Released: 2011, Metal Blade
Falconer has always been pretty inconsistent over the years. That does not necessarily translate into poor quality, just the opposite in fact, the band has churned out seven albums in a row over the span of 10 years and all of them have been world-class. Where the inconsistency lies is the band ability to re-invent themselves just enough to keep things innovative and interesting while retaining the quality that attracted fans in the first place. Fans will pick favourites and the really die-hard fans who own all the albums could have some very interesting discussions about the subtle differences between the various albums.
ARMOD as mentioned is album lucky number seven. Still safely at home on Metal Blade the band deliver a 11 cut album for 50 minutes of folk-Metal treasure. Even the cover art follows the theme and pattern of the previous ones. It looks like the same character from the self-titled debut album on the cover. The title ARMOD means poverty and perhaps our hero is now impoverished after being among the beggars and thieves. As always the production is immaculate as this is the 7th time in a row they have gone to Andy LaRoque studio for the production chores.
ARMOD is the bands most folk-influenced album in a few tries. This is also the first time they have sung the entire album in Swedish. There are so many interesting elements in these songs, it’s hard to begin where to describe them. The song ‘Herr Peder Och Hans Syster’ (Mr. Peter And his Sister) has a nice soprano style female vocal line. The cut ‘Griftefrid’ has blastbeats! There are many acoustic elements, flute, cello, acoustic guitar and the instrumental cut ‘Eklundapolskan’ (The Eklund Polska) features a fiddle interplay with raging metal guitar. More acoustic guitar with a subdued vocal by Blad is the core of the cover tune, ‘Grimmasch Om Morgonen’ originally written by the popular Dutch/Swedish comedian-singer-songwriter, Cornelis Vreeswijk. The last track ‘Grammal Fabodpsalm’ (Old Fabod Psalm) is a traditional hymn loosely based about Swedish shepherds which mixes church organ and Metal! As you can tell the album is really all over the map. However…importantly is still a really heavy album complete with lots of guitar and lots of double-kick drums when required to bring the Metal meat to the song.
Despite all these dissimilar elements Falconer pull it all together into one cohesive, exciting and dynamic album. The lyrics being sung in Swedish adds a touch of mystique to my non-Swedish ears. My favorite track is probably ‘Vid Rosornas Grav’ (At The Grave Of The Roses) that anchors the album down in the middle with it’s pure Metal melody. Falconer have really outdone themselves with ARMOD. They have set the bar for folk-influenced Metal. Along with Tyr, Falconer are among the world leaders in this sub-genre and I’m not the only one saying it.