Autor Thema: Northwind Reviews  (Gelesen 25380 mal)

Radagast

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Northwind Reviews
« Antwort #90 am: Oktober 27, 2006, 10:51:15 Vormittag »
Zitat von: "Mindtraveller"
Zitat von: "jakob_hasse"
We'll do that with utmost pleasure...  


Okie, here it is then:

This album is, in fact, labeled Power Metal. When I think of this genre of metal I think of nazi Germans dancing happily around flowers with some electric guitars, singing "Oh how much I love halloween!!" but this certainly is not the case with Falconer. I don't know why they're labeled power metal. I suppose it's the syrupy keys or silly dungeons and dragons lyrics. The vocalist has  a very unique voice, despite him having a name like Bald, and it can't quite be described. He sounds like a complete charm at times. It's like he's trying to immitate that Peter guy from Jesuschrist Superstar. This turns out rather good, however. It's a somewhat low end voice, but sensibly high pitched at times too! Not the constipation high pitch that True Heavy Metal find so beautiful and True though. It's obvious that Bald is a mighty vocalist and swordbearer supreme.

However, as unlikely as it may be, since it's so damn unnoticable with Mr. Theater Boy in the front constantly, there are other band members as well, all contributing with what they do best. Each members play their own special instrument even!! The extreme melody of this album is provided by the super duper guitarwork and keys. The riffs are totally phat. Indeed I think that this could have been death metal if Bald didn't sing so much, but instead provided a death vocal. Fortunately he doesn't do such unoriginal bullshit!

Basically what I'm trying to say is that the music in this album is catchy, yet powerful, brutal, and heavy at the same time. The end result I think is very brilliant. With this, Falconer have  released five excellent albums of truly awesome heavy metal! Go buy their albums TODAY!

Lolocaust.

Mindtraveller

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Northwind Reviews
« Antwort #91 am: November 06, 2006, 05:11:51 Vormittag »
Well, after an absurdly long time, here is the final draft of the review, which means it still has to go through the style correction and other thingies. Hopefully it will do a good job of describing what the album is about though.

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This album is, in fact, labeled Power Metal. The notion, however, isn't entirely accurate. Falconer did start as a Power Metal band, but have since consistently strayed away from the genre, leaning more towards the sound that can simply be tagged as Heavy Metal. Northwind is a Heavy Metal album, of the melodic, classier kind, with an added folky influence. As a matter of fact, the sound of this record is much more akin to that of old school Metal than it is to that of contemporary Power Metal.

Northwind, for the most part, presents a more contemplative approach. The lyrics, which are written on a medieval kind of way, serve mostly as metaphors for universal themes. Take for example "Home of the Knave", having a central figure of such an individual like George W. Bush, but without making overtly specific references that would relegate the lyrics to one of those single "socially aware of current events" crap songs (The track also features an amusing wry ending by the way, showing the band's sense of humour). Other good example would be "Delusion", which is an obvious jab at religious terrorism, but once again leaving itself open enough to work on a plethora of situations and times. There are also some songs that take a different path, dwelling into a fantastic and folkoric realm, not of the typical sword and sorcery kind, but making actual references to Scandinavian folklore.

As for the music, the folk influence is stronger than before, and the songs come across as grand and intricate, even though upon further inspection, they have relatively simple structures and are not really long. The drumming is quite musical as always, and it seems that Karsten Larsson doesn't quite get the recognition he deserves for this. He has a very subtle technique, which lets the music breathe and isn't intrusive at all. Both guitarists  compliment each other's guitarwork very nicely, and the contrast is quite enkoyable. Whereas Weinerhall plays the more mid-tempo melodic breaks and leads, Hedlund provides the lightning fast, yet very melodic, soloing. This is riff oriented music, and these riffs are quite creative and finely crafted. The bass provides that extra thunderous backbone that accentuates the rhythm guitars, but is also the only one slight disappointment. Linhardt is a capable player, but it would have been nice to hear his instrument doing some more things from time to time, maybe some more independent basslines here and there, but this is a minor gripe, if anything. Then there is of course Mathias Blad, who is one of the nicest surprises of the album. He sounds better than ever before, using his voice in many interesting ways. He is all over the spectrum, going higher than before, lower than before, and in general taking a much more decisive and daring approach. He even sounds much more closer to a Metal vocalist when he takes a slightier aggressive path. Just listen to the last line of the chorus of "Blinded", where his delivery is pretty reminiscent of the one a certain Kristoffer Göbel would probably give. There is no doubt that Mathias has a gifted voice and is a professional singer. The vocal harmonies are flawlessly executed and enrich the music very much. And speaking of enhancing the music, there must be mention of the keyboards, which are played by Weinerhall; these keys provide a good amount of musical ornamentation that is almost baroque-like in its composition. These are mostly independent  melodies that compliment the already melodic music. A song like "Spirit of the Hawk" is taken to higher levels thanks much to the keys during the chorus. They are also very organic sounding, resembling real instruments almost to perfection. Sometimes though, they can be a bit distracting and overbearing, but such occurences are few.

The songs are pretty consistent, and there aren't any really weak tracks in here. Some of them are pretty folky, like the outstanding "Himmel Sa Trind", which is Weinerhall's attempt at writing his own "traditional" song, and he succeeds admirably. The track is one of the highlights of the album, describing the arrival of winter  in a very powerful manner (not speaking solely about the lyrics here). And there is "Walts with the Dead", which is actually co-written by Weinerhall and Hedlund, and is another highlight, with a beautiful and haunting melody that creates an unique gloomy atmosphere. There are also some Heavy / Speed Metal songs, and a couple of actually bluesy rock 'n' rollish tunes. The remarkable feat is that the consistency is never lost, and all the songs share a similar vibe, despite these differences.

The album -as a whole- is permeated by an underlying wistful atmosphere. Almost tempting is to call it a charming mixture of glum and glee, but perhaps this last one is too strong a word for the intended description. This is music that transpires a sense of austere solitude, yet with moments that provide warmth and a kinda joyful vibe. Northwind is a very, very good album which paints images of a winter landscape, where the lone snowy fields provide a subtle natural allure, and yet beneath a veil of snow there are traces of a distant structure of grand, elaborate and elegant beauty.

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Off the record:

· Personally, I don't consider Northwind better than Falconer, but it is almost, if not as good.

· This has been one of the most difficult albums to review, simply because I wanted to say much more things, but the review is already long as it is, and the intention shouldn't be to write an essay.

· For some reason, the intro of "Legend and the Lore" reminds me of John Morris' "The Elephant Man Theme", which is an amazing piece of music. Not so much because there are similarites in the melody or structure, but because of the atmosphere that is achieved. Likewise, "Himmel Sa Trind" reminded me of the first movement of Vivaldi's "Winter", again, not because of the melodies, and this time not because of the atmosphere, but because of the strength in which both convey the arrival of the station.

That's about it. Flame away if you will! :mrgreen:

The Black Knight

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Northwind Reviews
« Antwort #92 am: November 06, 2006, 07:40:06 Vormittag »
GREAT review, Mindtraveller! Perhaps the best Falconer review I've read in years! (I think I said this to some other bloke before, but this review really kicks ass!)

Radagast

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Northwind Reviews
« Antwort #93 am: November 06, 2006, 10:58:10 Vormittag »
A good read as always, Mindtraveller, I have similar views on many aspects of the album.

My own review will be up on http://www.metalcdratings.com by the end of the month.[/shameless plug]