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Freedom Call – M.E.T.A.L.

Freedom Call
M.E.T.A.L.
by Rachel Montgomery at 02 September 2019, 11:43 PM

FREEDOM CALL dubs itself “happy metal”, and with the uplifting tone of this album, it’s easy to understand why. Formed in Germany in 1998, this Metal band combines power and symphonic elements to create a positive, inspirational sound. For their new album, “M.E.T.A.L.”, they keep high-octane, high-pitched, soaring music throughout.

The opening song, “111”, starts with vocals and an echoing reverb before kicking off symphonic electronics. Overall, the track sets the album up to be simpler than the usual symphonic fare: no long solos, no intricate movements or 10-minute compositions. I could be wrong, but so far, it’s a simple song with straightforward lyrics and riffs, opening an album that I’m expecting to go the same way.

“Spirit of Daedalus” starts off higher and lighter with a longer opener. The riff is simple and evokes a flying theme, leading into their rendition of the classic story of Daedalus. The choral elements, including a call-and-response and a thrashing guitar chord really hit the theme of flight home in this nicely constructed song. There are some really nice sweeps in the guitar solo, especially near the end when the final chorus shifts key for an uplifting ending.

The title track opens with some harder elements, namely the pounding snares and bass line. However, this accents the major key and the soaring chorus. Like the rest of the album, the elements are simple, employing some trivial-seeming elements like the snare and the bass line. However, they come together in a coherent way to make a workable Metal anthem. The guitars are used best in the high-pitched guitar solo and the final chorus, using some standard techniques.

A song called “Ace of the Unicorn” has some promise to use some great, fantastical elements. While I question the name-drop at the beginning, I believe the synths and lyrics in the first verse fit the theme. It employs some nice harmonies to keep its happy sound, and for a song about unicorns and fairy land, it works. The tone of the solo is cool but becomes inexplicably darker until the solo. While I think it has some great instrumentals, I don’t think it fits thematically.

Sail Away” utilizes some Viking Metal themes, setting a darker tone than the last song. Of the songs so far, this is more ominous. Even with the higher-piano ambiance in the background, the song is more serious, detailing a sailor far away from home. I love the chorus with the backup singers and endless harmonies. I’m not sure how I feel about the lead singer’s falsetto in the verse, though. Otherwise, he has a clear, but stylized voice, staying on key.

Fly with Us” shifts the tone back to uplifting with a fast, melodic anthem. It has some darker moments, but they’re connected with the lyrics, so they fit and add variety to the song. It’s a call to action for the listener and would be a great fist-pumper at a concert (most of these songs would be).

One Step into Wonderland” is great thematically, and I enjoy the staccato, frenzied symphonics in the intro. Like most of the songs on the album, it employs heavy choir elements, high synths and fantastical, uplifting lyrics. It’s a nice, intense song. The positivity doesn’t feel hokey or forced. I like the climbing guitar licks in the solo. It’s my favorite song so far.

Days of Glory” promises to be the most positive song on the album by its name alone. It starts off slowly with some synth before powering up into a symphonically charged intro and a theatrical call-and-response verse, complete with a backup choir. The chorus doesn’t disappoint, being positively powerful and intense.

Wheel of Time” has some interesting rolling drums in the intro and uses the same call-and-response trope that the last song did. Honestly, as far as the album goes, it’s not much to write home about other than the rolling drum or bass line through the intro. It’s not a bad song, rather, most of the elements in it were already touched on in other works here (uplifting, anthemic chorus, choir responses through the verses, high-pitched guitars, etc.).

Ronin” has a charge-forward feeling that plays with the elements on the album. The choir sounds a little different and feels more like an echo through the verses. The music feels more like a chase, especially with the thrash elements, and I enjoy how the symphonic elements are less electronic here. The thrashing solo is used to good effect, and the song overall gives a little more variety to the album thus far (not as much as tracks five or seven but enough to stand out).

The drums in “Sole Survivor” start as a march before going into a grittier riff. While this song is still uplifting, it feels like a battle song. I like it; it has more of an edge and stands out as a good, closing song.

Overall, a lot of the songs feel like football/soccer anthems. It’s uplifting and positive, but at the price of sounding a little too hokey for my taste. However, when the band becomes darker, or strays from their usual sound, they shine. The album as a whole is solid, but when it’s great, it’s really great.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. 111
2. Spirit of Daedalus
3. M.E.T.A.L.
4. Ace of the Unicorn
5. Sail Away
6. Fly with Us
7. One Step into Wonderland
8. Days of Glory
9. Wheel of Time
10. Ronin
11. Sole Survivor
12. Emerald Skies
13. Warriors
Lineup:
Chris Bay – Vocals & Guitar
Lars Rettkowitz – Guitar & Backing vocals
Francesco Ferraro – Bass
Timmi Breideband – Drums
Record Label: Steamhammer
     


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