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'Beyond' is the eighth studio album from this German melodic power Metal quintet and finds them at the top of their game – again. And from the outset what an enjoyable release it is.
The band are centred around vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay (one of the nicest guys I've ever met and interviewed), while guitarist Lars Rettkowitz has been with them since 2005 while drummer Ramy Ali joined last year and seems to fit in perfectly.
Their other recent addition is the returning founder bassist Ilker Ersin. This coincides with a return to the band's earlier sounds,
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The immediate sound nods back to their magnum opus 'Crystal Empire' – the band have nodded towards thrash ('Dimensions') and gothic Metal ('Legend Of The Shadow King') and this returns to their far more melodic roots.
'Union Of The Strong' opens, gushing with layers of their trademark vocal harmonies, and a melodic riff punctuates the vocals. 'Knights Of Taragon' lyrically nods to early concepts and the intro adds a touch of a keyboard parp that Freedom Call do so well. 'Heart Of A Warrior' and 'Come On Home' are a little heavier, soaring in their own melodic way.
The title track (running to over seven minutes) opens acoustically and is lightly orchestrated – before drums and soaring vocals come in – this track lyrically and musically a follow on from the epic 'The Quest' from Crystal Empire.
There are some nods to more recent albums, some much heavier moments, 'Among The Shadows' for example; then there's 'Dance Off The Devil' with it's African rhythms. There's actually a touch of Scottish tribleness in there too.
Freedom Call are definitely on form and, as the press release states, one of the happiest bands around. This album proves why I'm such a big fan of this band – it is definitely uplifting and more melodic than any other power Metal band; headbanging with a smile and guaranteed to get you waving your sword in the air.