Released: 2012, SPV
Consistency has never been a priority for Freedom Call. Some fans have criticized the band for this inconsistency. Those same people often forget that the band was formed by the drummer Dan Zimmerman to express his musical creativity in a way that maybe wouldn't work in his main band, Gamma Ray. In 2011 Zimmerman left the band he co-founded and has been replaced by veteran Metal drummer Klaus Sperling, formerly of Sinner and Primal Fear. Freedom Call has evolved over the years through various musical twists and turns picking up and losing fans here and there. Over the 15 years, since their debut in 1999 the band has quite a stylistically diverse catalogue for one of the early pioneers of the Second Great Coming of Power Metal, as compared to some of their peers like Primal Fear or Hammerfall.
The new album LAND OF THE CRIMSON DAWN displays another shift in style, one that will perhaps annoy the Power purists and amuse those fond of their quirky material. I'm in the latter camp (sometimes) as I enjoy the bands deviations and sense of humour. The bands last album, LEGEND OF THE SHADOWKING was a little darker and heavier with the theme concept and now the musical pendulum has swung back to the fun, the catchy, the poppy...maybe even too much for some!
After a strong start with a speedy opener, the band switch gears and drop into a very melodic rocker tune called 'Rock Stars' with funny lyrics. The pattern continues with a batch of super catchy melodic tunes scattered among the more conventional Power Metal and marching Metal anthems . The fun songs, 'Hero On Video', 'Rockin' Radio' and the aforementioned 'Rock Stars' fall into that Pretty Maids, (old) Axxis, Bonfire zone. Hell, those three songs could have felt quite at home on a Sleez Beez album! The lyrics are also considerably more light hearted than the last outing with songs of a more modern sort singing of radio, video and role-playing, interspersed with the almost mandatory tales of power and glory, which happens to be the title of track 14.
As always the production quality is immaculate on this 14 song, hour long album. Good quality, good performances, good value and good songs, despite some stylistic inconsistencies, have always been a hallmark of Freedom Call. It's as if the quirky fun tracks at the end of the previous album were the main writing focus on this album coming out almost two years to the day, since the last one.
The band really brought the majesty and glory to the choruses of the anthems this time around. Big, loud male gang vocals boom across the songs, regaling us with epic tales of marching for metal across the wastelands, sword in hand, banners in the air and so on and so forth. The chorus of the title track 'Crimson Dawn' is so catchy it was permanently stuck in my brain until the day I die, just after one listen.
A sense of fun and energy pervade this album making LAND OF THE CRIMSON DAWN a more enjoyable offering than the last one. Chris Bay has shown that it is now truly his band.