of Dignity", but there are fourteen songs almost that good. I can't give this a perfect score, because I know this band can do even better than this, but for such a return to form I am prepared to cut them a lot of slack.
I thought Falconer had lost it, but this is more like it. With Blad back at the mike, they have made the album they should have recorded after Chapters From A Vale Forlorn. If we're lucky they might even rerecord Scepter Of Deception with the right singer, or better yet, make another album even better than this one. One of the years' best.
|Other related information on the site|
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Review: Chapters From A Vale Forlorn (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Falconer (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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