Testimony indeed to the enduring nature of Power Metal comes in the form of Sweden’s FALCONER. Now on their sixth album ‘’Among Beggars And Thieves’’ captures all the vitals of a competent Metal release that will sit well with those familiar with the hey nonny nonny routines that FALCONER has ensconced themselves into.
Amazingly FALCONER has a niche all of their own in Metal land as there isn’t a band directly similar in sound. Sure we have the likes of FINNTROLL, ENSIFERUM and TURISAS but these bands take on a more acerbic, rabble rousing spin on the Power Folk Metal genre whereas FALCONER lend themselves to a more direct traditional Metal sound. They might incorporate a healthy dose of Folk and still the lyrical inspiration relies on Scandinavian myth and legend like so many of their peers. But FALCONER restrains any thoughts of over the top behaviour with a measured sound that neither offends nor ridicules.
For those unfamiliar FALCONER comes across as lonely minstrels seeking a great court to indulge all those that will listen. In parts the glory of IRON MAIDEN and HAMMERFALL, the muscle of MANOWAR, snippets of BLIND GUARDIAN and HELLOWEEN glistened over with the erudite personality of SAVATAGE. Basically something for all Metal heads.
And in ‘’Among Beggars And Thieves’’ FALCONER has recorded their best music since their excellent debut. There’s more bite, speed and heartiness in tracks such as the raucous opener ‘’Field Of Sorrow’’, the Euro Metal feel to the excellent ‘’Man Of The Hour’’ and the bustling riffing of ‘’Pale Light Of Silver Moon’’. ‘’Boiling Lead’’ could easily surpass ‘’Lord Of The Blacksmiths’’ as the bands anthem. However it’s on the Swedish sung tracks that FALCONER excel and it wouldn’t be too remiss of me to suggest that an entire record delivered in their native tongue wouldn’t be such a risky outing.
Once again Matthias Blad stands out from the crowd with a consummate vocal performance. His deep resonating voice does much to dictate the classic Power Metal sound of FALCONER.
Still a bit of an undiscovered gem FALCONER might remain a guilty secret for those that take their Metal too seriously for all others FALCONER could well be the best Power Metal band you’ve yet to discover.
(Online October 1, 2008)