Freedom Call

Moonflower Lane Freedom Call - Stairway to Fairyland (SPV) 1999

1. "Over the Rainbow" (5:51)
2. "Tears Falling" (5:37)
3. "Fairyland" (5:28)
4. "Shine On" (5:42)
5. "We Are One" (5:01)
6. "Hymn to the Brave" (3:59)
7. "Tears Of Targon" (6:54)
8. "Graceland" (5:34)
9. "Holy Knight" (5:00)
10. "Another Day" (5:51)

Progressive and melodic German heavy metal that reminds me of Helloween and Gamma Ray not only in music style but in some of the vocal melodies and harmonies as well. Guitarist/vocalist Chris Bay has an uncanny resemblance to Michael Kiske at time, while still others he reminds me of Andre Matos (Viper/Angra). Bay is frequently backed up by a layer of thick male choir-type vocals. These background vocals keep the sound from getting too light and wimpy and gives the music a slightly darker, gothic feel despite much of the music itself being on the more upbeat, happier side. Another connection to Gamma Ray and Helloween comes from the fact that Freedom Call is a direct descendant of Gamma Ray; one of Freedom Call's two main songwriters, Dan Zimmerman, is Gamma Ray's drummer. I believe "Stairway to Fairyland" is a concept album although I have not dug deep into the storyline enough to tell what the story is about, but it is a fictional, fantasy based tale of good vs. evil that revolves around some creatures from a land called Targon. The booklet actually tells the tale as well as lists all the lyrics. However, the storyline is not anywhere near as interesting to me as the music itself. Overall, quite the impressive debut from yet another German metal band.

Freedom Call - The Circle of Life (SPV) 2005

1. "Mother Earth" (4:31)
2. "Carry On" (3:30)
3. "The Rhythm of Life" (3:41)
4. "Hunting High and Low" (4:00)
5. "Starlight" (3:41)
6. "The Gathering" (1:24)
7. "Kings & Queens" (3:48)
8. "Hero Nation" (4:55)
9. "High Enough" (5:48)
10. "Starchild" (5:11)
11. "The Eternal Flame" (4:25)
12. "The Circle of Life" (5:56)

I've owned this one for quite some time before finally writing something about it. For some reason this is one of those CDs that just didn't immediately grab me and pull me in. I'd listen once, put it away in my pile of CDs to review and eventually pick it up again, only to put it right back in the same pile. So what's the problem? I don't exactly know. Overall, "The Circle of Life" is quality, melodic, anthemic, Germany power metal. There is a big touch of Helloween here, as well as similarities to Edguy, Metalium and even a touch of the progressive tendencies of Stratovarius. Oddly enough, even the song titles remind me of these bands. "Mother Earth" and "Hero Nation" are both also used by Metalium, while "Starlight" is a Helloween song title and "Hunting High And Low" is a Stratovarius title. "Carry On" is title that has been used by many bands, but also by Angra, who also have a sound not to far removed from Freedom Call. The production is crystal clear, yet without sounding overproduced. Also, the musicianship is more than competant. So why didn't this album scream to be played over and over again? Once again, I don't know. To me, this CD comes across a bit generic and derived. Perhaps over time this one will grow on more. Time will tell.

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