Falconer – “Black Moon Rising” (Metal Blade Records)
I’ve been a fan of Falconer’s eccentric style since hearing “Northwind” back in 2006. Mixing the folk and medieval melodies of ex Mithotyn guitarist Stefan Weinerhall with metal, most people are then sent into bewilderment at Mathias Blad’s theatrical vocals – that he actually sings in theater only adds to their confusion ha ha! Still, if you can get over that then Falconer are something else, having a cult following made all the more mystical by their few n far between live appearances often caused by Blad’s conflicting theatrical schedules. “Black Moon Rising” is Falconer’s 8th album and compared to its predecessor “Armod” which was a full on folk affair sung entirely in Swedish, this is quite the reverse now being in English and with a powerful guitar driven intensity that definitely shifts up the tempo of songs like the galloping ‘There’s A Crow On The Barrow’ and on the furious opener ‘Locust Swarm’ even has black metal like blast beats! Amidst this new found furor comes Blad’s vocals that sorta work in a fire n ice way – although I’m not exactly sure which is which lol – some might say they sound even more out’ve place on the more aggressive material of which this album has plenty of. Still, I tend to err towards Falconer’s prior softer approach in what I would consider to be their optimum sound rather then this new found fire (commendable as it is) and thankfully soulfully deep n passionate songs like ‘Scoundrel And The Squire’ and the epic ‘At The Jester’s Ball’ bring back all their medieval pageantry in all its glory, revitalizing my own fire for this true one of a kind band.