FALCONER — Black Moon Rising

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FALCONER - Black Moon Rising cover
4.36 | 9 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2014

Filed under Power Metal
By FALCONER

Tracklist

1. Locust Swarm (5:36)
2. Halls and Chambers (5:01)
3. Black Moon Rising (5:10)
4. Scoundrel and the Squire (3:00)
5. Wasteland (5:12)
6. In Ruins (5:25)
7. At the Jester's Ball (4:20)
8. There's a Crow on the Barrow (4:05)
9. Dawning of a Sombre Age (3:39)
10. Age of Runes (5:32)
11. The Priory (3:59)

Total Time 50:59

Line-up/Musicians

- Mathias Blad / Vocals
- Stefan Weinerhall / Guitars
- Jimmy Hedlund / Guitars
- Magnus Linhardt / Bass
- Karsten Larsson / Drums

with
- Olof Berggren / lute, Harpsichord

About this release

Released by Metal Blade Records, June 6th, 2014.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and DippoMagoo for the updates

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FALCONER BLACK MOON RISING reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

adg211288
Black Moon Rising (2014) is the eighth full-length album by Swedish power metal act Falconer. The album sees the band returning to the more familiar ground of English lyrics following their last release Armod (2011) which featured lyrics entirely in the band's native Swedish. Swedish lyrics are something that the band had done before but never a whole album of them. Armod was always intended to be a one-off thing so it should be no surprise to existing fans of the band that Black Moon Rising features 100% English lyrics.

What may come as something of a surprise though is the direction of the music on Black Moon Rising. Aside from the Swedish lyrics Armod also featured a heavier use of Falconer's trademark folk influences. In my view it was their first true folk-power metal release, although Among Beggars and Thieves (2008) was also very folksy. On Black Moon Rising they've withdrawn the use of the folk elements by a great deal, more so than I was really expecting. In fact I'd describe the sound of the album as reactionary to Armod; not only are there less folk elements but also a renewed sense of aggression can be heard in their riffs, which apart from just being some incredibly in your face power metal also feature some crossover into thrash metal territory. This is particularly noticeable in the track Wastelands but there are also sporadic thrashy bits in the riffs of other songs including Locust Swarm and Age of Runes. The folk elements by contrast tend to be rather vague this time; easy to miss if your attention wanders at all or you get distracted by something. The most folksy track is the appropriately titled Scoundrel and the Squire but the band do use some folk influenced lead guitar melodies elsewhere such as in The Priory.

Falconer have done albums before that didn't sit so well with fans due to not having the classic Falconer sound that they expect to hear. Those releases were namely The Sceptre of Deception (2003) and Grime vs. Grandeur (2005) and there were released with a different lead vocalist, Kristoffer Göbel, rather than Mathias Blad, the original and current vocalist. Black Moon Rising isn't as far a cry from other Falconer albums as Grime vs. Grandeur in particular was, and Blad being here will always work in their advantage, but it has differences enough to point out that anyone expecting (musically) Armod II or Among Beggars and Thieves II will find something quite different within the power metal spectrum. I guess it's fair to say that Black Moon Rising is closer to their debut album Falconer (2001) than anything else the band has done, but those thrashy bits are definitely new, and in terms of speed I think Falconer have had a bloody good go at pushing even the boundaries of power metal here.

As with any Falconer album that he sings on Mathias Blad's very pure and melodic singing style may seem at odds with such intense metal music, especially to any newcomers who may only just be discovering Falconer through this album. Black Moon Rising is extra aggressive by Falconer standards but by power metal standards they've always been on the more intense and heavy end of things and even with less folk elements Blad's singing quickly identifies this as a work by Falconer. That was the biggest issue the albums released with Kristoffer Göbel had, they lacked the identity of both past and future releases. Black Moon Rising proves that Falconer can do things a little different and still be Falconer.

All in all Black Moon Rising stands as the most aggressive thing that Falconer has ever released to my ears. I was slightly thrown off by it at first, mainly due to the relatively lack of folk elements, but it quickly shows itself as another quality release by Falconer. It may not quite be the Falconer that fans know are love, but it kicks my arse so hard it's difficult not to be won over by it although out of the albums released since Mathias Blad rejoined as vocalist for Northwind (2006) I'd say it slightly lags behind the greatness of Armod and especially Among Beggars and Thieves (my personal favourite along with Chapters From a Vale Forlorn (2002)). But apart from the albums without Blad Falconer has never done anything less than exceptional and that's still the case with Black Moon Rising. 4.5 Stars.

92/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/falconer-black-moon-rising-t3529.html)

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