Here at Heavy Blog, we strive to branch out to as many genres as we can. It’s no secret that metal holds tightly to its classifications and boundaries but we feel that if you have ears, you can listen to pretty much everything. As long as it’s good that is. Sadly, one can definitely speak of life phases when addressing genres and no where is that more apparent than in Power Metal. The genre enjoyed two golden periods: one in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and another in the early 00’s. Sure, good power metal albums are still being released but the volume and quality of these has been steadily decreasing. No greater example of such a decline can be found than the death of famous and critical names in the life of the genre. Falconer‘s latest release, Black Moon Rising, is a sure-fire proof, a final nail in the coffin, of the death of one of the greatest names in the genre.
Allow me a personal note for a second, usually a thing we avoid as much as possible. Falconer were important for my life, when I was a teenager. I used to shout out every single lyric from their self-titled release and ‘The Clarion Call’ remains one of my most listened to tracks of all time. A long time has passed since then and several disappointing releases have led me to leave Falconer behind. Still, when I received this album, a flicker of hope rose within me. That hope was quickly crushed by what I heard. Back to the objective: Black Moon Rising is a sadly generic album. All the normal clichés of power metal, namely galloping bass, folk-y vocals and fantasy subject matter, are all present and turned up to eleven, with no attempt to relieve the monotony.
We’d break down the track progression at this point, but there really is no purpose in that. Even after several listens, it’s quite impossible to tell the tracks apart. Only in the middle of the album is there some respite, with the doublet of ‘Wasteland’ and ‘In Ruins’. Both are marked with some exceptional drumming, leaving us wondering where on earth they are for the rest of the album. The first track is pretty straight forward yet it manages to imbue some form of energy into the stock formula exhibited in the rest of the album. The second track is actually slightly divergent, preferring Blind Guardian‘s epic approach to riffs rather than the Iron Maiden sensibility taken throughout the rest of the album. It too shines with some sort of energy, as if the band decided to wake up and double down on what they know best.
That’s the album in a nutshell: it’s lackluster, tired and half-baked. Yes, we know these artists can probably play and play well. The production is pretty much without fault. But everything on this has been done, been heard and sung a million times. It would be foolish to demand that a band reinvent the genre they play with every release, but expecting a performance with energy and something new to say is a pretty good standard to hold established bands to. Unfortunately, what hope we had that Falconer could still produce earnest, worthwhile releases, has quickly been crushed by Black Moon Rising.
Falconer’s Black Moon Rising gets…