Falconer - The Sceptre Of Deception
Falconer released a really, really strong debut with the self titled Falconer a few years ago, but unfortunatly followed that on up by a medicore second album titled Chapters From A Vale Forlorn, and it has been quiet for a while from the band. A linup change has taken place since last time in form of the new vocalist Kristoffer Göbel. The change of vocalist has been surrounded by quite some speculations and rumours about how it will sound since the former vocalist was a master behind the mic.
I can assure you that it sounds very good, and Göbel does the job with honours, but it does not help much if the songs and the whole album is a bit boring. Falconer in midtempo is not especially funny, and especially not if the song material isn't better than this. The delicious riffs with marvellous vocalslines and leads from before are still almost constantly present, but not just as good, and to me this release feels like a gray mass with average stuff.
This time the album is a concept album, and is based on a story about a swedish event in the royal history during the 11th century. It is a tiny bit more darker and heavier than before, and sometimes it's more epic and slower than what we are used to hear from this band. Pledge For Freedom is a song that works in that shape, but for the rest i don't think that Falconer have what it takes to make it interesting that way. Under The Sword and Hear Me Pray are the most nonsaying songs I have heard in a long while, even though the refrain in Under The Sword is a good folk-inspired catchy thing.
I have nothing against variation, in fact I think it's needed in this genre, but some bands it works less good for. I constantly feel while listening to this that I wish they would speed things up so the guitar solos and harmonies would come out stronger and most important - more often. The refrains are usually good, but the rest feels more or less like something that is necessary to bring us to the end of the song.
Falconers characteristic form of metal with strong elements of folk music is still the same, but here it lacks a bit of inspiration to me and most of the times it just goes on without delivering those special kicks. A lot of times i can spot leads and riffs that also were present on the first album, especially on The Trail Of Flames, so even though they are good they does not cause spontanous jumping up and down. Songs that stand out is the title track, little faster Ravenhair, the song Night Of Infamy that has a good driven old schol riff but unfortunatly doesn't stand all the way, the epic Hooves Over Northland with a great refrain and leadguitar but unfortunatly weak verse, and if more songs of this caliber would be included - then we're talking.
If you already own the two previous album, this will hardly contribute with anything new of interest for you. It is a shame because it feels like they can do so much more with what they have started here. You have it in you guys, I know that. I hope to hear it on the next album.