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Because they are going to stop performing live, Folk Metal pioneers Falconer have decided to re-release their 2001 debut album Falconer, and now present us with the Falconer (Ultimate Edition)(Metal Blade). The tracks have all been remastered, and the bonus CD contains previously unreleased acoustic versions of some of their best songs as well as some of the original demos. If you’re already a fan of Falconer, this is a really good way to complete your collection.
For those of you not yet familiar with Falconer and their oeuvre, here follows a review of this album.
Falconer hails from an era when the Folk in Folk-metal was not so in-your-face Pagan as it is now. Their sound is generally that of Power Metal, but it feels more grounded than cheesy and over the top. However, many of the riffs, like those in the verses of ‘Wings of Serenity’ wouldn’t be misplaced in the modern Pagan Metal sound. The lyrics and themes in songs as ‘Lord of the Blacksmiths’ and ‘The Past Still Lives On’ also indicate their folk-metal status, in the latter case further emphasised in the acoustic guitar line. Then there are songs that are fully recognisable as Folk Metal, such as ‘A Quest for the Crown’. And then there is ‘Per Tyrssons döttrar i Vänge’, which is originally a medieval Swedish ballad. It cannot get much more Folk Metal than that.
As for the bonus material, the acoustic renditions of ‘Royal Galley’, ‘Wings of Serenity’, and ‘Mindtraveller’ are really well done and intense in their minimalism. They actually surpass the original songs. Mathias Blad proves again how good he is, as he has done throughout the album proper. He has a beautiful clear voice which is perfectly suited to the flowing melodies of this music.
While the demos on the bonus CD are most relevant to fans of Falconer, the quality of the music on the rest of this album means that it is much more than simply a collectible. This is an excellent album for anyone who likes both Folk and Power Metal.