Sound — 10
In the beginning, there was power metal. And it was bland and low-quality, devoid of creativity and talent. And then there was Falconer. Their first release, the self-titled album "Falconer" is a killer. I generally dislike power metal, because of the lack of any decent vocals. Falconer is completely different. The music is fantastic, catchy, and creative. Most often, music of this type, especially "viking" metal, is full of feedback, shredding guitars, and blasting singers who just really yell the lyrics. That's all fine if that's what you like, but it is not for me. Falconer, on the other hand, is smooth, skillfully played, and well mixed. They blend clear instruments, with beautiful power metal riffs, along with some exotic instruments, to create this wonderful masterpiece. You may think, most bands have that all. Falconer is different, and that is thanks to Mathias Blad. Without him, I don't think I would really like Falconer that much. Blad is not a metal singer. He is s classically trained singer with a fantastic voice and great skill. More on him later.
Lyrics — 10
Generally, power metal, especially "viking" or "northern" metal, has a cheesy, boring lyric style. The singing is usually pretty bad, or okay at best. But thanks to Stefan and Mathias, Falconer has a harmonious mix of good ol' metal, with some new ideas and beautiful execution. The songs flow well, and they all sound great. The lyrics themselves are more creative and better-written than most other groups', and they are less repetitive and stupid with the same old "slay the enemy/viking" stuff. The songs are written more like ballads or folk songs, and they are rarely meta or reference modern things. they really could pass as metalized folk songs. And then there is the singing. As I said before, Mathias Blad is great. He is not a metal singer. He was classically trained, and did theatre stuff, before joining Falconer. The clean vocals are fantastic, and he truly is a marvelous singer. That is really what sets the band apart, and makes them who they are.
Also, in the Ultimate Edition, the acoustic songs are AWESOME. You can really hear Blad's immense vocal skill, and they are an improvement over the original songs.
Overall Impression — 10
Falconer's first album was fantastic. It was followed by another great one, two not great ones when Mathias was not singing, and then followed by some more great ones. Falconer is an amazing band, and the first album is one of my favorites from them. The "Falconer (Ultimate Edition)" is a great expansion on their original release. I would most certainly purchase the album many times. No other power metal can compare to Falconer. Great vocals, great lyrics, great instruments; I really love every facet of the album. If I had to pick some favorite songs, I would most certainly choose "Mindtraveller" (especially the acoustic version) and "A Quest for the Crown." The album is great, and you should definitely purchase it.