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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Freedom Call

Legend of the Shadowking

Review by Gary Hill

When I put this disc in for the first time it surprised me. I was expecting a rather over the top symphonic metal recording. What I got was a much more mature release. Sure, a lot of this album has that theatrical, symphonic form of epic metal that I expect from Freedom Call. But it’s also got a lot more straightforward metal. The music is quite dynamic and varied. This band is no one-trick-pony, by any means. It’s a strong metal album that should appeal to fans of epic metal, but also reach beyond that subgenre and attract new fans.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Out Of The Ruins

Take a Manowar type powerhouse vocal element and combine it with Helloween styled technical metal. Then add some symphonic sounds to it. Now you’ve got a good idea of what this song is like. There is some definite progressive rock on show here at times.

Thunder God
As this opens, it has a more straightahead metal approach. The vocals bring with them hints of Iron Maiden and also Kiss. I suppose with the title of “Thunder God” references to Kiss are obvious, but I really hear that band in this mix. Of course, Manowar is also worth mentioning again, too. Still, I can make out Judas Priest at times and Motley Crue and Ozzy at others. This is an intriguing number that’s got a lot of variety built into it.
Tears Of Babylon
As this comes in, it reminds me of Europe (the band, not the continent). It moves to a motif that combines many of the same musical elements we’ve heard to this point. This is a rather catchy cut. 
Merlin - Legend Of The Past
More dramatic, this is a fast paced epic metal cut. It’s rather symphonic and more like the type of music I was expecting from this CD. It’s quite a dynamic piece and has some progressive rock built into it at times. 
Resurrection Day
Here’s a powerhouse piece. It’s one of the fiercest on show here. I can make out both Iron Maiden and Manowar at times here, but this cut really transcends both of those. There are some cool symphonic (both in terms of instrumentation and arrangement) sections to this piece. 
Under The Spell Of The Moon
This begins with a mellower section. It’s quite proggy. As it pounds out into the song proper, though, this is an intriguing mix of Kiss, Judas Priest and Queensryche. 
Dark Obsession
Old world sounds meet classical music on the introduction here. As it pounds out into heavy metal this has a science fiction type feeling to it. It’s quite powerful. It’s another that’s very dynamic. 
The Darkness
A more standard metal cut this one is catchy and potent. There are still some symphonic elements on show, and at times it reminds me a bit of Queensryche. 
Remember!
Imagine a more symphonic Iron Maiden and you’ll probably come in fairly close to this. It’s quite theatrical, but never really goes over the top.
Ludwig II. – Prologue

This is heavy and I believe the lyrics are in German. It’s very operatic and slow moving. It gets incredibly powerful and symphonic as it continues.

The Shadowking
More fast paced metal, this is a real screamer. At times I’m reminded of a heavier Rush, but there’s also plenty of Iron Maiden on show here. We get some cool operatic sounds that bring a rather progressive rock feeling to the piece, too. There are some Rycheian moments here and a killer melodic metal guitar solo section.
Merlin – Requiem
A powerful ballad, this is symphonic. I’d probably consider it to be progressive rock. It’s a tasty cut. 
Kingdom Of Madness
The sound that starts this reminds me of Talk era Yes (in this case it’s an interesting use of a talk box, I think). It fires out into a straightforward metal cut that has a lot of ‘80’s metal on show. That Rabin sound returns here and there, though. There’s a section later that reminds me a lot of Judas Priest, with some Iron Maiden in it. It’s a gang vocal segment. 
A Perfect Day
The drums that start this off again make me think of Rabin era Yes, in this case “Almost Like Love.” As the other instruments join, though, this has a Celtic sort of texture at first. It drops down to a modern stripped back rock sound for the verse, but the chorus is in an anthemic Kiss meets epic metal style.
 
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