Album review: FREEDOM CALL – Ages of Light 1998-2013

SPV (Released 29th April)

Melodic rockers Freedom Call celebrate their 15th anniversary with a decent best of, the first disc containing 18 tracks from across their career, not a bad one here.

While largely considered a power metal band, they are more melodic an and slightly operatic than their contemporaries , the songs often anthemic with big vocal harmonies. Singer / guitarist Chris Bay has been the band’s main stay since 1998 and the set includes We Are One from the band’s 1999 debut, and Freedom Call (Crystal Empire) is one of the most fantastic metal numbers you’ll ever hear.

There’s a live version of Metal Invasion, the bouncy Far Away, the metallic Mr Evil, and the more gothic Tears Of Babylon and Thundergod. And the live Perfect Day really gets your head nodding too.

Riffs and solos aplenty with big anthemic vocals, if you don’t any (or many) Freedom Call albums this is an essential  album, and that’s before the second disc. Featuring members past and present, several classic Freedom Call numbers are reworked, in quite different styles, from campfire strumming to ska and reggae. Sounds mad I know but highly enjoyable.

*****

Joe Geesin

A band I discovered thanks to GRTR! and I have seen them live twice to date, both times they were good value live. This two CD set is a best of with a little twist…

First up the 18 songs on disc one represent a good cross section of their music to date. Two are live versions, ‘Metal Invasion’ rocks like a mutha! Their more recent songs definately have the edge and you can’t help but have a big smile on your face as you rock along to ‘Thunder God’, the pop metal ‘Hero On Video’ and ‘Power & Glory’.

Of the band’s more epic and slightly longer songs only ‘Back Into the Land of Light’ is present. Mind you the band manage to cram in all sorts of choirs, epic guitar solos and pounding drums into even their shortest songs.

Main man Chris Bay had a great idea for the second disc and the one of most interest to long standing fans, covering some of the band’s songs in a different musical style and inviting past members to play on these songs.

It is a mixed bag, from the ‘killerbilly’ (although it sounds like Elvis!) version of ‘Rockin’ Radio’ and the ‘power swing’ of ‘Age of the Phoenix’ which work well. Not so great is the reggae version of ‘Mr. Evil’.

If you are new to the band this is a perfect starting point, although make sure you play disc one first as you may wonder what the heck the band were about listening to disc two first. Fans will enjoy the bonus CD I am sure and hopefully a new studio album is on the horizon for later this year.

****1/2

Jason Ritchie


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