Master of the Light
Steamhammer / SPV
German power metallers Freedom Call have seemingly made a near two decade long career of “almost making it” but not quite getting over that hump to the division of “Must Know Band.” With new platter, Master of Light (you’ll forgive the frighteningly cheesy cover art once you get into the just as fantastically cheesy music) the quartet are now nine studio and two live albums in and while the disc is as consistent and solid as their other efforts I don’t think it’s quite going to push them over that edge.
If you’ve never heard Freedom Call before, two seconds into the anthem that is opening track, “Metal is For Everyone” will tell you all you need to know. The choir-esqe chorus, the shredding guitar work from frontman Chris Bay and Lars Rettkowitz and the galloping drums (courtesy of Ramy Ali) literally sum up what you’re in for here – bassist Ilker Ersin holds it all together and makes sure noone get too out of hand here. “A World Beyond” is gloriously silly and you get the feeling hat the guys know it is – they just don’t give a damn. And because of this it works. I can’t imagine anyone else pulling this off or even coming anywhere near it (I’m looking at you Manowar and Running Wild). “Cradle of Angels” slows down and allows you to catch your breath for five minutes and for a moment you think “Emerald Skies” will, as well. But right when you find yourself comfortably relaxed once again, a symphonic crash appears from nowhere and you’re off to the races again.
“Ghost Ballet” and “Rock the Nations” find the band actually swimming in melodic rock waters with the latter of the two possibly being the most positive rock song ever recorded outside of Christian metal. Closer, “High Up” turns everything up to (at least) 11 and features a fantastic riff and the more of the most gloriously cheesy lyrics you’ll ever hear.
Look, if Freedom Call stand for nothing else, it’s absolute positivity. The lyrics and music are always uplifting, everything is over the top and louder than everything else – oh, and heavy metal can solve all of the world’s issues.
So, readdressing my intro: Will Master of Light raise the stakes for Freedom Call? Truthfully it will most likely keep them comfortably right where they are in the grand scheme of things. As long as they’re happy. And, trust me when I say, you’ve never run into four happier guys anywhere in your life.
– Dave Tedder