Falconer - Chapters From a Vale Forlorn
MetalBlade Records
Heavy Metal
9 songs (40:38)
Release year: 2002
Falconer, MetalBlade Records
Reviewed by Mike
Untitled Document

Falconer have returned with their second and strongest effort so far, Chapters From a Vale Forlorn. First off, I must commend the band for their superb artwork on this album!

If there is one thing that can be said about Falconer, I would say that they certainly have a sound all their own. With a great number of power metal bands out today singing about warriors off to battle, kings, dragons, and other fantasy topics, Falconer maintain a darker, more serious medieval theme. The bass guitar has a strong presence throughout and is played with great authority which results in a dark, ominous feel to the album. And of course, there is Mathias’ unique vocal style which can be best described as close to that of Ten’s Gary Hughes, very warm and melodic.

Mathias has certainly improved his vocal delivery on this album compared to the first. I think he is adapting quite well to life in a metal band as compared to theatrical singing. Mathias seems much more comfortable as part of this band than he did on the debut which makes for a very pleasurable listen. Instead of some uncomfortable moments of sorts on the first album, Mathias’ voice is now a great asset to the band. At times he sounds as if he would like to reach into the higher octaves, but he takes the safe route and opts not to most of the time. However, he does extend his range upward a bit on The Clarion Call and pulls it off very well. If this track is any indication of Mathias’ capabilities, I see only good things in the band’s future. This is only Mathias’ second power metal album he has performed on. Like I said earlier, he was in the theater scene before his call of duty to Falconer, but he is quickly getting used to fronting a metal band and his notable improvement on this album only has me wondering what he has in store for us with the band’s third album. After hearing the band’s first album, I thought Mathias might be the one factor holding the band back, but this second album has me convinced that he will only continue to improve and adapt to the style of the band and help them achieve great things in the future.

At first, I was a bit surprised at the diminished power of this album when compared to the first. In fact, only three tracks, Decadence of Dignity, For Life and Liberty, and The Clarion Call featuring the galloping double bass. But after a few spins of this CD, the medieval atmosphere of this album will engulf you and you will be able picture yourself in a room similar to that on the front cover. Portal of Light is emotion and wonderful ballad featuring some nicely done dual guitar licks, and a masterful vocal performance. Lament of a Minstrel is another slower tempo track with a flute used in the background, but is one of the most successful in terms of providing a medieval feel for the listener. The remaining four tracks are of the mid tempo variety. So, while this album has its powerful moments, it is also a more mature album that lets its unique medieval atmosphere work its magic on the listener. There is not much, if any background shredding and the solos are well done and intricate, but not overdone. Again, I do enjoy shredding and wild solos, but that type of guitar work simply would not fit the atmosphere generated on this album.

With their second album, Falconer have demonstrated that they are a band on the upswing. With much improved vocals and a unique atmosphere all their own, there is no justice in trying to compare these guys to another band. Falconer sound like Falconer, end of sentence. While I enjoyed the power of the debut, I think the improved vocals and the atmosphere generated by this album more than make up for the slightly less powerful delivery of this album. Great job, guys!

Killing Songs :
Decadence of Dignity, Lament of a Minstrel, The Clarion Call, Portals of Light
Mike quoted 86 / 100
Crims quoted 98 / 100
Other albums by Falconer that we have reviewed:
Falconer - Black Moon Rising reviewed by Andy and quoted 88 / 100
Falconer - Among Beggars And Thieves reviewed by Marty and quoted 83 / 100
Falconer - Northwind reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
Falconer - Grime vs. Grandeur reviewed by Ben and quoted 58 / 100
Falconer - The Sceptre Of Deception reviewed by Marty and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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