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Falconer: The Sceptre of Deception

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.

Added: November 24th 2003
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Falconer Web Site
Hits: 3787
Language: english

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Falconer: The Sceptre of Deception
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-29 07:50:25
My Score:

While this would be my first sampling of the music of Falconer I had to say that some of the ideas and music performed reminded me a little bit of Manowar in its overall themes. Since this was a new exposure to them I looked for some possible musical reminders and while that was among the first to come to mind it was not as over the top as Manowar can sometimes be. Instead, a very interesting take on the Melodic Power Metal genre is delivered and should have a decent level of appeal in the genre. Sceptre Of Deception is the bands third release and follows their Chapters From A Vale Forlorn. This release also finds a new singer to replace Mathias Blad. Founder Stefan Weinerhall found a perfect replacement in Kristoffer Gobel who has an excellent voice for this type of material. Powerful at times in terms of vocal levels achieved and throughout the he album displays a great sense of musical ability. Rounding out the albums recording would be Anders Johannson (guitars), Peder Johannson (bass) and Karsten Larsson (drums). There are a lot of cool riffs showcased on this album and in songs like "Night Of Infamy" and "Ravenhair" you get some pretty up-tempo and fast paced Metal. At the same time you will find slower pieces that don't take away from the enjoyment of the album. These can be found especially in "The Coronation" and songs like "Hear Me Pray (which also serves as the Power Ballad on the album). When you add the title track to this list I would say that my favorites are lined out because there is such a power and drive to them all. Falconer's name adds a sense of ancient history to themselves and this works well for the chosen theme of the album. "Sceptre Of Deception" follows the story of a Viking King and his Three Sons. The tale speaks of who will succeed the King and the intrigue that surrounds it. I would have to say that it is among the most detailed lyrically that I have seen in some time. The detail adds deepness and impact of the music on the record.

The enclosed booklet lines out the story for the listener and while it is great to read along, I must cite one minor critique. This is simply in the poor choice of colors used that made reading this booklet a bit of a strain. I enjoyed it enough to listen a few times before reviewing and feel that those who enjoy epic stories placed to Metal music will definitely appreciate this one. It's a plus when the music and story are both interesting as this doubles the sense of satisfaction in a record. Falconer has proved with this that there is a place for them at the top.

Track Listing:
1) The Coronation
2) The Trail Of Flames
3) Under The Sword
4) Night Of Infamy
5) Hooves Over Northland
6) Pledge For Freedom
7) Ravenhair
8) The Sceptre Of Deception
9) Hear Me Pray
10) Child Of Innocence

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