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Freedom Call - "Land Of The Crimson Dawn" (CD)

Freedom Call - "Land Of The Crimson Dawn" CD cover image

"Land Of The Crimson Dawn" track listing:

1. Age of the Phoenix (3:37)
2. Rockstars (5:08)
3. Crimson Dawn (6:29)
4. 66 Warriors (5:20)
5. Back Into the Land of Light (5:39)
6. Sun in the Dark (4:49)
7. Hero on Video (3:50)
8. Valley of Kingdom (4:32)
9. Killer Gear (4:42)
10. Rockin' Radio (4:13)
11. Terra Liberty (4:09)
12. Eternity (4:23)
13. Space Legends (4:04)
14. Power and Glory (3:30)

Reviewed by on March 10, 2012

"As much as I love 'happy' German power metal bands like Helloween and Gamma Ray, the latest effort from Freedom Call has the band crossing into the boundary of 'sappy.'"

As much as I love “happy” German power metal bands like Helloween and Gamma Ray, the latest effort from Freedom Call has the band crossing into the boundary of “sappy.” The album leaves me craving an about face toward the extreme by throwing in a death metal growler to duet with vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay. I don’t want to disparage the band, since I normally enjoy big choruses and jolly riffing. Perhaps it is due to persistent negativity, which is ratcheted up daily in both the real and entertainment world. “Land of the Crimson Dawn” should be a refreshing musical bath of pure goodness, but the reality of days has beaten me to submission. It is a virtual tug-of-war between the part of me that wants to raise a fist and drink in honor of metal against a stronger part that craves more aggressive material. One thing is certain, if Freedom Call was from America, the band would have been early Bon Jovi.

Portions of “Land of The Crimson Dawn” are exactly what I expect from Freedom Call: perfectly executed power metal with stunningly catchy choruses, tight musicianship and perfect vocals. If this was 1995, it would have been a perfect. Songs like “Crimson Dawn,” “Valley of Kingdom,” “Back into the Land of Light” and album favorite “66 Warriors” represent some of the best Freedom Call material since all-time favorite song “Pharaoh” was released in 2001. These songs would easily crack my icy heart and cause me to want to raise my sword for metal like in years past, if not for some of the other tracks.

Juxtaposed to those great ones, songs like “Rockstars,” “Rockin’ Radio,” ”Sun In The Dark,” “Killer Gear” and “Power and Glory” cross the line where happy becomes sappy. When a respectable German power metal band opens a song with “[c]oming straight off Nuremburg City, where the girls aren’t pretty, we are here with Freedom Call….kicking ass all the way from today to Hell-A…,” it makes you wonder whether these songs are more befitting the Trixter comeback album. Hopefully, this doesn’t signal a total turnover with the next release.

“Land of the Crimson Dawn” represents a mixed bag of material from a band that seemed more grounded to this point. Could this release be the “dawn” of a new era that sees a complete commercial and radio friendly change for the band away from the bombastic big chorus-laden masterpieces of the past? Only time will tell.

Highs: "66 Warriors" is the best Freedom Call track since "Pharaoh."

Lows: Over half the album is dripping with commerical sappiness.

Bottom line: If this album marks the "crimson dawn" of commerical hard rock for Freedom Call, let me off now.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)