Freedom Call – Beyond
Reviewed by Arno Callens
We’ve all been a bit funny about Freedom Call as of late. The way you ignore a weird drunk guy in a bar, just quietly hoping he’ll go away before you lose every memory of the fun dude he used to be. While respect for the German rainbow warriors remains – mostly based on the first three albums – every new album seemed to drive the nail a little bit further into the unicorn’s coffin. Chris Bay is as nice a guy as they come, but “Rockin’ Radio” is a song we wouldn’t forgive our best friend for.
That being said, it’s not our band. It’s for Bay and his comrades to do with as they please, even though it threatens to alienate the core audience. Let’s all be happy then, that Bay agreed with the fanbase this time around and turned eighth full-length Beyond into the best thing this band has done since Eternity, in all possible senses of the word. Happy flower metal for everyone.
“Jump, and carry on!” are not just the first words to the first song “Union Of The Strong”, they could also be the motto behind this album. “We’ve done this, we’ve done that, now it’s time to move on.” I couldn’t agree more, and I’ll jump happily to a song that is this infectious, features a refreshing structure, and above all: a refrain so optimistic it makes the Smurfs look like a bunch of retiring alcoholics. “Knights Of Taragon” continues the trip down memory lane, and blows away the last couple of albums like they were merely bad dreams of evil unicorns (of Dundee!).
Of course, two songs are no indication of quality (Freedom Call successfully fooled me on the enjoyable Legend Of The Shadowking before) and so upon first listen, there was still this inkling all would be over soon. One mention of “the eyes of the world”, after all, is not enough to draw me back up the stairway to fairyland. “Heart Of A Warrior”, “Beyond”, “Edge Of The Ocean”, “Paladin”, and “Colors Of Freedom” increasingly threw my pessimism into the wind however, with tracks masquerading as filler also turning out to be deadly strokes. Even the experiments pay off, with “Rhythm Of Light” being a better shade of power ‘n’ roll than “Rockin’ Radio”, and “Dance Off The Demon” being off indeed, featuring African chanting, Celtic flutes, and what-not. Despite the ethnic confusion, I’ll take this over “Hero On Video” any day of the week.
At thirteen tracks, the album may be a bit inflated, but I can’t remember a time after Eternity where I was so constantly entertained by a Freedom Call record, let alone listening without resorting to tired sighs or face-palm gestures. Beyond goes above and…(you know where). It’s an early contender for comeback of the year, it’s power metal at its brightest, and it’s more positive than a pregnancy test for triplets. Or something. To be honest, I’m not really typing anymore, I’m just jumping. And carrying on.
4.25 // 5