An album chronicling the life of a former crown prince from an imaginary kingdom in the late 1200s? Can these guys be serious? Well, after seeing the Swedish band Falconer perform at the Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles' 6-Pack Weekend last June, my confident answer is, "Hell, yes!" In fact, as far as I can tell, Falconer is as serious as can be. The band plays methodical metal that's neither too fast nor too slow. Too tame to be progressive and too organic to be symphonic, pigeonholing Falconer is tough.
And at first listen, The Sceptre of Deception seems like goofy stuff that tries too hard to be taken seriously. But give the band's third album a few more spins, and you'll be singing along to marching anthems like "The Coronation," "Hooves Over Northland" and the title track, while swooning to the sweeping ballad "Hear Me Pray." "Pledge For Freedom" sounds like a number straight out of a Broadway (or off-Broadway) musical, and the gallant duet between singer Kristoffer Göbel and an unnamed woman with a lovely voice on "Ravenhair" enhances the drama on an already-theatrical album.
When it comes to fantasy-tinged bands, Facloner is more accessible than Blind Guardian and less cheesy than Rhapsody.
These guys improve with every album and just may be carving themselves a niche – although exactly what that niche is, I do not know.