FREEDOM CALL – Ages Of Light 1998-2013 (2013)
About fifteen years ago, four guys from Nuremberg, Germany decided to kick all those metalheads – which thought the genre is all about evil and darkness – in their asses. I think no other band has marked the term ‘Happy Metal’ so much like FREEDOM CALL.
It was a simple concept: more melody and good-time-feeling, less growls and lyrics about dead and violence. At this time Freedom Call showed that Metal can be much fun and fortunately they didn’t change much of this concept in their career.
With “Ages Of Light 1998-2013” we get their first Best Of and a nice cross-section of the last 15 years… with some surprises.
Freedom Call never were among my favorites, in fact some of their songs are pretty boring and insipid, particularly the ‘epic’ ones, but I have to admit the band has produced some really good tunes through their career, very close to the new wave of Euro Melodic Hard Rock.
Take for example the commercial, catchy cuts like “Land Of Light” or “Hero On Video” and tell me if doesn’t sounds like H.E.A.T and alikes. So this compilation is ideal for whose never heard Freedom Call and want to discover all their facets.
“Ages Of Light” contains 2 CD’s: the first one is the true best of, while the second CD has some very interesting new versions of well-known Freedom Call hits to offer.
Let’s start with the first one: What is immediately striking is the fact that all the songs on the album are in a chronological order. So the first tracks are taken from the first albums and the last ones from the new records. I like this running order, because you can see how the band developed and this is what a best-of should always do.
So the album starts the second-hand Helloween metal anthem “We Are One” which is ok but quite poor compared with the rest of the material on offer. The following triad “Tears Falling”, “Freedom Call” and “Farewell” are all strong melodic metal rockers with easy to listen hooks.
I’ve to say I don’t like when bands think they have to add live versions into a best of, because I always want to hear the originals. “Metal Invasion” is such a live-track, but fortunately was studio mixed so you don’t notice so much that this is not the original album recording. By the way: it’s a good song.
“Warriors” is quite speeded yet really melodic and articulated, with some Pretty Maids in it. Then “Hunting High And Low” and “Mr. Evil” are not bad at all, just a bit generic. “Far Away” is a silly anthem, but next the interesting “Blackened Sun” raises the bar.
To my surprise we get in the end of this record four songs of Freedom Call’s latest album ‘Land Of The Crimson Dawn’. The good thing is: they really captured the best songs of this CD. The aforementioned “Hero On Video” and the melodic “Back Into The Land Of Light” show every trademark this band has to offer.
Now let’s talk about the bonus CD: six different new versions of well known Freedom Call songs, and when I say different I really mean much. Freedom Call are brave and mix their songs with totally different music genres. It’s clear that it’s all about fun here and the whole band shows that they don’t take themselves too serious. And that is what Freedom Call wants from you: to take a look at these songs with a wink and a smile on your face.
I had fun to listen to “Rockin’ Radio” in the Killerbilly version or “Metal Invasion” with folk elements. The Reggae version of “Mr. Evil” is also easy to listen to, but not my taste. I laughed so much when I heard the Ska-Version of “Hero On Video”. How crazy sounds that?
Freedom Call also dare to do a swing version of “Age Of The Phoenix” and somehow it works, while “Freedom Call (Camp Fire Strumming version)” reminds you of typical campfire-songs in its arrangements and shows the band capable of doing very nice acoustics.
In short: if you never heard Freedom Call before, “Ages Of Light 1998-2013” is ideal for you.
Never too much heavy and very melodic all the time, there’s some really good songs to enjoy here.
01 – We Are One
02 – Tears Falling
03 – Freedom Call
04 – Farewell
05 – Metal Invasion
06 – Warriors
07 – Land of Light
08 – Hunting High and Low
09 – Mr. Evil
10 – Far Away
11 – Blackened Sun
12 – Thunder God
13 – Tears of Babylon
14 – A Perfect Day
15 – Hero on Video
16 – Power & Glory
17 – Rockstars
18 – Back into the Land of Light
Bonus CD :
01 – Rockin’ Radio (Killerbilly)
02 – Metal Invasion (Metal Folk)
03 – Mr. Evil (Melodic Reggae)
04 – Hero On Video (Speed Ska)
05 – Age of the Phoenix (Power Swing)
06 – Freedom Call (Camp Fire Strumming)
Chris Bay – Vocals, Guitar
Lars Rettkowitz – Guitar, Backing vocals
Samy Saemann – Bass, Backing vocals
Klaus Sperling – Drums
Nils Neumann – Keyboards
Dan Zimmermann – Drums
Sascha Gerstner – Guitar
Cédric ‘Cede’ Dupont – Guitar
Ilker Ersin – Bass
Armin Donderer – Bass
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