Falconer - From a Dying Ember

Genre: Folk Metal, Power Metal

Having finally decided to put down the lute, Swedish bards Falconer turn back to their roots on what will be their final offering. Twenty years after a humble beginning, From a Dying Ember is the folk power metal outfit’s ninth full length, and their last. It comes six years after Black Moon Rising (2014), a slightly disappointing return to form of sorts after a play into their folksier side that made Among Beggars and Thieves (2008) and Armod (2011) low water marks in their discography. A lot of it is semi familiar territory, some hearkening to the olden days of Chapters from a Vale Forlorn (2002) while others rest closer to the likes of Among Beggars and Thieves. Part of the album is definitely playing it safe, kind of by the numbers, but still of a high caliber and back to a more inspired sound than on the previous couple of albums. 

Falconer - From a Dying Ember

The opening few tracks definitely bring back the style of olden glory, storytelling going hand in hand with the folk heavy songwriting. Mathias Blad proves to have lost none of his bardic charisma, coming through especially in opener Kings and Queens, but also in more introspective narratives like epic closer Rapture. The vocal melodies are ostensibly Falconer, Blad making a valiant album from start to finish, channeling his inner calm and control, soaring tenor holding the big melodic choruses as well as the finer moments like (albeit fairly sappy) ballad Rejoice the Adorned. There are definitely weaker stuff on here as well. Bland Sump och Dy effectively shuts the momentum built by the first few tracks down; the song is just like most of their previous folksy Swedish language folk tunes, slow, drab and feeling mostly like something left out of Armod. Thrust the Dagger Deep is typical filler material, and even with an interesting solo it’s nowhere near interesting enough to keep afloat at the ass end of the album.

Melodically From a Dying Ember has heaps going for it. Aside from the great riff work there’s myriad sweet leads and great solos taking different twists and turns. Garnets and a Gilded Rose is a short mid album instrumental, guitarists Stefan Weinerhall and Jimmy Hedlund taking things to a medieval sound carrying over to Fool’s Crusade. Testify is set a quicker pace, more rooted in power metal, and once again features those sweet melodic guitars and Karsten Larsson double bass drums. Obviously the finale is the biggest number of the bunch. At near seven minutes, Rapture is all the Falconer Falconer could ever Falconer, while also stretching the influences beyond the folk metal realm. The guitars have a near black metal crunch and there is massive weight to the atmospheric instrumental passages. Meaty solos, furious double bass and an almost melancholy presence permeate this masterclass of a track, even though there’s an optimistic silver lining to Blad’s vocals and the line that closes it off; even alone at the edge of the void there’s a sense of joy. From a Dying Ember may not be Falconer’s best, but it is a Falconer album through and through, and good send off to a well earned rest after an illustrious career. So… comeback in 2025?

 

Standout tracks: Kings and Queens, Testify, Rapture

 

    

 
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