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Thursday, April 09, 2015

ALBUM REVIEW: Falconer go back in time to refresh their self-titled début

WHEN you are not in the premier league of metal the thorny issue of re-releases can seem like an indulgence, something to be avoided. However, Swedish act Falconer have managed to avoid the trap and achieve something of a coup with the forthcoming re-issue of their first release.

Given that the band are supposedly about to quit the live circuit it is timely that they re-visit the album - and add in loads of bonuses so at least by the time they arrive in Atlanta for their allegedly final show fans will be able to claim to have the definitive collection.

Last year's release of 'Black Moon Rising' was a considerable step up for the band - and this re-release is definitely a risk.

However, having Andy LaRoque in charge of remastering breathes new life into tracks such as 'MindTraveller', Wings of Serenity' and 'Royal Galley'. Now they have the 'brightness' and separation to make them leap from the speakers..

However, the song 'Per Tyrssons Do╠êttrar I Va╠ênge' really showcases the band's merging of power metal, pagan metal and traditional folk. Excellent.

The bonus tracks are were this release comes into its own. The acoustic versions of 'Royal Galley' and 'Wings of Serenity' pop from the speakers with real vigour. Even the demo versions of 'Lord of the Blacksmiths' and 'Entering Eternity' seem justified additions.

Metal Blade are badging this as the 'Ultimate Edition' and while we argue that no band can produce an 'UItimate Edition' this is a luscious package.

The "Ultimate Edition" will be available as a double CD Digibook. Disc 2 is a bonus CD that features seven previously unreleased versions and demos of tracks from the album. The album will also be released on vinyl (Europe ONLY!) for the first time ever.

Guitarist Stefan Weinerhall explained some of the rationale:

"Re-releasing our debut album in a remastered version is a great kind of interlude while we do our last gigs as a live band", he said. "On top of that we offer our fans to finally hear the demo we did back in 1999, something very few people have heard.

"We also decided to re-record three songs from the debut in acoustic, very scaled down versions. It really got the songs to shine in a new kind of way. So about 35 minutes of unheard Falconer music in both exclusive CD and vinyl versions!"

Is it a good thing to re-twiddle and fuck about with tracks that have been firmly embedded in the psyche of Falconer fans? Ultimately they will be the ones to make up their minds, but the only we can explain our view is to say that we've been listening to the acoustic version of 'Mindtraveller' on repeat for some time now...

Falconer - Ultimate Edition is released on Metal Blade on 21st April 2015
Review by Jonny


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