Freedom Call - Eternity
Germany's Freedom Call are back with their third full lenghtalbum, and this band has in short time taken big steps and now belong to the prime of what power metal of today has to offer. For the yet uninitiated listeners I can say that Freedom Call play a seldom heard variant of "Happy Metal" with power, meaning that this is music that make you in a very good mood - that really lift you up and in songs like Land Of Light and Island Of Dreams it feels like Mr. Bay and c:o are saints that has descended from the heavens to announce that they have saved the world from further sufferings, and are now playing metal-clad gospels to bring forth the message.
This album doesn't offer much new to what we already have heard from Freedom Call before - all the characteristic ingrediants are here: the trumpets and the always in the background present fanfares, the catchy hooks and the choirs, and the very flamboyant and pompous choruses. The melodylines are brilliant and megacatchy, and the keyboardarrangements are as always very well done and perfectly divided over the compositions. Sometimes it brings the thoughts in the directions of Europe during their Final Countdown-era - only about 3000 times better.
Even though this doesn't expand far from their earlier work, we get to see some previously untreaded paths being crossed here. For example in the closing Turn Back Time, which is a very beautiful song that has strong influences of swedish folkmusic over it, and in the killer Ages Of Power where they even make use of deathmetalvocals in some parts. Overall we get pretty much what we expect after the killer previous album, and this album doesn't make me disappointed in any area.
I think the title of the opener Metal Invasion tells us just about what is going on here. We are being served a very compact dose of power metal in it's purest form here. This is the kind of Metal that makes some people talk bad about this genre, though, and the reason they give to that is that it's not real "Metal" - not brutal or aggressive enough, but this is exactly what Metal is to me: Brilliant guitarriffs with majestic arrangements and choruses that make you smile and sing along. Freedom Call proves that metal doesn't have to be built on aggressiveness and hate - 2 things that I have never understood what they have in common with Metal. A thing that I have noticed is that the angrier the boys are, the worse are the music. The keyword in the best of music from the metalworld has always been harmony, and Freedom Call has plenty of that, I can assure you. The use of the mighty organs, pianos and the trumpetal arrangements in somewhat medieval style are made with perfection. Another of Freedom Calls trademarks are the majestic choirs in the choruses, and they are really taking advantage of that concept this time too.
The album kicks off with 3 really strong songs with furious riffing and powerful vocalefforts, of which Ages Of Power are the ones to mention, and than the - in this case named Bleeding Heart - first slow song shows up. A pretty anonymous history in this context, but than it takes off again in full speed with Warriors and The Eyes Of The World, which once again are filled with melodies out of this world. Overall there is a good pace on this album, and I think it's in that area Freedom Call really do themself justice. The slower songs normally tend to be a bit too flat for them, but on this album they are surprisingly good, though. Flame In The Night that comes next are a midtempotrack that makes it on the simple but beautiful chorus. The three closers are 2 fast ones, Land Of Light and Island Of Dreams, and this is where the album hits it's climax, and it all ends with the brilliant semi-ballad Turn Back Time.
The production are absolutely flawless - as usual with Freedom Call - with crystal clear and heavy guitars, and the mighty Zimmerman behind the thundering drums are doing a tremendous job. The vocals of Chris Bay are better than before, and if I should put my fingers on a few things that have changed since last time, it might be that there are bit more heavier guitars, faster songs and that the production has been polished to perfection this time.
I have a hard time finding something to complain about on this album, since everything is very well done, composed and performed by these gentlemen - just as last time. That should perhaps be it, then - that they haven't changed much. But I am not of the opinion that a band has to change musical direction on every album in order to keep good grades - as long as the songs are new and feel fresh, and they certainly do in this case. Worth mentioning is also that on this album we get to hear backing vocals by Tobias Sammet of Edguy and Oliver Hartmann of At Vance.
Freedom Call have here made yet another very strong album, and this feels like the logical step to make after Crystal Empire. They perhaps made it extremely hard for themselves by composing such a dynamitealbum as Crystal Empire back in 2001 - cause that is hard to top - but this is if not better, so just as good. This is a solid buy if you are into wellplayed powermetal that lifts you up and have strong singalong potential.