FALCONER — Armod (review)

FALCONER — Armod album cover Album · 2011 · Folk Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Armod is the seventh full-length album from Swedish power metal act Falconer, released in 2011. While musically the release follows the same course as the band’s previous efforts, the band have made Armod slightly different in that all the sung have Swedish language lyrics, although bonus tracks exist with English translations of a few of the songs. The album also takes a stronger focus on Falconer’s folk side, producing what is arguably their first true power/folk metal hybrid, rather than just power metal with folk influences. This is apparently just a one-off for this album though, and not the sound of things to come, although to be fair, the album isn’t exactly worlds away from what came before.

Armod (which means ‘Poverty’) is a real belter of an album that left some very good opinions right after the first listen. I’ve usually had to give the other Falconer albums I’ve heard several spins in order to really sink my teeth into them but Armod grabbed me right from the off. Maybe it’s that larger focus on the folk elements in the music (I’m a sucker for good folk metal, which can often be in shorter supply than may sometimes seem), which are done extremely well, especially coupled with the use of Swedish lyrics, which even though I don’t personally understand a word of them manage to remain just as catchy as on the English language albums. Or it might be that Falconer is also delivering some really heavy and intense power metal on the album, something heard very well in the opening Svarta Änkan, which is one of the least folk influenced songs on the album, although it certainly has its moments, particular in the acoustic duet section between Mathias Blad and a guest female singer.

Although Svarta Änkan sets a high standard for the rest of Armod to follow the album doesn’t have any trouble in delivering excellent track after excellent track. Griftefrid, Rosornas Grav, Grimborg and Herr Peder och hans Syster all stand out as highlights of the bunch though, but in true Falconer style there’s no track included that can be considered below par, resulting once again in an album of the highest sort of quality. Blad’s vocals are, as always, spectacular and if anything, more suited to the Swedish lyrics than the English. The authentic folk melodies are tastefully done, while leaving plenty of room for some great power metal riffs and leads from guitarists Stefan Weinerhall and Jimmy Hedlund.

Overall Armod is another excellent Falconer release and doesn’t disappoint in any way. If you liked their previous stuff there’s no reason not to like this one, in fact, for me Armod stands as one of the band’s best yet. Folk and power metal fans are advised to check this one out!

Additionally there is a special edition of Armod available that includes four of the songs translated to English. Svarta Änkan becomes Black Widow; Rosornas Grav becomes By the Rose´s Grave; O, Tysta Ensamhet becomes O, Silent Solitude; and Grimborg retains the same name. All tracks are just as good as the Swedish versions in their own way, but I wouldn’t necessarily call them as essential as the Swedish versions, and the score I give the album doesn’t take them into account. Worth having so long as you don’t have to pay an extortionately higher price for the special edition.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 9.3/10)
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