Sunday, March 2, 2014

Freedom Call - Beyond

I first heard Freedom Call back in the early part of the previous decade when I was on a huge power metal kick with their 2002 album Eternity. This German band is known for having been founded by former Gamma Ray and Iron Savior drummer Dan Zimmermann and current Helloween guitarist Sascha Gerstner. They play your typical Euro power metal a la Helloween, Gamma Ray, Rhapsody, etc. but with less symphonics than the latter. After their 2002 album Eternity they seemed to have had a crisis in songwriting and just couldn't get their shit together to release a memorable album. They seemed to have redeemed themselves with their 2012 album Land of the Crimson Dawn. So now we have their eighth full length, Beyond. Were they able to keep the momentum going? Actually they were but the burning question is whether or not they were able to equal or top Eternity and the answer is....almost.

The album starts off really strong with the opener "Union of the Strong." This is your typical song of the genre with fast double bass, melodic verses and catchy choruses. Listening to this song you get the feeling that they have actually topped the album that actually set the bar for them. The song has great hooks and is catchy. The guitar work is top notch, which is to be expected of the genre. There really isn't a proper solo on this song but some harmonized classical scales but that doesn't take away from the song. As you go further into the album you feel that this will be their best album to date. Songs like "Knights of Taragon" and "Heart of a Warrior" keep it going with some really good power metal with emphasis on the power. But this a double edged sword because immediately following is the first major chunk of cheese, "Come on Home". I'm not sure if they were going for some sort of  a "Rise and Fall" thing with overly happy melody but it just doesn't work. And the cheesy "metal" lyrics make it even more absurd. Some may like this song but I think that it seriously took away from the flow of the album. There are two more songs that just don't belong, "Rhythm of Light" and "Dance Off the Devil". Some may like these poppy songs but I think they detract from the flow of this otherwise killer metal album with the latter being not as bad but is still one that I will forever skip. Luckily songs like the title track, "Among the Shadows", "Edge of the Ocean", "Journey Into Wonderland", and the closer "Beyond Eternity" redeem the album with good catchy metal songs.

So the final result is that this album falls short of being as good as Eternity but better than Land of the Crimson Dawn. It's a shame that they seem to not be able to write a consistent album because when these guys are on, they are fucking ON! This is not a bad album but they can, and have done, much better. Hopefully this is just another step for this band to match the quality of their previous offerings.


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