Black Moon Rising
(Metal Blade Records)

With their eighth record, medieval power/folk metallers Falconer are back at it again. Coming right of the heels of Armod, which was almost sung entirely in the band’s native, Black Moon Rising really brings back the heaviness of the band’s self-titled debut and carries some definite feelings of nostalgia that will be immediately familiar to those who were mesmerized by the act’s arguably most potent disc, Chapters From A Vale Forlorn. Such pummeling muscularity is immediately felt in the disc’s opener, “Locust Swarm” which follows right into the grandiosity of “Halls And Chambers” which might very well be one of the strongest songs that these guys have ever recorded. There’s really no topping that one for me, with frontman Stefan Weinerhall in positively top form, Jimmy Hedlund and Karsten Larsson providing the respective backing in the form of furious guitar leads and incredibly thick drum offerings. A definite feeling of power/thrash does manage to escape into some of the tracks here, as felt on “Wasteland” which even tinges into black metal riffs for a few seconds (surprised me too) and really sees a monument in the disc’s powerful title track. There’s no doubt that Falconer sound absolutely wonderful on this disc, with even the inclusion of familiar folk-inspired pieces like “Scoundrel And The Squire” sounding like they would feel right at home in the land of Westeros.

There are some discs that you have to elaborate on to make sure that you’ve covered every base and oiled up every little nook and cranny, but this is not one of them. There’s really not that much here that you can’t discern from just one good listen, as it proves the continued strength of Falconer almost fifteen years into their mighty legacy. I don’t feel that these guys ever really got their place in the limelight, so maybe when the black moon rises, people will finally start to take notice of what might very well be one of the finest concoctions of grandiose medieval folk music and fist pounding heavy metal that I’ve ever heard. If you’ve been on the fence for a few years, then there’s no better time than now to give these bards another shot. They might very well impress you. (Eric May)

Purchase Black Moon Rising here: http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/band/falconer

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