Falconer - Among Beggars And Thieves
Metal Blade
Celtic / Folk-Influenced Power Metal
11 songs (49'26")
Release year: 2008
Falconer, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Marty
The return of original vocalist Mathias Blad for their Northwind album hailed a triumphant return to the Falconer sound that just floored the metal world with their debut album and Chapters From A Vale Forlorn. The folk/celtic themes and melodies had returned along with the defining aspects of the band's sound; Mathias Blad's somewhat calm and unforced vocals along with sometimes fierce and crushing power metal. With their newest album Among Beggars and Thieves (their sixth), the band once again returned to Andy La Rocque's studio to record. With themes surrounding the misery, poverty and hard times of life in medieval Sweden, Falconer has not just done Northwind Part 2 rather, they have expanded the theatrical and atmospheric aspects of their sound.

Field Of Sorrow is one of many tracks that have a strong traditional/celtic feel to the melodies along with speedy and galloping riffs. More like material from their first album, this one (and many others on this album), use sudden stops/tempo changes to create drastic ebbs and flows in the dynamics. Man Of The Hour is one of the best tracks on the album and like Field Of Sorrow, interrupts speedy riff driven power metal with sudden stops and this time we get a very Jethro Tull like vocal with flute accents. Even the chorus has Jethro Tull “leanings” and the celtic flavored lead guitar fills bring Blind Guardian to mind. Vargaskall features hammering double bass fuelled stuttering riffs and along with the very traditional overall sound, we get guitar orchestrations and even some a capella vocals with lyrics that are entirely sung in Swedish. Other tracks including Viddernas Man and Skula, Skorpa, Skalk also feature Swedish lyrics with Viddernas Man having more of a mid tempo melancholy feel and Skula, Skorpa, Skalk once again giving us a more traditional/celtic sound with pounding heavy segments. Crushing heaviness is front and center with the tracks Carnival Of Disgust, Mountain Men and Pale Light Of Silver Moon with Carnival Of Disgust slowly evolving from an acoustic intro to mid tempo with traditional sounding riffs before a heavier Children Of The Grave like gallop kicks in. Mountain Men features furious double bass work and pounding heavy riffs with some orchestrations and celtic interludes that once again brings both Jethro Tull and Blind Guardian to mind. Pale Light Of Silver Moon gives us straight up speedy riff driven power metal with hammering double bass work, Queen-like guitar harmonies and a solid melodic chorus. Boiling Led is more mid tempo and heavy with great driving drum work and a really smooth and solid transition from the pre-chorus to chorus section. Two tracks feature female vocals in a duet style with Mathias Blad. A Beggar Hero is a short piece that features acoustic guitar and soft and melancholy vocals whereas the album closer Dreams And Pyres sees Facloner offering a veritable 7 minute theatrical feast with the use of orchestrations, choirs, guitar orchestrations sudden speedy and heavy power metal parts; all presented in a fashion that we have never yet heard before by this band.

Mathias Blad finally sounds "comfortable" with this album in that his vocals blend better than ever with the music of Falconer and you get less of a "contrasty" feel with his voice and the music. The professional theatrical training of Mathias Blad has finally been utilized with an album that has a great, heavy sound and much heavier than Northwind. Among Beggars and Thieves sees Falconer using more dynamics in their sound going from fierce and heavy to melancholy in an instant. Lots of acoustic work, a capella vocal segments and more complex Blind Guardian like arrangements gives this album a more "adventurous" sound. Lower guitar tunings really bump up the heaviness and the band really has never sounded better. Although the songs overall are better on Northwind, Among Beggars and Thieves is still a very high quality offering from Falconer and one that really does take a few listens to finally yield its rewards.

Killing Songs :
Man Of The Hour, Carnival Of Disgust, Mountain Men, Pale Light Of Silver Moon and Dreams And Pyres
Marty quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Falconer that we have reviewed:
Falconer - Black Moon Rising reviewed by Andy and quoted 88 / 100
Falconer - Northwind reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
Falconer - Grime vs. Grandeur reviewed by Ben and quoted 58 / 100
Falconer - The Sceptre Of Deception reviewed by Marty and quoted 94 / 100
Falconer - Chapters From a Vale Forlorn reviewed by Mike and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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