Released: 2005, Metal Blade/Border Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This is Falconer’s 4th LP; although I myself am new to the band.
Their self-titled debut came out in 2001, followed the following year by CHAPTERS FROM A VALE FORLORN; 2003 saw the birth of a concept album—SCEPTRE OF DECEPTION. According to the bio, Falconer had never intended to play live, but changed their minds due to overwhelming demand.
Founding member Stefan Weinerhall (guitar) is the mastermind behind this band. Though several band members have come and gone during the bands short existence, the most detrimental setback thus far has been the departure of former lead singer, Mathias (who was unable to tour). Destiny vocalist Kristoffer took over in November of 2003. Further complicating matters, bassist Anders and guitarist Peder left and/or were fired, for varying reasons; replacements were found that September.
To these ears, Falconer sounds like typical power metal, with lots of catchy refrains. The songs are rife with numerous tempo changes and 80’s heavy metal influences. The music is very technical; there is a lot of edgy twin guitar play between Jimmy and Stefan. Strangely enough, Falconer have chosen not to add keyboards—which is good, but odd, for this kind of power metal.
GRIME VS. GRANDEUR was recorded between December 04 and January 05 in Andy LaRocque’s Los Angered Studio, where they recorded their debut. The production oozes power metal, and sounds just like this kind of music should. All of the guys have their own special part in this soundpicture, and the production sounds quite spacious.
There is a big problem with the quality of the material, however—it feels weak, and standard, to say the least. Not even one of these 10 tracks are the least bit appealing to me. Sure, they sound as if they are excellent musicians; but, genre-wise, there are better. Kristoffer’s vocals are especially weak; his range is quite poor. When he sings within his capacity, it kind of works…but when he pitches the higher notes, it sounds just dreadful. He drags down the rating with his odd screams and outbursts.
On the negative side, this is standard material, that leaves a lot more to wish for—especially the singer, who drags down both the rating and the bands music. On the positive side, these guys are highly skilled and focused musicians. The production is excellent, as well as the cover.
If you already are a Falconer fan, you might not be disappointed with this; but the band is not going to gain any new fans with this. Instead, you should invest in other Power Metal albums/bands that do justice to the genre.