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Die, LotFP, wontcha? - Noooooo....

Discussion in 'LotFP' started by Occam's Razor, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. Occam's Razor

    Occam's Razor Andreas - LotFP

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    Bringing at least some feeble heartbeats back...

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Falcon – Die Wontcha[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Liquid Flames Records – 10 – 53:18 [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]As I am writing this, two years have passed since this album has been recorded. However, Falcon did not release Die Wontcha until a couple of months ago and even now are not going to receive the exposure they deserve – mind you, I am not talking about currying favors with the many potential buyers of all the things currently perceived as “metal”; neither do I expect that the retro craze appreciates the band's second release more than the eponymous debut. Hypothetically though, Falcon could appeal to both audiences, only if some smart label marketed them as cool and authentic – which they are, only that these people won't know without getting it shoved down their throats by some tastemaker. Let us play that part, then.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Live in the backlash of hipper times[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]When music had much more to say[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Not just faceless brutality[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]A vicious cycle revolves today[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]No trapdoors. No look beyond any horizon, and not over anybody's shoulder either. This bird perches in backwoods devoid of irony and would rather bite its tongue than put it into the cheek to betray its own cause. The reason for this lies in the respective backgrounds of the band members. Rock.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Trio rock, this is. Singer and guitarist Perry M. Grayson delivered some power metal greatness with Destiny's End before moving on to Artisan and Isen Torr, where he displayed a fond love of more classical forms of the genre. Darin McCloskey is also the skinsman of Pale Divine and now teams up with no other than Greg Lindstrom, former bass player of Cirith Ungol, as the rhythm section of Falcon. [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]As the band's backbone, Lindstrom and McCloskey do not waste any time with frills and decorations, giving Grayson space to develop his equally heave-ho riffs and especially some delightful solos and leads. This is where one strong influence of Falcon becomes obvious: Thin Lizzy's signature guitar sound, which was both sweet and beefy, thus making for a nowadays rare kind of heaviness - it is refreshing to hear riffs that are actually given a chance to unfold and in return allow bass and drums to be individually discernible... not that Falcon are in any way progressive, but as they do not indulge in redundant staccatos as the conversation-enders and no-brainers of modern metal, their four-on-the-floor beats will do...[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]...and this already in the energetic opening Jimmy Clark. Why a band of this stripe writes a song about a race car driver (Primus may do that) I don't know; maybe it is because Clark died at the peak of the hippie movement in 1968. Anyhow, Grayson's eulogy sounds familiar immediately to those familiar with the debut. The mention of Tim Baker is almost inevitable with respect to the band's four stringer as well as Grayson's personal preferences, although the two voices are less comparable in stylistic terms than because of their crudeness. Corporate whore shows the frontman as not particularly versatile in his angular approach, but if these melody lines are not catchy, then what is? Actually, the fluent shift between melodic and rhythmic passages is admirable and shows nothing of other bands' frequent ineptness to reconcile both without predictable interruptions. Instead, the breaks in this and the other songs pick up on the lost practice of changing between contrasting (thematically, rhythmically, etc.) motifs without losing the compositional red thread... cool as well how the track returns to its initial motif in the end.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Accordingly and apart from the occasional hint at an harmonic extension especially in Elfland's Daughter, Lindstrom plays in unison with the guitar and locks in tightly with McCloskey, all the time keeping his characteristic plucky tone, which is not as prominent as on the classics of his old band. The song refers to a story of Lord Dunsany; the title says it: fantasy stuff in the old vein, and a love story, too. Cirith Ungol were similarly prone to myth, legend and the more imaginative spheres of storytelling, while Falcon also admit the Grand Funks and Blue Cheers from a better past as influential peers. This branch of hard rock (often tagged “obscure” maybe for the respective groups' lasting status as commercial also-rans) has often procured the kind of frank but brash lyrics that make for a certain embarrassment on the listener's side. Get an impression of it during Corporate Whore, an accusation of former rebels turned conformists, featuring hilarious rhymes of “Hendrix” and “cocaine fix”. However, Grayson's at times clumsily simple truisms ring true in some ears. After all, Finger-pointing to the moneyed usually works from the position of an alleged has-been. Personal hardships read well on the suffering artist's CV, so if you have not encountered any so far, you might dramatize a little – it is all for the sake of good music... did I mention that the bass and cripsy guitar spots here make up for all that?[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]As an instrumental, The Wreck of the John Deere sidesteps any such issue and pads along bluesy paths in the lead guitar section, adding some keyboard strings for texture: a nice break or alternately the intro of the hypothetic b-side – which starts with a cover version of Leader the opener of Buffalo's 1972 album Dead Forever. The Australians' song passes as one of Falcon's own, being rhythmically simple and lyrically pushing the right buttons once more to blame all the world's wrongs on the movers and shakers. The midsection of the eighth song – named after the band – returns to pushing some synthesizer keys as well as emotional ones, being of a dreamy quality that allows the listeners to drift away for some time; he will be back spot on for the highly memorable Everything There Is To Know with a (fake?) hammond more burning than Grayson's natural organ. The singer stays as distanced from his audience as his lyrics permit, being the straightforward display of basic feelings they are. This text is probably the best on the album, since it is open to at least a bit of individual interpretation.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Finally, we have Show You All, apparently a 1970s tune by Lindstrom for which Robert Garven drew the background image in the CD booklet. Where Cirith Ungol had Michael Whelan, Falcon grabbed an image by sci-fi artist Virgil Finlay for the front cover of Die Wontcha. This rounds up how the band wants us to see them: Falcon carry the torch of the likes mentioned, not to forget Pentagram and Sabbath as the usual suspects. What makes this album so appealing though is of course not its novelty, but the fact that it is a cut above the lasting vintage buzz; Grayson may be in his mid thirties only, but he plays and thinks not like one born too late. The music will seem beyond criticism anyway if you like the references, as it does not force any strained novelty. However, only through Grayson's mouth, the messages turn into truths timelessly valid rather than pushing for mock authenticity and faux nostalgia.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]To paraphrase what The Lamp Of Thoth recently sang, doom has nothing to do with laughing, but when I hear sullen reality depicted in such warm colors as on Die Wontcha, I can do with this and any other stereotype. I have been living with this album – this reality – now for some weeks, and I could not prove Falcon wrong so far; rather than belittling what is a dying breed of rock music, I admit it has grown on me.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I'm going through the motions of having a good time[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I'm trying to like it, but something just ain't right[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]www.falconband.net[/FONT]
     
  2. Cheiron

    Cheiron Member

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    Buffalo is a good band.

    I really don't know what to think based on your review. I guess what I get out of it is 'Falcon is a continuation of these artists past work, and is not retro-metal, such as The Sword. The musical elements you'd expect from the three artists, are present on this album. If you like their past work, you'll like their current work as its not a downgrade.' At least something like that.

    Parts of your review are very confusing. For example you state, "[h]owever, Grayson's at times clumsily simple truisms ring true in some ears. After all, Finger-pointing to the moneyed usually works from the position of an alleged has-been. Personal hardships read well on the suffering artist's CV, so if you have not encountered any so far, you might dramatize a little – it is all for the sake of good music... did I mention that the bass and cripsy guitar spots here make up for all that?" I really have no idea what you are saying here. I don't understand what you mean about the embarassment issue. Are you embarassed because you think the lyrics are just piss poor, yet you still find truth in them?

    And I don't think these artists background is 'rock' especially when you follow up with saying their roots are power metal, classical forms (of power metal?), and Cirtih Ungol which I've never heard described as 'rock.'
     
  3. Occam's Razor

    Occam's Razor Andreas - LotFP

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    I do not know if we (that is: appreciators of metal and related) are always so firmly convinced about our often conservative stance and simplistic arguments when discussing certain issues. These lyrics display that, because they do not question the holy cows of the long-haired music friend at all - these you can often summarize with one word, e.g. freedom (including all that hippie stuff, purpoted individuality and the "soul" untouchable on a pedestal). Embarassment is what some of us (if I am allowed to speak of a community, assuming that some thoughts are shared just as musical tastes) feel in terms of these simple thoughts we have - thoughts that are reflected in these lyrics, and thoughts I am sure we all would nod affirmation to at certain times.

    Your confusion about the supposed inconsistency between power metal and rock puts forth once more the problem of the division between these genres - if there is actually one. I can only speak for me and European listeners of my generation, which have not - as the current generation of North American metal fans in their late teens and early twenties - been socialized immediately with extreme metal and its emulators (say, Killswitch Engage and all that jazz). We all come from the more mellow stuff one would tag hard rock or whatever, and I guess that goes for you as well. I assume from what I could gather from Mr. Grayson so far that being into one (metal) does not exclude the other (rock), which also goes for the "background" we are talkig about.

    And what is so important about pointing me to a supposed mistake of mine because I claim that Grayson has the rock background, which - according to you - contradicts his involvment in Destiny's End.

    Cirith Ungol to me are a rock band of the proto metal category - I count Black Sabbath, Oentagram, Blue Cheer and Deep Purple ("In Rock") to this category as well, but in the end, it is a matter of perspective. If you want to let metal start already with these bands - there you go...

    What you should gather from this review is that the album is good and you should go buy it. The vital element for me when assessing albums is that I can live with them for more than just a flighty period of time. This has been and is the case here. This I pointed out. What to expect is clear, what the album is is clear, and what the album is not is clear. Expecting deeper thoughts would be overshooting the mark with respect to the down to earth music on Die Wontcha. If you want a more thorough musical description... I did not deem that necessary here.

    Honestly, you know just as well what this is about and only wanted to say something smart here, right?:)
     
  4. Cheiron

    Cheiron Member

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    You posted it in the forum. I read it carefully, and had questions regarding it. I was confused by several of your statements, not understanding what you meant, though assuming I might understand them moreso if I heard the album.

    As for the 'rock' statement, your comment that "[t]his bird perches in backwoods devoid of irony and would rather bite its tongue than put it into the cheek to betray its own cause," is because of their 'rock' roots, made me pause for a bit to consider what you were saying. I started to think of how having a 'rock' background would preclude one from the traps of irony. Though, I think that I was just misinterpreting it, and you were only saying that they've been doing this for a while so its not retro.

    Thanks for the review! It sent me on a journey to check out some various bands, such as Isen Torr.
     
  5. Occam's Razor

    Occam's Razor Andreas - LotFP

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    Maybe the "irony-free zone" is something German. It is just the total opposite of the retro, hipster or whatever you may call it trend which trivialises what others used to take seriously. A band that is similar in its principles to Falcon, though not in sound, is Sacred Steel. It is all out metal and totally dedicated to the cause. Dead serious, no irony and laughing when nobody watches them. Maybe this (still) goes for Manowar too, but I feel there is too much comedy out there. It should be serious, at least in terms of music and what it stands for, even though you may laugh about yourself from time to time, it helps.

    Thank you for actually reading the review, there seem to be few who actually do this attentively.
    :)
     
  6. BenMech

    BenMech student of the d'eh

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