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Falconer - 'Falconer: Ultimate Edition' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d2/22/69/Falconer-Falconer-Ultimate-Edition-42-1452632101.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 12, 2016    
 
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If you haven't succumbed to the charms of the band yet, then this is a great place to start.

The reason behind this re-mastered version of Falconer's debut is that the band will cease to be a touring entity not long after its release (they will though continue to record). So as a thank you, they wanted to give something back to the fans, who had asked for many years for the debut album to be given the production it rightly deserved, hence this 'Ultimate Edition'.

The band also wanted to add a second disc of tracks that featured some unreleased songs plus, as an added bonus, the original demos that got them signed in the first place. So, after some discussions, enter producer/engineer Andy LaRocque who has done a masterful job in beefing up the sound on this (now) almost fifteen year old album.

So what changes have this re-working of 'Falconer' brought to the album sonically? Firstly, and immediately, you can hear the difference LaRocque has made to the bass and drums, which are much heavier and more upfront in the mix than before. The guitars have also received the same treatment giving them a more "in your face" feel, but the real winner here is the vocals of Mattias Blad. These now take centre stage and you can really hear and feel every emotion that he imparts as he sings. 'A Quest For The Crown', 'Heresy In Disguise', 'Lord Of The Blacksmiths' and 'Mindtraveller' were always great songs, but this re-mastering has made them even better and Falconer fans will love revisiting this album; I know I did.

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However, it is the above mentioned second disc that is the more interesting of the two. It features acoustic versions of 'Mindtraveller', 'Royal Gallery' and 'Wings Of Serenity' which really prove what a great, unique and individual singer Blad is. His vocals on these songs are hypnotic and they keep you riveted to them as you listen. Lastly, there's the four demo tracks that got them signed to Metal Blade to enjoy. These songs show a young band (at that time) hungry for success and showing just what they had to offer. These versions of 'Mindtraveller', '...Blacksmiths', 'Substitutional World' and 'Entering Eternity' all have a rougher feel and are obviously different from the album versions, providing the listener the opportunity to see and hear just how much work Falconer put into the first album. They are also a nice way for the band to sign off the touring part of their life.

I think in the end this will appeal more to the Falconer faithful than anyone else, but if you haven't succumbed to the charms of the band yet, then this is a great place to start.

Ian Johnson

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