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Falconer - 'Black Moon Rising' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/33/4d/89/fa-84-1405554573.jpg Hot

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So if you fancy a bit of Blackmore's Night crossed with Accept, give it a go, you may well end up being pleasantly surprised too.

If like me you've not come across Falconer before, 'Black Moon Rising' is probably going to be one of those experiences that leaves you a little confused and surprised yet still ends up as a worthwhile and interesting use of your time. Hailing from Sweden, this is Falconer's eighth album, variously described as Folk/Thrash/ Viking/Power Metal which is probably enough to tick the '"confused" box already.

Formed back in 2000 by Stefan Weinerhall (guitar) and Mathias Blad (vocals) they have consistently presented Medieval and Folk influences with hard Metal riffing. Their 2011 album 'Armod' was sung entirely in Swedish to emphasise traditional Swedish Folk music but '...Rising' returns to English lyrics with the added ambition of making it their hardest and heaviest album yet.

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'Locust Storm' kicks off the album in fierce style; fast riffing, double bass drums pounding furiously with Blad's vocals distinctive and certainly influenced by a Medieval, minstrel sort of style. It's fast and it's furious, the pace barely lets up through 'Halls And Chambers' and the title track itself. The song titles in themselves give a strong indication of the Folk nature of the lyrics, with the likes of 'Scoundrel And The Squire', 'At The Jester's Ball', 'There's A Crow On The Barrow' and 'Age Of Runes'.

There is some variation though in the all-out speed assault, '...Squire' has a lute playing Medieval minstrel intro before the guitars power in again, but overall it can be just too overpowering. The drums are just that bit too high in the mix for my liking and tend to dominate the whole sound when the power sections kick in. Conversely the vocals are a little low and consequently end up being drowned out at the more frenetic moments.

But that's not to say there isn't some good stuff here. '... Runes' and '...Barrow' have a Judas Priest/Accept feel about them; there are some great Metal riffs and high class shredding lead work. I don't know what the record for the most drum beats per minute is, but you don't need to try and break it on every track. When the guitars are given the space to show some classy Metal riffs and the Folk phrasing and tones are still recognisable, it all works surprisingly well.
So if you fancy a bit of Blackmore's Night crossed with Accept, give it a go, you may well end up being pleasantly surprised too.

Ian Parry

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