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Freedom Call - "Master Of Light" (CD)

Freedom Call - "Master Of Light" CD cover image

"Master Of Light" track listing:

1. Metal Is For Everyone
2. Hammer Of The Gods
3. A World Beyond
4. Masters Of Light
5. Kings Rise And Fall
6. Cradle Of Angels
7. Emerald Skies
8. Hail The Legend
9. Ghost Ballet
10. Rock The Nation
11. Riders In The Sky
12. High Up

Reviewed by on October 31, 2016

"Speaking of hooks, Freedom Call is one of the best at setting them in the mouths of fans who desire more than the dispassionate growling in metal."

Most metal dudes are way too cool to show undying devotion and love for music. It is much more effortless to wear a scowl and keep a cavernous distance between self-respect and the curds of joy that spews forth like poison from any music that declares itself “happy metal.” Who would have the sheer audacity and cancerous thought of spreading smiles and positivity across our evil metal community? Well, Germany’s Freedom Call refuses to apologize for creating a niche of positive metal that spreads all over the music universe.

Don’t let the ridiculous artwork of the new album “Master of Light” fool you, this is one of Freedom Call’s finest albums to date. Reaching back to a time of crystal empires and stairways to fairyland, Freedom Call continues the trend shown on 2014’s “Beyond,” but with even greater ability to recall that ultra-catchiness shown on its most classic material. To be fair, Chris Bay and company have always had the ability to incite positive chants from metal warriors of light on every album, but with “Master of Light,” the band injects greater heaviness to balance the alacrity.

There is really something to that “happy metal” term. Instant positivity in metal isn’t a bad thing, but a thing to be cherished. In the opening track “Metal is for Everyone,” as well as in songs like “Rock the Nation” and closer “High Up,” if you make it past the typical metal fan’s nausea, then consider yourself hooked. Speaking of hooks, Freedom Call is one of the best at setting them in the mouths of fans who desire more than the dispassionate growling in metal. Check out the choruses of “Kings Rise and Fall,” “Hail the Legend,” and “Riders in the Sky” – songs that even Helloween and Gamma Ray haven’t produced since the heydays.

With songs littered with the usual thought provoking solos from Lars Rettkowitz, Freedom Call ramps up the euro power metal speed descended directly from country mates Helloween and Gamma Ray on tracks like “Kings Rise And Fall” and “A World Beyond.” Vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay has always been regarded as the “Kai Hansen who can actually sing,” and it doesn’t show any better than in songs like “A World Beyond” and ballad “Cradle of Angels.” The album’s true beacon of light is in the title track, which has an unmistakable nod to one of metal’s biggest bands. It isn’t even necessary to hand feed it in this review – it is so blatant that you can promptly turn in your metal cred card if you miss it. The song rivals personal favorites “Pharao” and “66 Warriors.”

Just as on 2012’s “Land of the Crimson Dawn” and 2014’s “Beyond,” the big and beautiful sound of “Master of Light” is brought to you by the team of Chris Bay and Stephan Ernst. Perfectly mixed to your author’s ears, all instruments are nicely balanced where the beefy metallic riffs shine through. The album is a bit less orchestrated than in the recent past, with the band opting for an even more guitar driven masterpiece.

Longtime fans of the band should rightfully hail “Master of Light” as an instant classic – a multi-faceted album that draws from every aspect of the band’s career. It is high time that the rest of the power metal community give Freedom Call the respect deserved. The band has amassed such a plethora of classics in its 18 year existence that it should be heralded as a stalwart in power metal, especially for those who prefer to keep the subgenre exactly as it was designed.

Highs: An album that perfectly blends all the best aspects of Freedom Call's career.

Lows: Happy, sappy positive lyrics might lead to nausea amid the "cool crowd."

Bottom line: "Cross over, children. All are welcome. All welcome. Go into the light...there is peace and serenity in the [Master of] light!"

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)