The latest album by Falconer was released on June 3rd, and as a huge fan of theirs I was very invested emotionally in how well this album would turn out. Especially intriguing is the album’s title, Armod, which translates to “Poverty” in English, and signifies the fact that the band intentionally looked back to their Swedish roots for more folk influences for a more “down-to-Earth” sound. Also worth noting is the fact that guitarist Stefan Weinerhall has said this album doesn’t define future musical directions for the band, and that it’s a one-time outing thematically. Let’s see if they accomplished their aims.
There are two things immediately noticeable about this album, both in keeping with the theme of this album being “down to earth” and folkier. The first is that the whole album is sung in Swedish, which makes for some interesting points I’ll get to later. The second is that the music is markedly heavier, with more distortion and even some “chuggier” riffs that I wasn’t expecting. This is apparent from the first track, “Svarta Änkan”.
Now, when it comes to lyrics in metal, many times they’re not easy to hear or understand so it’s not exactly a focus. But, put the lyrics in a foreign language and I’m bound to look them up. In this case, I’m certainly glad I did. Many of the songs deal with traditional Swedish mythology and legends, especially in the case of “Dimmornas Drottning” and “Griftefrid”. The latter is a striking and brutal story if you care to look it up.
Musically, the folk influence is felt heavily as well, with some unconventional instruments making an appearance as well (violin on “Eklundapolskan”, tribal-sounding drums on “Herr Peder Och Hans Syster”, which is another particularly brutal folk story.) Despite all this increased heaviness and Earthy sound, the old Falconer sound of melodic guitars and a medieval-metal feel is certainly still there. This is especially felt in the vibe of “Fru Silfver”, and the unmistakable classically-trained vocals of Matthias Blad.
Overall, I’d say Falconer achieved their goals quite admirably with Armod and managed to pursue a new direction in a manner that still fits quite well with their other albums. A great effort, and if you’re a fan of Falconer’s previous work you won’t be disappointed.