07 June 2011
by Tom Dare
The ever-entertaining Falconer are usually a safe bet to return with a plethora of hooks and a collection of songs to warm the cockles whenever they announce a new album. The difference this time is that those hooks are all entirely sung in Swedish, and their wander across stylistic borders has gone even further afield.
If you’re expecting bags of standard power metal influence (e.g., Helloween), Falconer’s interest in more folky sounds has left that well behind for the most part, resulting in a decidedly more aggressive affair in places that’s still lost none of it’s infectious sense of fun. Partially this is due to riffing style that at times seems to owe more to Dissection (yes, Dissection) than the aforementioned German legends, and partially because Swedish just sounds that bit more confrontational than English. Yet for all this, it still feels optimistic, heroic and makes you want to hideously mangle the lyrics in a piss-poor attempt to sing along.
The result of all this is a record that sounds… well… ultimately Swedish. Everything that the Swedes have a reputation for doing brilliantly – huge melody with genuine heaviness, accessibility without watering anything down, musical vastness and (occasionally) the heroically camp and widdly – is on display, all at once. Put another way, Armod is an album you can bang your head at, raise your fist in the air, and dance to (more 1899 style than 1999) as soon as you’ve found someone to teach you how to pronounce the words.
Armod has precisely the right dosage of hooks for its duration, balancing them nicely between vocals, violin and guitar (the four-strings-and-bow-led ‘Eklundapolskan‘ is a definite highlight) and rounding things off finally and promptly with the organ blasts of ‘Gammal Fäbodpsalm‘ long before the batteries begin to run flat. Falconer’s strength for a long time has been to keep the melodies coming thick and fast, do plenty of other interesting things in the middle and not to hang around too long, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is no exception.
Hear ‘Svarta Änkan’ from Armod here:
Armod is huge fun. As much as Turisas’ latest was underblown in its attempt at being overblown and rubbish as a result, this is a proper folk/power metal record that pitches its OTT level precisely correctly. The hooks are big and the melodies blessedly mostly free from the ham and clunk this oeuvre can rapidly be crippled by.
Sounds like: Sabaton crossed with Finntroll or Ensiferum
Top tracks: Svarta Änkan, Vid Rosornas Grav, Fru Silfver
Falconer – Armod tracklisting:
O, Tysta Ensamhet
Vid Rosornas Grav
Herr Peder Och Hans Syster
Grimasch Om Morgonen