If it is possible for you to imagine combining Middle English folk music like “Sweet Nightingale” with death metal blast beats and late NWOBHM guitar riffs, then you have an idea of what to expect from the new Falconer album, From A Dying Ember.
The origins of Falconer reach back twenty years when Stefan Weinerhall started musical conjurings after Mithotyn (1990s band from Sweden) split up. Falconer rose out of these early musings, releasing their first album in 2001. The response was positive from the beginning, and the band went on to produce seven more albums through 2014. The lineup is all rock and roll with vocals, two guitars, bass, and drums: Mathias Blad, Stefan Weinerhall, Jimmy Hedlund, Magnus Linhardt, and Karsten Larsson, respectively. On the new album you can also hear traditional folk instruments like “keyed fiddle and bagpipe” as well as piano, other keys, and strings on occasion. There is no doubting that Falconer’s music is guitar-driven, but their unique perspective and the inclusion of epic and folk metal expansions make them stand out.
There is not a typical song on the album. While the set works a regular theme, there is still a good deal of variety throughout. “Thrust the Dagger Deep,” for example, sounds like it is being sung by a medieval traveling minstrel who somehow is accompanied by electric guitars. “Kings and Queens” features epic-scale guitars up front with a convulsive drum track. Two minutes in there is a blistering lead break that puts you in mind of Savatage. “Bland Sump och Dy” begins with a meandering bass line, and is sung in Swedish. “Rapture” starts with strings that are soon joined by a riff so heavy it is almost doom. This album is at its core folk metal cranked up several notches. Along the way, though, Falconer takes you on a journey and gives you all sorts of different looks.
From A Dying Ember is out today, June 26. They have a big back catalogue for you to go through as well, and it is worth a dive if you like what you hear on the new one.