"In These Halls And Chambers"

By Lord Randall

Sweden’s melodic metal powerhouse FALCONER has been at it for well over a decade, churning out folk-tinged, dark-around-the-edges albums that have somehow – despite being quality affairs for the most part – failed to establish the band as a major touring act. On the eve of "Black Moon Rising", founding guitarist Stefan Weinerhall shared a flagon of ale with Lord Randall, who finds out that becoming a “major touring act” isn’t even what FALCONER is going for…far from it.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: "Black Moon Rising" is your, what, 7th album done at Sonic Train with Andy LaRocque? Do you feel that "if it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality where the albums sound good and you're comfortable with the studio process, or did you think of working at another studio/with another producer for this album?

STEFAN WEINERHALL: Well it's the 8th actually. Of course working elsewhere could bring something new and different to the band. Since we're not really a band looking to conquer the world, we know what we like and are, honestly speaking, quite lazy and content we just stick with Andy. It's what we like, and we know that the work and living conditions in the studio is great, so that's fine enough.

WC: The title track is when the speed element first really grabs you, and speed being something most European bands focus on over the more "dirty" sounding heaviness of most US bands, do you feel that speed metal is more a European thing at this point?

SW: For me speed metal is HELLOWEEN and all that thing started in Europe. Honestly speaking, I'm no expert in metal music, so I'm afraid I can't give you any smart answer. I do agree with you that the very melodic stuff seems to come out of Europe.

WC: Having never really been a full time live band, do you think that's given you more freedom in composition, knowing you wouldn't necessarily have to be able to pull off some of the more technical/cinematic bits on stage? Also, does not being tied to an album/tour/album/tour cycle make things easier when life events (work/family) would make touring more difficult?

SW: Exactly, playing the stuff live is not the biggest issue for us and we necessarily don't have to play the most technical song live either. We have a saying in the band that goes "we'll fix it in the studio".

Falconer is a hobby thing for all of us, [and] we have never risked or sacrificed anything to go full in on the band. The band needs to adapt to our lives, and what puts food on our table. With many of us getting houses, families etc., the time for the band have decreased. I think that's just natural. In the beginning we were sort of tied down by Mathias' schedules in the theatres and musicals, but as time went by it just fitted our "grown up lifestyle" with loans, lawns to mow, kids to drive to soccer practice, and houses to rebuild.

WC: How long after "Grime Vs. Grandeur" did it take before you realized you needed Mathias [Blad] back in the band? Would FALCONER have forged on, even if he hadn't returned?

SW: Could have been 4-5 months. It felt we had strayed away from what we were, and adapted our music to what made Kristoffer sound good. I still think the "Grime... "album sounds good, but it felt slightly more alien to me. As I came up with the good ol' stuff again I just got Mathias' voice in my head and thought that it would probably just be a half-assed product if we didn't have him behind the mic again. If Mathias wouldn't have returned I think we would have continued anyway but maybe taken a slightly different turn in music.

WC: Thinking back a bit, after "Armod", did you wonder about the future of the band? Did you have it in your head already that the next album had to be harder, had to show FALCONER still had all its "teeth"?

SW: Pretty much yes but there wasn't any exact plan, then the family tragedy made it's mark on the sound too, to the better I must say now in retrospect. After the long break I allmost didn't listen to music and when I finally came around to do I sort of felt a bit sentimental and started listening to older stuff I had recorded during my years but also stuff I liked in the past like BOLT THROWER, KREATOR, DEATH, SATYRICON, etc., All that I think took me back in time and gave me sort of the same inspiration I had in the beginning.

 WC: 'Halls And Chambers' is, I believe, the most memorable, anthemic FALCONER song in recent memory. What were you thinking about lyrically, and do you ever foresee a concept album?

 SW: No more concept albums for me. The lyric is one of few that really have a real medieval touch to it on this album. Linger[ing] spirits of victims of a medieval cruel king. It would be proper to do a video of...... The chorus for that song has been stuck to me for 2 years now humming it in the shower, at work, watching TV, playing with my kids. The most memorable chorus I have ever made.

WC: Is there a point when you see yourself sacrificing technicality for melody? How hard is it to balance between the two, and have there been moments in the band’s history where you've gone too far in one way or the other?

SW: Melody has almost always taken the upper hand. That's the problem with many prog bands, they just make it too difficult for the listener without reason. The forced feeling of showing how good they are is often destructive to the song. Melody is the center of music. JETHRO TULL is one of very few prog bands I love, and  I mean love. They somehow seem to keep the melody and still make difficult structures. Then of course simple verse-chorus-verse structures can get boring in the long run so some surprises and twists are necessary.

WC: Since we don't see any tours forthcoming, what's next in the FALCONER camp?

SW: Maybe a music video, if that doesn't happen we're looking into some festivals in 2015 if we manage to get some proper proposals.