Release date: September 22nd 2006
Metal Blade Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)

Power Metal

Rating: 85/100
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: October 14th 2006

Mathias Blad & Falconer is back at full strength! While the last 2 albums from Falconer weren’t awful by any means, the certain something was missing, and with the return of Mathias in the ranks that special magic is back in the band.

Not that Kristoffer Göbel (on 'The Sceptre of Deception' and 'Grime vs. Grandeur') did a terrible job as a vocalist, but he is clearly no match for Mathias Blad. Everything seems to move up at least a level with his return - his charismatic voice is a match made in heaven for Falconer, and Stefan Weinerhall has excelled on this album and has written some the best Falconer songs ever.

This album is almost as brilliant as their classic debut album, which many consider one of the best power metal albums in this rather young millennium. 'Northwind' manages to capture the magic of the past, and Falconer has returned a bit back to basics with the selection of songs on this album. The essential elements for a cool Falconer like plenty of powerful guitars, Mathias' operatic vocal acrobatics and lots of folklore influences are all still at hand. So everything is in place for a good album...

Weinerhall has written a very fine collection of songs; highlights include "Northwind" (a very good and powerful opener), "Spirit of the Hawk" (just take a listen to the super guitar harmonies in the chorus part), "Perjury and Sanctity" (one of their most complete songs ever), "Himmel så Trind" (a heavy folk song with Swedish lyrics) and "Home of the Knave" (actually a very simple song with a strong chorus).

'Northwind' ends up being a very good power metal album, which will surely please fans of their previous albums and should be appeal to most fans of this genre. I surely dig it a lot...

On a side note: Do get the special edition, which contains 4 re-arranged Swedish folk tunes, complete with Swedish lyrics. A nice addition for hardcore fans of Falconer!