Rating:
9.2
Falconer - Among Beggars And Thieves
22 August 2008


01. Field Of Sorrow
02. Man Of The Hour
03. A Beggar Hero
04. Vargaskall
05. Carnival Of Disgust
06. Mountain Men
07. Viddernas Man
08. Pale Light Of Silver Moon
09. Boiling Led
10. Dark Ages [limited edition bonus]
11. Skula Skorpa, Skalk
12. Dreams And Pyres
13. Vi Sålde Våra Hemman [limited edition bonus]
+ Music Video


Last year Falconer returned with what is their 6th studio album, following up from the twisting and turning powermetal/folk journey that was Northwind. After the disaster which was Grime vs Grandeur of 2005 it was with Northwind that the true majesty of the band shone through, with the welcome return of vocalist Mathias Blad. A fantastic album it turned out to be as well, with the band releasing a solid and mesmerizing album.

Consequently I had high hopes for Amongst Beggars and Thieves, but can it continue on from the soaring and beautifully crafted album that was Northwind?

But first...
It is important to mention for those who have not heard Falconer, just how incredibly impressive their vocals are - Mathias Blad possibly possesses the warmest and cleanest singing voice in all of power metal, showing fantastic range yet never tries to imitate the inhuman heights of (for instance) Daniel Heiman (ex-Lost Horizon) and correctly so... his soothing voice seemingly having the ability to end world conflict, the emotion portrayed painting a picture of Medieval Sweden during the Dark Ages, getting the listener totally immersed within the album.

The musicianship on the album is top notch, crisp and stylish dual guitar solos bring every song to life and believe me the album is absolutely packed with seriously beautiful and captivating solos by the genius that is Stefan Weinerhall. Opener "Fields of Sorrow", with its galloping drumming leads into majestic solos - never getting stuck in a rut but always leaving something around the corner which shifts the pace and atmosphere within the song - All supremely held together by the ever impressive vocal chords of Mathias Blad.

The band puts their varied songwriting on display with songs such as "Vargaskall" which kicks the door down with an icy blackmetal riff - bringing back glimpses of Weinerhall's former self during his days of Mithotyn - an opening riff that had my neck snap in two when I heard it the first time! With the twisting and winding passages in "Mountain Men" shifting from its killer opening riff and double bass barrage to the more naive and lighthearted vocal/flute breaks sprinkled in between. The catchy "Pale light of the silver moon", however, is where Blad really shines and will have you hit the repeat button over and over.

Amongst Beggars and Thieves is a remarkable album, layered with subtle nuances, touches of folk and unexpected and delightful twists and turns makes this an album which becomes even better over time. The intelligent songwriting, fluctuating pace within the songs and overall supreme musicianship and vocals speak of a band who has finally perfected their sound and know exactly what they're doing - the fact that the album is so full of subtle unexpected changes alone makes me come back to it over and over again and not get tired of it....which for me pushes it beyond "Northwind".

There is something incredibly intriguing about Amongst Beggars and Thieves, and I urge any of you who enjoy folk-influenced power metal to not oversee what is an incredibly enjoyable and impressive album.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Falconer
Album: Among Beggars And Thieves


 


written by Valaskjalf | 05.10.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Aeox - 05.10.2009 at 22:34  
An album such as this deserves a good review, well done Valaskjalf. I agree, Northwind was a treat for the ears and this album is definitely a step up.
Ellrohir - 06.10.2009 at 22:16  
Alright, now you convinced me to check this band out
Sr Tumnus - 07.10.2009 at 06:59  
Totally in agreement... Falconer is back... and better tha ever!!!
treptolemus - 11.10.2009 at 01:10  
I've listened this album - checked the songs & lyrics, it's good but i don't like the fact that i don't understand... the Swedish! English please! (Aall songsss!)

Anyway i learnt some things about Sweden, history, battles & ships massive explosions that didn't know!
Lord_Regnier - 11.10.2009 at 01:24  
Falconer is not bad at all musically. Problem I have with this band is I find vocals boring as hell.

Anyway, when it comes to Stefan Weinerhall, I must say that I prefer Mithotyn ten times to Falconer. I would be much more pleased if Falconer never would have seen the light of day and Mithotyn carried on instead.
Valaskjalf - 11.10.2009 at 02:09  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 11.10.2009 at 01:24

I prefer Mithotyn ten times to Falconer. I would be much more pleased if Falconer never would have seen the light of day and Mithotyn carried on instead.


Well that makes no sense...its like comparing apples to oranges. The fact that its two completely different styles of metal (folk influences aside) makes it impossible to compare, yet from the point of view of how challenging the music is falconer is much more intricate than Mithotyn. I remember an interview with Weinerhall a few years ago and they asked him something along those similar lines, if he would ever do something like that again (Mithotyn) and he said no, because it would mean he would have to go back to writing "less good" music - and I agree. Mithotyn was quite primitive compared to Falconer and one cant blame a musician for wanting to do something more enriching and fullfilling for himself.

The simple fact that you "prefer" what he had done before to what he is doing now would only hold merit if he had changed over from writing good music to worse music, which he has not hence there is very little merit in what you are saying. Not trying to have a go at you at all, dont misunderstand me, I just find your comment to be purely based on taste and one can never only base your argument around that without looking at the quality of the music and I think you will find that when you compare falconer and mithotyn MUSICALLY its much more mature, skilled and well crafted - therefor better.
Valaskjalf - 11.10.2009 at 02:17  
Written by treptolemus on 11.10.2009 at 01:10

I've listened this album - checked the songs & lyrics, it's good but i don't like the fact that i don't understand... the Swedish! English please! (Aall songsss!)

Anyway i learnt some things about Sweden, history, battles & ships massive explosions that didn't know!


Why should a SWEDISH band who's album concept is based around SWEDEN's history etc only cater for english people? That makes no sense...surely the fact that falconer isnt a straight-up powermetal band and actually have a fair bit of folk metal influences within their music, justifies them actually singing in their native tongue?

Fair enough, some of us put a lot of emphasis on lyrics and want to learn more from a band and what they're trying to say, but dont you think the Swedish adds character to the album?
Lord_Regnier - 11.10.2009 at 03:23  
Written by Valaskjalf on 11.10.2009 at 02:09

Written by Lord_Regnier on 11.10.2009 at 01:24

I prefer Mithotyn ten times to Falconer. I would be much more pleased if Falconer never would have seen the light of day and Mithotyn carried on instead.


Well that makes no sense...its like comparing apples to oranges. The fact that its two completely different styles of metal (folk influences aside) makes it impossible to compare, yet from the point of view of how challenging the music is falconer is much more intricate than Mithotyn. I remember an interview with Weinerhall a few years ago and they asked him something along those similar lines, if he would ever do something like that again (Mithotyn) and he said no, because it would mean he would have to go back to writing "less good" music - and I agree. Mithotyn was quite primitive compared to Falconer and one cant blame a musician for wanting to do something more enriching and fullfilling for himself.

The simple fact that you "prefer" what he had done before to what he is doing now would only hold merit if he had changed over from writing good music to worse music, which he has not hence there is very little merit in what you are saying. Not trying to have a go at you at all, dont misunderstand me, I just find your comment to be purely based on taste and one can never only base your argument around that without looking at the quality of the music and I think you will find that when you compare falconer and mithotyn MUSICALLY its much more mature, skilled and well crafted - therefor better.


I agree that comparing both bands is comparing too different things. Mithotyn was melodic Black Metal, while Falconer is Powermetal.

However, I totally disagree with your comparison on a musical level. Mithotyn's music was faster and harder to play than Falconer's music. Imo, that's exactly what Weinerhall did: changed over from writing good music to worse music.

As for this 'mature' argument, it's bullshit to me, as I consider the word mature applied to metal always means softer and boring.

Your argument about Falconer's music being better is purely based on tastes, no matter how hard you try to make it look otherwise.

Better stop it there as, to use your own words, there's very little merit in what you're saying, from my point of view.
Valaskjalf - 11.10.2009 at 13:10  
Well then in that case we better agree to disagree....we do however agree that the other one is talking bullshit so yeah, lets leave it there.
Aeox - 11.10.2009 at 14:19  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 11.10.2009 at 01:24

Falconer is not bad at all musically. Problem I have with this band is I find vocals boring as hell.

Anyway, when it comes to Stefan Weinerhall, I must say that I prefer Mithotyn ten times to Falconer. I would be much more pleased if Falconer never would have seen the light of day and Mithotyn carried on instead.


Would've it not been better to end your remark at the first paragraph? If you prefer Mithotyn, then have a listen to their music and comment on it. Obviously they changed music styles, because they felt the need to progress and that is not opinion based if it comes from the musicians themselves (afterall they make the music we only listen to it and rant about not being as pleased as before). So, you don't really like Falconer? So why even comment on their newest album? Saying their not bad musically and then refering to their previous project, has nothing to do with this section - I mean, I didn't read anything about "do you like Falconer more or Mithotyn?".

So I suppose it was unnescessary to even add that, don't you think?
Lord_Regnier - 11.10.2009 at 14:23  
Written by Aeox on 11.10.2009 at 14:19

Written by Lord_Regnier on 11.10.2009 at 01:24

Falconer is not bad at all musically. Problem I have with this band is I find vocals boring as hell.

Anyway, when it comes to Stefan Weinerhall, I must say that I prefer Mithotyn ten times to Falconer. I would be much more pleased if Falconer never would have seen the light of day and Mithotyn carried on instead.


Would've it not been better to end your remark at the first paragraph? If you prefer Mithotyn, then have a listen to their music and comment on it. Obviously they changed music styles, because they felt the need to progress and that is not opinion based if it comes from the musicians themselves (afterall they make the music we only listen to it and rant about not being as pleased as before). So, you don't really like Falconer? So why even comment on their newest album? Saying their not bad musically and then refering to their previous project, has nothing to do with this section - I mean, I didn't read anything about "do you like Falconer more or Mithotyn?".

So I suppose it was unnescessary to even add that, don't you think?


There's a very simple solution to this: if you think a comment is unnecessary, then don't read it. No one forces you.
Aeox - 11.10.2009 at 14:35  
I have to congratulate you on stating the obvious, yet again.

I'm well aware that I'm not being force to read your comment, however comments relating to an album review are pointless if they don't 'inform' a person who hasn't listened to the record.

Therefore forums on a band like Falconer is a much more suited place for comments like yours.
Lord_Regnier - 11.10.2009 at 14:45  
Written by Aeox on 11.10.2009 at 14:35

I have to congratulate you on stating the obvious, yet again.

I'm well aware that I'm not being force to read your comment, however comments relating to an album review are pointless if they don't 'inform' a person who hasn't listened to the record.

Therefore forums on a band like Falconer is a much more suited place for comments like yours.


I can't deny that there's some truth in your words. It was kinda off-topic, indeed.
treptolemus - 11.10.2009 at 15:12  
Written by Valaskjalf on 11.10.2009 at 02:17

Written by treptolemus on 11.10.2009 at 01:10

I've listened this album - checked the songs & lyrics, it's good but i don't like the fact that i don't understand... the Swedish! English please! (Aall songsss!)

Anyway i learnt some things about Sweden, history, battles & ships massive explosions that didn't know!


Why should a SWEDISH band who's album concept is based around SWEDEN's history etc only cater for english people? That makes no sense...surely the fact that falconer isnt a straight-up powermetal band and actually have a fair bit of folk metal influences within their music, justifies them actually singing in their native tongue?

Fair enough, some of us put a lot of emphasis on lyrics and want to learn more from a band and what they're trying to say, but dont you think the Swedish adds character to the album?


Of course musicians can use their native language (folk style, adds special character & everything) - no question about this! But help me with this : because i don't own the cd (i said checked it) the booklet has the lyrics (both languages?) and with a translation, or at least few words what they're talking about?

An example of this (most of us know it) is: when i bought the album victory songs from ensiferum they had Finnish lyrics, but they included a translation in the booklet. That's fair, i think.
On youtube i watched a nice videoclip of the song "Carnival of disgust" it has different ending from the song (for those who haven't checked it yet!)

I guess i'm the kind of listener who is focused on the lyrics more!
(the truth is that i kinda like writing some stuff too!)
Valaskjalf - 11.10.2009 at 15:18  
Nah cant help you there dude, I just checked the cd and they dont have the english translation for "Vargaskal" or "Skula Skorpa Skalk" in the booklet. Not in the edition I have, I have the regular album without the bonus tracks so perhaps the limited edition has them.

Probably your best bet is to ask someone here on MS who is from Sweden to translate it for, just dont ask "Bad English";D haha
Windrider - 16.03.2011 at 21:52  
Great review! One of the very few Power Metal Bands I like...

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