Falconer - Chapters From A Vale Forlorn

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: 3984-14397-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 40:39:00

Before I actually start the review, I should say a few things. Firstly, I never listened to Falconer's self-titled debut so, I'm not biased at all. Secondly, I am not the biggest fan of power metal for the most part. And, finally, I enjoyed this album for what it is; so, that is a good sign of something.

Ok, now since we have that out of the way let me talk about Falconer's second CD. Standing out automatically are the vocals of Mathias Blad; he is, in my opinion, not only an integral part of the music but he also has an extremely distinctive voice for the genre. The music is solid, combining many Celtic and folk elements - more than the last album from what I have heard from other people. Also, many of the songs take a mid-tempo approach instead of consistent double bass action, which I think is an enormous plus because I really get tired of the marching approach that many power metal bands use much of the time. There are some parts on this album that I think they should do without, parts that sometimes bring down other good parts, and the album is a bit too crunchy at times, but that may just be me.

Before I discuss some of the actual songs and melodies on Chapters From A Vale Forlorn, I want to talk about some of the lyrics. When we think power metal, or at least when I do, I imagine dragons, heavy metal creations, fantasy-ridden knights in shining armor, and a good amount of cheesiness. Of course there are exceptions, and Falconer is one of those. For example, this is a quote from an interview about the song "Decadence Of Dignity": "[it is a] fast song that deals with mans greed. We sell everything as long as we can make a buck on it fast and don't think about the consequences." Here is quote on the track entitled "We Sold Our Homesteads": "One more traditional song about the Swedish history. It deals with the emigrants from us to America during the 19th century." As you can see, the lyrics do not follow your typical heavy metal or scream and shout concepts.

The track that really catches my attention the most is "The Clarion Call" as it does have some progressive tendencies with the guitar riffs, and it also has some clever and melodic changes of pace that are very enjoyable to listen to. And, though the lyrics describe war, with lines like "Who is right and who is wrong, whose side is god really on" this song conveys its message tremendously. Also, with songs like the emotional "Portals Of Light," the powerful "Decadence Of Dignity," and the folkish "Lament Of A Minstrel," this album has its fair share of musical captivation; yet, there are some songs that really go nowhere, but that's probably because it's really not my style throughout.

So, as we come to an end, Falconer's Chapters From A Vale Forlorn is not overly original or totally groundbreaking, but with the mid-tempo rhythms, the different stylistic elements, the production of Andy La Rocque, and the exceptional singer, this should be a very high quality disc for all power metal fans and a solid one for many fans of the other metal genres.

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Decadence Of Dignity (4:22) / Enter The Glade (3:48) / Lament Of A Minstrel (4:13) / For Life And Liberty (6:23) / We Sold Our Homesteads (4:10) / The Clarion Call (5:47) / Portals Of Light (4:07) / Stand In Veneration (3:33) / Busted To The Floor (4:17) / En Kungens Man (Japanese Bonus Track) (3:58)

Stefan Weinerhall - guitars, bass, tambourine
Karsten Larsson - drums and percussion
Mathias Blad - vocals, keyboards and backing vocals


Sabine Daniels - flute (3)
Elias Holmlid - piano (7) and Hammond organ (9)
Andy La Rocque - lead guitar (9)
Johan Wikstr?rm - backing vocals (7)

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 15th 2004
Reviewer: Shawn "Zero Hour" Lakhani
Artist website: www.falconer-metal.com
Hits: 980
Language: english


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