Falconer: Grime vs. Grandeur

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Falconer: Grime vs. Grandeur
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Falconer: Chapters of a Vale Forlorn
Folk Metal, Power Metal
Metal Blade Records
May 2nd, 2005
Release length: 52:49

One of the signatures of the band Falconer is the very minstrel-esque vocal style that accompanies the music, a very low singing voice one might find in a fantasy film where minstrels are performing for their king, prior to being beheaded when their majesty doesn’t feel like hearing a song. This has been a crucial part behind the folk feel of the music, as well as something that aided the lyrics to become more believable. However, Grime Vs. Grandeur welcomes a new Tim “Ripper” Owens type vocalist (minus the overly used high pitched sung wail), and it’s definitely a change for the worst.

Some of the songs on this release still feature the music you have grown to know and love on prior releases. Tracks like “Purgatory Time” sound pretty good, but just sound weak due to the rather typical vocals that appear on the release. “Emotional Skies”, the opening track and single, doesn’t even sound like Falconer, but rather like a cut from some mediocre power metal band’s first album. That statement is further backed up by the track “I Refuse” which, first of all, doesn’t sound like Falconer, as well as utilizes extreme voice distortion during the start of the song, and never again.

Even though the first three songs really aren’t that great, this release does have it’s moment. “Humanity Overdose” sounds like the band got bitch slapped by God and got their act together, since it’s about this time that the band starts to sound like it’s old self, incorporating low singing and the oh so familiar Falconer guitar riff style. TRhe vocalist does attempt to sing high on some of the songs, such as that and “The Assailant”, and sounds strained and somewhat off key with the music. The song “The Return” even features gutteral vocals, which sound decent against the traditional slow paced music. There are other tracks, such as “The Assailant”, “No Tears For Strangers” (which easily has the best riffs of the whole album), “Jack The Knife” and “Child Of The Wild” (which sounds dead on to the original Falconer sound) that sound like the good old days, which also leads you to ask “If he can sing close enough to the last vocalist, why is he singing like every other power metal vocalist and ruining the album?”

If you enter into Grime Vs. Grandeur with lowered expectations and the knowledge there’s a new vocalist, it might not be so bad. However, if you go in expecting another kick ass Falconer release, you will strongly be let down. While this isn’t a terrible album, it’s nowhere near as strong as the past efforts. “Humanity Overdose”, “Jack The Knife” and “Child Of The Wild” are the only real stand out tracks, “Emotional Skies” as well if you don’t mind the style change. Hopefully the band learns from this album to not continue with it and go back to their original sound.

01. Emotional Skies – 5:11
02. Purgatory Time – 4:44
03. I Refuse – 4:35
04. Humanity Overdose – 6:16
05. The Assailant – 3:43
06. Power – 6:05
07. No Tears For Strangers – 5:48
08. The Return – 5:09
09. Jack The Knife – 4:23
10. Child Of The Wild – 5:55
Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10


Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.