More than six years after the release of its most recent album Black Moon Rising, Swedish folk/power metal band Falconer is scheduled to return Friday with its ninth (and allegedly final) album. From A Dying Ember is scheduled for release through its longtime label home in Metal Blade Records, and is a presentation that will appeal to the band’s longtime fans as well as fans of the noted genres. That is due to the record’s musical and lyrical content. The record’s opener and second single ‘Kings & Queens’ is one of the songs that serve too support the noted statements. It will be addressed shortly. ‘Garnets & A Gilded Rose,’ which effectively serves as the record’s midpoint, is another way in which the record is proven appealing for its noted audiences. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Rapture,’ which closes out the album, is one more way in which the record shows its appeal among the aforementioned listeners. It will also be discussed later. When it is considered alongside the other two songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the record in whole proves itself a fine and fitting farewell from one of the best bands in the folk and power metal worlds.
Considering that more than six years have passed since Falconer released its then most recent album Black Moon Rising, it would be easy to think that the band’s members – Mathias Blad (vocals), Stefan Weinerhall (guitar, keyboard), Karsten Larsson (drums), Jimmy Hedlund (guitar, vocals) and magnus Linhardt (bass) – would have some considerable ring rust, so to speak. However, in listening through this 46-minute presentation the exact opposite proves to be the reality. The band has crafted a record here that takes its members out at the top of their respective games. That is proven through the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes. The record’s opener and second single ‘Kings & Queens’ is just one of the songs featured in the record that serves to support the noted statements. Audiences familiar with the song’s catalog will find this song’s musical arrangement familiar, with its folk metal approach. The precision in the lightning fast time keeping and the control in the symphonic guitar riffs couple with the vocals and bass to make the arrangement a solid start for the album. Keeping in mind the mood set by the song’s arrangement, it does well to help translate the message in the song’s lyrical theme.
The song’s lyrical content comes across as delivering a message of hope and inspiration. This is inferred in the song’s lead verse as Blad sings, “Spinning round and around/Caught in a trap/In a lazy, mundane life where the master’s the slave/Striving on through the dark and into the light/Each day that passes by/Lost in the void of the night.” He adds in the song’s second verse, “Even the simplest of goals and the simplest of days/Can be reached in a manner that enlightens the way/Don’t let the wheel of life turn off your mind/But grasp hold of your fate And leave old pathways behind.”
Additionally, he sings in the song’s chorus, “Take command and rise from slumber/Our time must not waste away/We’re the rulers of our destinies/We’re the kings and queens of our day/Take command and rise from slumber/Our time must not waste away/We’re the rulers of our destinies/We’re the kings and queens of our day.” Whether the manifest function of the song’s lyrics was to inspire listeners, the reality is that they do just that. To that end, that and the song’s musical arrangement couple to make for a clear example of what makes the album a positive finale from Falconer. It is just one of the album’s most notable offerings. The record’s instrumental midpoint, ‘Garnets & A Gilded Rose’ stands strong on its own merits.
Garnets & A Gilded Rose’ runs just over two-and-a-half minutes (two minutes, 32 seconds to be exact), but in that brief time, it does a lot to engage and entertain listeners. The song opens with a classic arrangement that audiences will instantly liken to songs from the Middle Ages. That lasts less than a minute, though, giving way to a more powerful, guitar-driven sound that blends well with that “ancient” sound. The drums and cymbal crashes give just enough accent alongside the guitars and bass here to paint such a vivid picture. The whole thing ends by reverting to that much older sound to bring everything full circle. The end result of all of this is a work that instantly conjures thoughts of renaissance festivals and days from centuries long ago. It is a wonderful way to break up the album and another example of the album’s strength. It is just one more of the album’s most notable works. The record’s finale, ‘Rapture’ is one more way in which the album proves itself a strong final statement from Falconer.
The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Rapture’ is key to its presentation. That is because while the band’s trademark folk metal sound is clearly evident once more, the band also brings in what sounds like a touch of a death metal influence through the guitars and drums. This is an approach that the band’s members have taken very rarely in its past records, and is well balanced with the band’s more familiar folk/power metal sound. The end result is a nearly seven-minute arrangement that takes the album out just as strongly as ‘Kings & Queens’ opened the LP. It is just one aspect of the song that makes it stand out. The song’s lyrical content adds its own touch to the whole.
As the song’s title notes, this song is called ‘Rapture,’ and that rapture is translated through the song’s lyrical content. There is a lot here that is indecipherable without a lyrics sheet to reference, but just enough is understandable here to know the song was meant to lyrically convey feelings of positivity. Blad even sings in the end of each verse about being happy to see a new day. Blad sings about appreciating everything around and just seeing the joy of a new day. He even goes on about “sailing across the sea to distant shores” and even despite the stress of he journey, feeling “nothing but joy.” It really seems like an allegory about the pending journey ahead of himself and his band mates. It is such an odd contrast to a song whose musical base presents that noted death metal influence alongside its folk/power standard approach, considering death metal is typically associated with more…aggressive lyrical themes. What’s more, that this record is likely the band’s last, it really becomes even more impacting, as it shows Blad and his band mates going out on a high, positive note. In the process, it will leave listeners on an equally high and positive note. When it is considered alongside the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s works, the end result is a record that is another positive offering from the band, and a fitting finale for the group.
Falconer’s latest and likely last full-length studio recording From A Dying Ember is a strong new offering from the veteran folk/power metal band. Considering its title, this record shows that even if it is the band’s last, the band still has a fire burning strong, even as it reaches its final moments. That is evidenced through the record’s musical arrangements and its lyrical content, as pointed out here in the trio of songs addressed here. When those songs are considered with the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole proves itself to be more than just a dying ember for Falconer, but a finale from the band that burns bright. More information on From A Dying Ember is available along with all of Falconer’s latest news at:
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