Freedom Call – Beyond

Freedom Call - BeyondFreedom Call are the purveyors of the cheesiest German power metal you have ever heard. The moniker “happy metal,” originally deigned to designate Helloween’s brand of metal, never was more appropriate than it is for each and every album this particular band puts out. Here’s our review.

Beyond is the eighth album the band has released, and to be fair, not much has changed. And as long as this troupe is being fronted by guitarist, vocalist and composer Chris Bay, I suspect we won’t see any real change in their sound any day soon. But that’s alright; fans know what they can expect of the band, and Freedom Call happily delivers. With an emphasis on happy.

From Union of the Strong, it’s all cheerful optimism ‘til the very end. Cut into fourteen bite-sized chunks with only the title track surpassing the seven minute mark, Freedom Call stomps through a material at a steady pace. I’m also happy to report that Beyond sounds a lot more metal than Land of the Crimson Dawn, which sported a few overly annoying flirts with eighties radio rock (Hero On Video and Rockin’ Radio being the main offenders here). This band works best when they deliver fast-paced, full-on happy metal, but when Bay decides to get groovy and rocking, things get annoying real fast, and with only Come on Home being slightly irritating, we’ve nothing to complain here.

What’s infinitely more difficult, however, is to pinpoint some true highlights other than the title track, which is bombastic and long and suitably epic. On Beyond we find a band doing what they do best, putting out their best effort since, arguably, 2002’s Eternity. It’s also so chock-full of more of the same that you can’t keep yourself from wondering where you have heard it all before. Chances are, you already have, if you’re familiar with the band’s earlier records. On Beyond you’ll find the exact same colourful guitar solos, the same pompous and omnipresent keyboards and those same, slightly wine-y vocals, courtesy of Chris Bay.

You know what it is with Freedom Call? On paper, it comes across as terribly annoying, and in a certain way it actually is. On the other side, there’s also an immediate and irresistable charm to what these guys do, and it’s very hard not to get swept away by Bay’s knack of writing overly catchy tunes. This also makes it very hard to not recommend this album to those looking for a good collection of catchy metal songs to help them get through their summer days. In the end, Freedom Call still sounds like the  metal equivalent of a unicorn farting musical rainbows; Beyond is cheerful, carefree and  almost overly melodic, like ABBA on speed, and comes with bagpipes included. Let me see you resist that.

Release date: out now
Label: SPV Steamhammer

Tracklist:

  1. Union Of The Strong (5:02)
  2. Knights Of Taragon (4:43)
  3. Heart Of A Warrior (3:12)
  4. Come On Home (4:03)
  5. Beyond (7:48)
  6. Among The Shadows (3:44)
  7. Edge Of The Ocean (3:36)
  8. Journey Into Wonderland (3:58)
  9. Rhythm Of Light (4:02)
  10. Dance Off The Devil (3:45)
  11. Paladin (4:07)
  12. Follow Your Heart (3:51)
  13. Colours Of Freedom (4:15)
  14. Beyond Eternity (3:03) 

Line-up:

  • Chris Bay – vocals, guitar
  • Lars Rettkowitz – rhythm guitar
  • Ilker Ersin – bass guitar
  • Ramy Ali – drums

Further surfing:

Review by Ralph Plug

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