Rating:
7.2
Falconer - Black Moon Rising
6 June 2014


01. Locust Swarm
02. Halls And Chambers
03. Black Moon Rising
04. Scoundrel And The Squire
05. Wasteland
06. In Ruins
07. At The Jester's Ball
08. There's A Crow On The Barrow
09. Dawning Of A Sombre Age
10. Age Of Runes
11. The Priory


Black Moon Rising is a surprising turn after Falconer's previous album. Very much in the spirit of their self-titled debut effort, this release signals for galloping power metal over the folk preferences the band have shown us at varied stages over the course of their consistent career.

The intent is clear here, and Falconer's drive is forcefully direct. This time an eager rhythm section holds pride of place over frequency of folk excursions, and it becomes obvious that the focus on Black Moon Rising is in power over the usual role of characteristically varied instrumentation. Tracks like "Wasteland" are barren as far as the extent of folk influence goes, the band opting for balder and upfront guitar work. No sense of identity is lost or sacrificed as a result, it simply instils a lot more energy in their song writing. Yet where there is energy there is a distinct lack of variety and the band's usual dual folk and power approach becomes heavily geared toward the latter, to the detriment of the sound overall.

Vocalist Mathias Blad essentially upholds the folk presence to this album, thankfully his performance adding unique character as always. However, within the mix he sounds oddly distant and held at bay by the guitars, still managing to perpetuate their sound but to a lesser role. The dominating guitars also bear the Falconer flavour, and the riffs remain identifiably their own, but it all suffers from a lack of diversity. Much of the activity comes in the drumming and upholding of consistent rhythms, which betrays a formulaic design that attempts but falls short of achieving what efforts like their debut managed so ably. There are no real gems such as "Mindtraveller" to be found here, only a rigid fixation on the forward force of the propulsive riffs, which are a fundamental characteristic of course and are in themselves competently written by the band's standards, being dynamic enough to spur the album onward at its varied yet typically rapid pacing. Melodies don't have the desired hold or distinctiveness to stand out from the album as a whole, tracks like "There's A Crow On The Barrow" punching out the Falconer style at high tempo with plenty of energy, but unfortunately little else.

Such a redirection after preceding albums make this effort a rather "bare-bones" attempt to reinvigorate Falconer's sound, and replicate the power witnessed in their debut. It's successful in this exercise, albeit lacking in the usual folk flavour that fans have come to expect.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Band profile: Falconer
Album: Black Moon Rising


 



Written on 09.06.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››



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Mattybu - 09.06.2014 at 18:27  
The mix did sound a little off from what I listened to as well. I'm glad they followed through with what they said before releasing the album though, regarding returning to the old style. Too many bands just say a bunch of nonsense and don't deliver.
Teravolt_Danny - 10.06.2014 at 03:30  
Hmm, not sure how this gets a 6 for originality. Falconer has a very distinct and unique sound to them, even on this album. Nobody else sounds quite like them.

Side note: I am not a big Falconer fan, so I'm not disagreeing with the 6 for any sort of biased reason.
R'Vannith - 10.06.2014 at 15:33  
Written by Teravolt_Danny on 10.06.2014 at 03:30

Hmm, not sure how this gets a 6 for originality. Falconer has a very distinct and unique sound to them, even on this album. Nobody else sounds quite like them.

Side note: I am not a big Falconer fan, so I'm not disagreeing with the 6 for any sort of biased reason.


It doesn't present their sound in a way that adds much to their repertoire. Despite the intention behind this one it's a bit "by the numbers" for them, if you like.
BloodTears - 10.06.2014 at 21:09  
Judging by your review, it should be another solid album. I liked what I've heard so far.
Teravolt_Danny - 11.06.2014 at 04:52  
I will say this... while I enjoy how unique the singer's voice is, there are some songs by these guys where he sounds REALLY out of place.
Necrodamus - 11.06.2014 at 20:09  
Agreed about the lack of diversity. Your review is spot-on. This album to me sounds like Northwind, one or two outstanding tracks, while most of the album being forgettable and/or sounding too much the same. Maybe it will grow on me though.
Edit: It definitely has grown on me, and I'd actually put it in my top 3 Falconer albums. Weinerhalls riffs are some of the best there is, and Blad's performance here is spectacular. I just hope I can see them live at some point...

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