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Falconer: Northwind

Though Grime Vs. Grandeur was a good release in its own way, it didn't sit well with the band's long-time fans and called for the return of return of original vocalist Mathias Blad. And while it is again guitarist Stefan Weinerhall who wrote all music and lyrics for this album, the direction in the songwriting indicates a return to their folkier style of power metal, mixing both fast and slow pieces into their trademark melodic framework. Blad's vocals are still as amazing as always, and he certainly possesses the most fitting voice to Falconer.

If you enjoyed Chapters for a Vale Forlorn, be prepared for a nice follow-up type of release. Imbued with lots of memorable melodies, excellent vocal parts, interesting instrumental sections, and folky elements, Northwind begins with the ambitious title track, packed with a dynamic guitar arrangement, pounding double bass drums, and melodically charged guitar soloing. New lead guitarist Jimmy Hedlund brings in a new dimension to the band, sharing cool call-and-response leads with Weinerhall and also offering solo spots. His tone on (as on "Waltz with the Dead") is noticeably more metallic and easier to distinguish, so his fretwork adds a welcome contrast to the music. The classical guitar tandem of "Spirit of the Hawk" is unadulterated speedy power metal with relentless double bass battery whilst the slow opening of "Legend and the Lore" features beautiful harpsichord courtesy of Johannes Nyberg. Lots of mandolin work dominates the more vocal-based pieces, such as "Tower of the Queen" which sort of sounds like a sped-up Blackmore's Night number with male vocals. "Long Gone By" is the album's moving power ballad boasting nicely strummed acoustic guitars, an excellent guitar theme, and subtle keyboard melodies. Falconer immediately get back to their fast-paced power metal anthems in the forms of "Perjury and Sanctity" and "Blinded", the latter being more diverse in its structure. The album also sees the Swedish sung "Himmel Så Trind" and the anti-Bush piece "Home of the Knave" towards the end, still retaining its folky roots and expanding on it with switch-ups between streamrolling electric leads, crushing drum attacks, and soaring vocal harmonies.

The digipack of the CD contains bonus tracks and video documentary of the making of the album, so die-hard Falconer fans may want to pick that version up.

Track Listing

  1. Northwind
  2. Waltz with the Dead
  3. Spirit of the Hawk
  4. Legend and the Lore
  5. Catch the Shadows
  6. Tower of the Queen
  7. Long Gone By
  8. Perjury and Sanctity
  9. Fairyland Fanfare
  10. Himmel Så Trind
  11. Blinded
  12. Delusion
  13. Home of the Knave
  14. Black Tarn (instrumental)

Added: April 22nd 2007
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Falconer website
Hits: 3687
Language: english

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