Falconer & Dragonland
The Underworld, Camden, London, England
Date: July 17th 2009
Attendance: 200 (approx.)


Disagree with me if you must, but I reckon that it’s from the stage that the skill of a Melodic Power Metal band really emerges. Of course it takes qualities such as discipline and a good ear for music to write and record quality albums but it’s the level of performance in front of an expectant crowd that sets the great bands apart from the average and the mediocre.

Tonight Sweden gives the London crowd a taste of what this Scandinavian country has to offer within the Power Metal sphere. Drangonland and Falconer are the genre’s ambassadors. The big question is: will their performances place the bands in the aforementioned category of ‘greats’?




From a personal viewpoint Dragonland were a revelation and the band totally blew me away.  And that’s my position clarified straight away. The keyboards of Elias Holmlid gives the band’s music a great atmosphere to wallow in but are also the source of several great Classically-tinged melodies. ‘Contact’ and ‘Supernova’ (both taken from their “Astronomy” album) were just 2 songs that evidenced this. In fact I’d go so far as to say that the Classical element was one of the things I enjoyed most in Dragonland’s music.

All the band members proved to be highly talented but particular mention must go to imposing vocalist Jonas Heidgert. Amazingly Jonas also used play drums before someone must have had the brainwave of suggesting he focuses on lead vocals. The power and sensitivity of his voice in tonight’s gig was something rarely heard from a Metal performer. Even when it came to the more subtle passages, as in ‘Forever Walking Alone’, he also managed to win the audience over. The aforementioned song – a power ballad - was in fact one of the most successful numbers of Dragonland’s set. Not all songs worked, though. One such song was ‘The Shores Of Our Land’ – maybe it’s not suited for a live delivery but it just didn’t click with me.

Dragonland concluded their set with a cover of the leading movie soundtrack of  “Neverending Story” which was virtually unrecognisable, even from the band’s own recorded version. Throughout the gig the band had been troubled by a poor sound and the situation reached it nadir in the Swedes’ finale. Then, the double-bass drumming drowned out most of the band and the keyboards were non-existent. Maybe the soundman thought the gig was over and switched the keyboard levels off.

Tonight’s gig has created an expectancy in me to see Dragonland play a large open-air festival as the band showed a lot of potential to withstand the demands of a wider success. Be sure to check them out if they perform anywhere near you.

The Shores Of Our Land
As Madness Took Me
Forever Walking Alone
The Neverending Story 

My rating: 80



The accolades being heaped upon Falconer could be down to a number of factors. Chief among them is having, in a relatively short space of time, developed their own sound within a highly overwrought genre. In fact it was the songs that possessed some ‘peculiarity’, such as those with Swedish lyrics, or the hip folk-sounding ‘Mindtraveller’, that went down best tonight.


Like Dragonland’s set, it was Falconer’s lead vocalist who made a lasting impression. Matthias Blad, an actor by profession, is in fact a very good vocalist but his laid-back vocal projection sometimes resulted in his singing being drowned out by the rest of the band, especially in the more aggressive parts.


The set-list was well selected with quite a few numbers taken from the recent “Among Beggars And Thieves” album. On the other hand, “Grime Vs Grandeur” and “The Sceptre Of Deception” were virtually ignored, probably a wise move considering the general high regard for the early and the latest releases. There wasn’t a moment when Falconer let down their guard and even the songs ‘Vargaskall’ and ‘Himmel Så Trind’, despite their foreign (well, ‘foreign’ for most Londoners) lyrics, were well appreciated by the audience. Mentioning the audience, Falconer seem to have established a loyal following as I noticed singing along to nearly every song of their set.


Despite sound problems that also seem to affect Falconer’s show, it was certainly an enjoyable performance. The best, however, was left for the end. ‘Clarion Call’ - from the band’s critically acclaimed “Chapters Of A Vale Forlorn” album – was the last song scheduled for the night and it really brought the house down with several sections of the audience singing the song from start to finish. A great atmosphere reigned. Consequentially the Falconer guys were hyped up and gave the song one hell of a delivery. Even though the gig had officially ended, ‘The Underworld’ kept screaming for more. The calls went on for several minutes until the crowd’s obstinacy was rewarded with an impromptu but excellent rendition of ‘Under The Glade’. 

Falconer have quite an unassuming and humble aura about them but maybe that’s why their fans respect them so much. Power Metal lives to fight another day.

Field Of Sorrow
Tower Of The Queen
Wings Of Serenity
Quest For The Crown
Man Of The Hour
Catch The Shadows
Himmel Så Trind
Upon The Grave Of Guilt
Boiling Led
Clarion Call 

My rating: 85


Attending: Chris