Falconer: Mathias Blad (vocals, keyboards); Stefan Weinerhall (guitar, bass); Karsten Larrson (drums).
Additional personnel: Ulrika Olausson (background vocals).
Recorded in November 2000.
Two of Falconer's three members are alumni of Swedish black/Viking metal outfit Mithotyn, but Falconer is a lot more than merely Mithotyn Mark 2. The self-titled debut boasts a more pronounced power metal slant and displaces the mother-band's dark Nordicisms in favor of touches of Celtic folk. At times this makes Falconer sound like Jethro Tull gone heavy metal, but when they let rip, their compact, thunderous attack, strong melodic sense, sense of drama, and Matthias Blad's distinctive vocals (pitched lower than you'd expect for a work in this genre) are a force of nature. Lyrically Falconer is about what you'd expect from an album which has a horseback rider straight out of Tolkien on its sleeve: dungeons and dragons and sword and sorcery. But then you don't listen to Falconer for their lyrics. When the Iron Maiden-gone-bonkers majesty of "Heresy in Disguise," "Mindtraveller," and "Entering Eternity" kicks in, Falconer can sound better than just about anyone else in their weight category. ~ Leslie Mathew