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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Falcon

Falcon

Review by Gary Hill

If you are a fan of classic hard rock and metal or stoner metal, you will probably like these guys a lot. What you'll hear from these guys is sort of a combination of those types of music with an emphasis on Black Sabbath, southern rock and perhaps Captain Beyond and the like. The band is composed of three veterans in the personages of Perry Grayson (Destiny's End, Artisan), Greg Lindstrom (Cirith Ungol) and Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine). This thing is quite tasty, although there is a certain sense of sameness to a lot of it. Still, can't the same be said of a lot of other great bands? If you like this style of music (and it's one of my favorites) then you really need to check out Falcon. From my research the disc seems a bit hard to track down, so you might want to have a look at the band's website for more information.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Downer
The riff on this track feels a lot like vintage Black Sabbath, but the vocals have a garage band sort of texture. The main selling point on this track is the meaty guitar sound. A keyboard solo adds a retro feeling, but then the guitar screams out a smoking Sabbathesque solo. This is retro and oh, so tasty.
Castle Peak
If the sounds of the last track had you thinking "Black Sabbath," be prepared for a gear shift. As the first riffing chord of this rocker grinds in your mind will either be screaming "Lynyrd Skynyrd" or "Molly Hatchet." I suppose the other alternative would be both at the same time - it's noisy in there isn't it? In any event, this cruncher is all about that classic southern rock sound. The vocals here are better. They seem to have a texture like a doom metal band - like maybe Sleep. This has such a tasty classic rock texture it's amazing. I love this track. The faster paced bridge has a bit of Sabbath, with a healthy dose of Molly Hatchet and more 1970's guitar rock. The guitar solo segment here is a scorcher. All in all, you can sum this track up with two words, "it rocks."
On The Slab
The vocals here are provided by Bobby Liebling of Pentagram in a guest appearance. The cut presents another slab of music that feels a lot like Black Sabbath. Even so, there are still some hints of that Southern rock texture to this number. The song is lyrically a tribute to Thin Lizzy legend Phil Lynott.
The Crying of Lot 246
Black Sabbath and classic Southern rock are back here together again and they do play well with each other on this solid rocker. There's no new ground broken here, but when it sounds this good, who really cares? I'm particularly enamored with the guitar solo grind on this one.
Redman
The sole cover song on this disc, I can't say that I've ever heard the original. This one, a tribute to the plight of the Native American, was originally performed by Bang. It's another solid slab of classic rock mixed with what has come to be called "stoner metal." Once again the guitar solo section really steals the show.
High Speed Love
As this cut pounds in I hear Judas Priest, but the vocals are something more akin to a cross between Alice Cooper and rap metal. This one is definitely a change of pace with more unique riff driven sound. There's even a bit of Ted Nugent thrown into this mix and perhaps a touch of Rick Derringer. It's a good thing because as good as this was the same formula was starting to feel a little old. It was perfect time to have some new life breathed in to the album.
Route 666
Racecar sound effects start this. Then it moves to a tentative riff that feels a bit like Motorhead. As the song proper comes in it seems more like very early Iron Maiden, but the vocals are more in line with Megadeth. Once again it's a good change up. While I prefer the earlier sounds of the group this is a good way to keep things fresh.
Shelob's Lair
This one has more '70's retro rocking sounds, but with less of a leaning on anyone specific. The Iron Maiden references do come to mind on certain riffs here, though. Still, this is overall another tasty chunk of retro hard rock/metal.
Half Past Human
They saved the best for last. This one starts with a rather metal ballad-like approach, but this is one that gradually grows in true epic sense. It's without question the most dynamic track on show, and I would say the tastiest. Talk about leaving on a high note - this one seems to intensify and incorporate the best sounds of the whole album to create a track that will leave you wanting more. That's exactly what you want in a closer.
 
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