Freedom Call - Dimensions 3.5/5

Reviewed: 6-15-07





Tracklist:

1. Demons dance
2. Innocent world
3. United alliance
4. Mr. Evil
5. Queen of my world
6. Light up the sky
7. Words of endeavour
8. Blackened sun
9. Dimensions
10. My dying paradise
11. Magic moments
12. Far away


Hey, who’s up for a little game of word association? I’ll go first, shall I? I’ll say a name and you say the first thing that pops into your head... OK, here goes: Freedom Call...

Did you answer with "happy metal"? Well then, you are a winner! Cos those happy German power metallers are back with their 5th full-length CD, entitled ‘Dimensions’. Now anyone who knows Freedom Call will know the type of metal they play. Typically, fast and happy with lyrics that could make them a borderline Christian metal band. With poppy CD titles such as ‘Crystal empire’ and ‘Stairway to fairyland’, it’s no wonder why Freedom Call have been given this "happy metal" tag. Happy sounding they may be, but still, Freedom Call are entertaining and a very good metal band. Some hate them due to their sound and yet some like them... due to their sound.

After the very good previous CD, ‘The circle of life’, members Cedric Dupont (guitar) and Ilker Ersin (bass) left the band, and were replaced by Lars Rettkowitz and Armin Donderer. Dupont was only in the band for just ‘The circle of life’, while Ersin had been an original member of the band. Arriving in 2005, the band has had time to gel together and the end result is what we hear from ‘Dimensions’.

One thing that immediately stands out in this release would be its creativity. Since ‘Eternity’, Freedom Call has incorporated different elements into their sound and most of them for the better. It has given the band a more rugged, edgy feel, to go along with their "happy metal" banner. This came out more in their previous CD, ‘The circle of life’. But of course you can’t have Freedom Call without their trademark “happy metal" sounding tracks. Bottom line: ‘Dimensions’ contains both those mentioned elements, but pushed to another level.

As I stated earlier, ‘Dimensions’ is rather creative throughout the CD. Most of the songs are good, while some just make you cringe. I think Freedom Call has looked towards another “happy metal" band for some kind of inspiration; Italy’s own Rhapsody Of Fire. Now, don’t get me wrong, Freedom Call is in no way copying Rhapsody Of Fire’s “Hollywood” style of epic power metal, instead they have just taken some of their more bombastic elements, such as choirs and atmospheric pieces. That infused with Freedom Call’s typical sound, does make for one entertaining CD.

Where ‘Dimensions’ falls short, however, is just the over-the-top, way too happy choruses you hear on some of the tracks. Musically, the CD sounds great, but it’s just some of those awful choruses which stops you from enjoying the entire song. The cringe-fest reaches it’s peak with the last 3 tracks on the CD, “My dying paradise”, “Magic moments” and “Far away”, which are (in my opinion) the weakest tracks on there (especially “My dying paradise”), and a rather poor way to end the CD. Still, fans of Freedom Call will enjoy their more trademark sounding tracks, such as “Innocent world”, “United alliance” and “Queen of my world”, which are all pretty good and are in the same vein as past tracks such as “Carry on”, “High enough” ('The circle of life'), and also “Flying high” and “The eyes of the world” ('Eternity').

The most bombastic and creative track on the CD would have to be “Light up the sky”, which has a Rhapsody Of Fire epic feel, mixed with possibly a hint of the beginning structure of Queen’s classic song “Bohemian rhapsody”. The song is very good and one of the most memorable tracks on the CD. There are 2 other tracks on this release which I consider to be the best, and they would be the comical and boppy “Mr. Evil”, and the simple yet very affective “Blackened sun”. Both songs aren’t your typical Freedom Call songs (soaring guitars and vocals, with fast double-bass pummeling), so because they are different I think it makes them stand out.

Overall, I feel that ‘Dimensions’ is a logical progression for Freedom Call, bringing some new and different elements into their sound, but still keeping their trademark core sound. They will never lose their “happy metal" label, but I really think that it has worked for them. This CD is a solid effort and fans of the band will most certainly enjoy it. But those who cringed with some of the more happier tracks from their past releases will find themselves in the same predicament with this release, but will enjoy the more toned down tracks.



SEAN




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