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Falconer (June 2014)

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    Posted: 22 Apr 2015 at 12:31pm
This interview was originally conducted for my website Heavy Metal Haven and is now reproduced to MMA due to the site's closure. Some parts of the article may therefore need to be taken in context, including the date of the review, which will not be recent. 


Swedish folk-power metallers Falconer release their eighth full-length album Black Moon Rising on June 6th 2014. Band founder and guitarist Stefan Weinerhall answered Heavy Metal Haven's questions ahead of the release.

Heavy Metal Haven: First off congratulations on your new album Black Moon Rising. It's another in a long run of high quality releases to my ears. But for others who haven't had the opportunity to hear it yet what can they expect of the record?

Stefan Weinerhall: Thank you. It is an album of speedy catchy folk power metal. I would describe it as a more intense version of the debut album.

HMH: Your last album Armod and its Swedish lyrics was, I believe, always intended to be a one off, but you'd done some songs with Swedish lyrics before that album. Was it a conscious decision to only include English lyrics on Black Moon Rising?

Stefan: Yes it was. What I had promised with those words was felt like a very welcome road afterwards. ARMOD was a rewarding and fun thing to do but I did feel I was somewhat done with the swedish/folk bit when the album was done. We did have a rather long break after the release and I was away from music for some time but as I slowly glided back into the musical ideas and the inspiration came back I immediately felt I wanted all english lyrics and a more riff based and “metal” kind of feeling for the new material.

HMH: Also, is another fully Swedish language album a possibility somewhere down the line for Falconer?

Stefan: No. I can't see that happening ever again. I think it would feel like ARMOD II. We might do a swedish song here and there in the future but I honestly feel it was a phase I went through and have left behind now.

HMH: What sort of themes inspired the lyrics on Black Moon Rising?

Stefan: For the last 2 albums all lyrics has been historical and often based upon true events or legends. For this one I have returned to writing more about environmentalism, some personal perspectives and of course some historical stuff. What never seems to change is the language or and medieval way I try to write all lyrics. I guess no one will understand right away that for example the song “Black moon rising” really is about mankinds greedy flight into a global downfall, or a collective suicide if you want to just since the profit is instant while the price and consequences is yet to show later on. It's a lucrative way of dying. 

HMH: Musically Black Moon Rising is quickly recognisable as a work of Falconer, but I think it's fair to say that there are some differences in sound as well. Notably it seems to contain less folk influence than your last two albums in particular. Do you agree with that assessment? If yes, did anything in particular prompt this?

Stefan: Well, the overdose of folk elements on the last album certainly led up to this reaction although I knew it would even before we recorded the last one. You get tired of drinking from the same well after a while.

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HMH: I'm quite the fan of the band and so have heard all your albums. To me, Black Moon Rising is the most aggressive thing Falconer has ever done; some of the riffs on the album even sound more like thrash metal than power metal to me, during Wastelands in particular. Was that something you were aiming for?

Stefan: Yes. In fact during the break we had, I had plans on doing a kind of death/thrash project just because I wanted to do something different. But as time went by I decided to use some of that stuff and incorporate it into the Falconer sound. It's not like I haven't play that kind of music before but one active band is enough for me at this time and I just thought it was simpler to go on with Falconer than start up something new for one album. I might happen in the future though, we'll see.

HMH: The press release that accompanied my promo copy of the album describes Black Moon Rising as containing the fastest Falconer material to date. For the musicians, how fast is that exactly?

Stefan: Well, the overall tempo is higher than any Falconer album, and afew songs have a slightly higher BPM than usual. Most of our songs is in 180 BPM, this time it's a few BPM higher. Maybe it just feels faster than it sounds. Doing speed picking for 5 minutes do feel if you raise the tempo. Allmost the entire title track have double bass drums, and I must admit I was inspired by the album “Black hand in” by Running wild for that one. Strangly I haven't heard that many comments about the similarities in style and structure.

HMH: Promotion for Black Moon Rising kicked off with a lyric video for the opening song Locust Swarm. Any plans for a music video as well, for this or another song on the album?

Stefan: We're planning on doing a video for “Halls and chambers”. You might say that it ought to be out at the release but things got in the way and I hope we'll have it out this summer at least.

HMH: Are you able to pick a favourite track from the album?

Stefan: Always hard to say this early but I got to say that “Locust swarm” and “Wasteland” and “There's a crow on the barrow” are damn good. Overall the strongest album we've done since ever. But then again who can take the words of the artist himself seriously when he says the new album is the best..............

HMH: Falconer isn't exactly known as a touring artist. What are the chances of taking the new album to the stage?

Stefan: None. We actually had plans to do a few festivals this summer but since I'm slow minded and lazy I didn't come around to check up on the interest until many festivals were full. So for 2015 I'll do an earlier attempt. Don't expect any tours or anything, our motto is to always feel like beginners as we hit the stage.

HMH: Any other plans for the band right now surrounding the album release or beyond?

Stefan: No. We usually do a recorded and then have a break since we're a studio project. I write songs for quite some time, not intensely but when I feel the feeling is there. Then we rehearse it and enter the studio. And that's the end of that project. Then we might do some shows here and there. Now it's been 5 years since we played live, longer than usual so I guess it's about time.

HMH: Many metal bands, quite commonly folk metal bands, make one off non-metal releases at some point in their career. A couple of examples would be Elvenking's Two Tragedy Poets or Eluveitie's Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion. Can you see Falconer ever trying something like that? I think it would be interesting to hear. 

Stefan: I'm not sure exactly what you mean since I'm not too aware of those albums. I think I know what I want to do and an album like ARMOD is as far as we might go from the usual sound. It's still metal we're talking about. Not using distorted guitars for an entire album for example to do a sell out attempt and reach out to the John Smiths won't happen.

HMH: For the new fans you'll undoubtedly make with Black Moon Rising, which of your previous releases would you recommend to move on to afterwards?

Stefan: Due to the similarities I guess I'd go for the debut. Personally I would rather prefer them to listen to NORTHWIND although the both are not very similar I guess.

HMH: Black Moon Rising obviously counts among the recent albums (2013 - 2014 releases) that I've been enjoying, but what releases have you been enjoying? Any recommendations for our readers?

Stefan: I must say I love Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch dark. The best album in many years I think. I do mainly listen to older albums and I'm not very up to date with the newer releases. Bands like Iron Maiden, Kiss, Jethro tull, Queen will always be better than anything that is released nowadays. I guess I'm just too old to be able to take in new stuff. HAHA!!

HMH: Thanks for taking the time with our questions, and good luck with Black Moon Rising. Please feel free to add anything else you'd like our readers to hear: 

Stefan: Thank you for your support and hallo to the fans we've managed to gather out there although we do nothing to promote ourselves. Hope we might play live for you at some point this century.......!


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