Thursday, January 1, 2015

Freedom Call – Beyond

In a genre built on darkness, power metal has always been the odd man out. Despite boasting many of metal’s most popular bands, the subgenre fails to attract many because of its more upbeat sound. This makes Freedom Call, the happiest band in the world, even more polarizing. For 15 years, frontman Chris Bay and the rest of the band have been pumping out some of the cheesiest metal in existence with varying degrees of success. Like many bands, Freedom Call’s early work was fantastic. After that, however, it’s been somewhat of a mixed bag. With “Beyond”, the band has almost brought back the glory of the first three records. Though this album isn’t quite as good as those ones, it is a formidable effort.

Opening cut “Union of the Strong” is not only the catchiest song, but also the best. As you may have guessed, Freedom Call’s music lives or dies by the quality of the band’s melodies, whether sung or played on guitar or keyboards. In general, the first 6 songs as a whole tend to have better melodies than the later ones. In fact, tracks like “Rhythm of Light” and “Dance Off The Devil” are tamer and aren’t built around excessively cheerful melodies. This is why these songs fail to be as enticing as the ones preceding them. To be fair to the band, the songs that are in their more typical style are definitely not original. If you are a Freedom Call fan, most of this album will sound familiar, and at times even reminiscent of old records. That isn’t a bad thing, but it definitely explains why there is a bit of experimentation.

One particularly nice surprise on “Beyond” is the lengthy title track. It opens with some piano playing, and the song is defined by its more epic qualities. The melodies are more majestic, and Bay’s vocal performance is otherworldly. “Beyond” brings back the feeling that “The Quest” had from the band’s second album, which is probably my favourite Freedom Call song, so it is a welcomed throwback. Other highlights include the playful “Come On Home”, as well as the great closer “Beyond Eternity”.

Beyond” is a very strong record from a production standpoint. Freedom Call has found a great mix where everybody can be heard easily and the catchy melodies are always front and center. It would be nice to hear a bit more of the rhythm section. The drums feel a little restrained on this album. It’s almost as if the band is playing it a bit too safe here. The music is supposed to be safe and fun, but some more aggressive drumming would add a nice edge to it. Nevertheless, this is a very minor complaint on an otherwise great record. Much like fellow power metal bands Edguy and HammerFall, Freedom Call has put out their best record in years, and that alone makes it worth a purchase!  

Be sure to check out and like Freedom Call on Facebook!

"Union of the Strong"
"Knights of Taragon"
"Come On Home"

Final Rating
4.4/5 or 88%. 

Written by Scott

No comments:

Post a Comment