My gentle readers will likely be aware that I am a Falconer fan. Stefan Weinerhall has a great depth of creativity in his compositions and a style of songwriting all his own (though it may indeed be an acquired taste), and Mathias Blad’s singing is truly incredible: it is not often in metal that one comes across a theatre- or opera-trained baritone who hits each note perfectly and still comes out sounding like a rocker, yet this is precisely Mathias’ blessing. The two others I can think of off the top of my head are Powerwolf’s Attila Dorn and Saviour Machine’s Eric Clayton. And here, on ‘Vid Rosornas Grav’ (‘By the Rose’s Grave’), from their most recent album Armod (Poverty), all of Falconer is really playing at peak capacity (and entirely in Swedish this time, as opposed to the mostly- or wholly-English lyrical content of their previous releases). These sorts of bands really hit all of the right notes for me - with both a sense of the melodic and beautiful (and wistfully melancholic in the way few outside Scandinavian can truly pull off without sounding corny), without sacrificing the metal (the solid, chunky riffs and the relentless, aggressive tempo).
Guitarist Stefan Weinerhall’s and drummer Karsten Larsson’s (and Mathias Blad’s sister Heléne’s) former band Mithotyn, as well, was also an incredibly awesome band. Here is their song ‘Upon Raging Waves’, from their 1997 album In the Sign of the Ravens: