Freedom Call - The circle of life 4/5

Reviewed: 4-1-05


1. Mother earth
2. Carry on
3. The rhythm of life
4. Hunting high and low
5. Starlight
6. The gathering
7. Kings & queens
8. Hero nation
9. High enough
10. Starchild
11. The eternal flame
12. The circle of life

'The circle of life' is Freedom Callís 4th studio album (they also have an excellent live CD following the third studio album). They are a direct descendent of Gamma Ray, whose drummer, Dan Zimmermann, formed Freedom Call with singer Chris Bay. They write virtually all the songs and have formed a very good songwriting partnership. Zimmerman wrote some tracks for Gamma Rayís 'Powerplant' and the songwriting bug hit him to an extent that was unsupportable being in Gamma Ray alone. Freedom Call sounds very much like the lighter side of Gamma Ray. Many people like to make fun of Freedom Call for being too light and bubbly, but I fail to see how a Gamma Ray fan cannot be a big Freedom Call fan too. Bay adds to the light sound with a high-pitched, but effective, voice.

All of Freedom Callís CDs have the same basic sound. Huge, huge melodies, bouncy rhythms, and lots of guitars on the lighter side of metal. Itís just flat out undeniable fun to listen to one of these CDs. Admittedly you have to be in the mood because they are so happy that if you arenít in the mood for it, the happiness can almost make you throw up. But if you are in the mood for cranking it up to full volume and having the music make you think you can become the king of the universe, this music will do it for you. This CD sounds the most like Gamma Ray of any of Freedom Callís CDs. Many of these songs would fit right onto Gamma Rayís lightest CD 'Powerplant', and no one would be able to tell the difference. There isnít a bad song to be found here, but there are certainly some highlights. "Carry on" is an early winner but the CD gets better as it goes on. "Kingís & queens" really picks the CD up and the last 4 tracks are all excellent. The 6 minute title track finale may be the best, having 2 pieces that connect around the 3 minute mark.

'The circle of life' may well be my favorite CD by Freedom Call but all of their CDs are very good, so itís a tough call. One thing is for sure, the band isnít running out of ideas as the songwriting on this CD is as good as anything theyíve done before. I should add that this is the first Freedom Call CD Iíve been able to listen to continuously for a week, so those who get sick of their sound in the past may want to give this a try, as it has the most staying power for me of any of their CDs so far.




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