Falconer - The Sceptre Of Deception

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:04:00

Imagine Sweden, late twelfth, early thirteenth century, three brothers and their guardian in a struggle between the throne and the power of the church, deception and treachery everywhere. Now add to this scenery dark, heavy music and you get an idea of the third Falconer album, The Sceptre Of Deception. Falconer was formed in 1999, when the Swedish band Mithotyn broke up, and guitarist Stefan Weinerhall started working on some music that eventually became Falconer. In 2000 they signed with Metal Blade and have released three albums so far: their self-titled debut album, the follow-up Chapters From A Vale Forlorn and now The Sceptre Of Deception.

With the scene set, the album breathes a cold and rough atmosphere which is enhanced by the vocals of new frontman Kristoffer G?bel. When I hear him sing, I get visions in my head of a sturdy, tough looking Viking. With one downside: the vocals sound a bit monotonous. Also the lack of keyboards add to the "medieval" feel of the songs, this way you could almost say the songs could be played live in those days. As Stefan Weinerhall says: "We didn't use more keyboards cause we didn't want them to be that important in the music since we're gonna perform the songs live. It's better to have the same sound live as on album. I know sequencers could take care of that, but honestly we prefer not to do it."

Most of the songs are, musically, based on pounding drums, double bass and heavy guitar riffs, with room for some moderate solos. Fortunately there is some variation, like "Night Of Infamy," where singer G?bel shows his voice is capable of much more, like soft, emotional singing, something that comes back in "Hear Me Pray," the only ballad on the album. The guitar parts in this song are fantastic including an intense solo. "Hooves Over Northland" is one of my favourite songs on the album. Here the guitars somewhat compensate for the missing keyboards. The album ends with a really short song, just under a minute, which comes as close to being medieval as you can get: "Child Of Innocence."

The Sceptre Of Deception is a very good album, good music and an intriguing story, so I advise you to read the lyrics, as in between the story is told. Although the most songs have basically the same sound, steady drums and heavy guitars, there is enough variation to make the album interesting to listen to, with a vocalist who has more potential, but, maybe because of the concept, does not get the room to fully use it. Also I have the feeling Weinerhall can do much more. Let's hope with the next release they give themselves some more room. Nevertheless, The Sceptre Of Deception is an album that takes some time to reveal all its nuances, so give it a try and be swept away into the Nordic mythology.

Similar Bands: Symphony X, Mercury Rain, Heaven's Cry

[This review originally appeared October 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
The Coronation / Trail Of Flames / Under The Sword / Night Of Infamy / Hooves Over Northland / Pledge For Freedom / Ravenhair / The Sceptre Of Deception / Hear Me Pray / Child Of Innocence

Kristoffer G?bel - vocals
Stefan Weinerhall - guitars
Anders Johansson - guitar
Peder Johansson - bass
Karsten Larsson - drums

Falconer (2001)
Chapters From Vale Forlorn (2002)
The Sceptre Of Deception (2003)
Grime Vs Grandeur (2005)
Northwind (2006)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: December 18th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website: www.falconermusic.com
Hits: 912
Language: english


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