Freedom Call - 'Ages Of Light'

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Freedom Call - 'Ages Of Light'

One of the better compilations I've heard of late.

A product of the upsurge in popularity of melodic power metal directly attributable to the mighty HammerFall at the tail end of the 90s, in some respects it's hard to believe that Germany's Freedom Call have been together for 15 years!

Formed in '98 by vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay and original drummer Daniel Zimmermann during the latter's downtime from Gamma Ray, Freedom Call have been a consistently strong presence on the European power metal scene ever since. Their debut 'Stairway To Fairyland' sold tens of thousands of copies on its release back in '99, and whilst their upbeat brand of supremely melodic power metal has been constantly distilled and refined over the years, they've always managed to maintain that innate sense of fun and exuberance. Since the release of their aforementioned debut, the band have gone on to craft six more studio albums and a couple of live sets, last year's 'Land Of The Crimson Dawn' arguably their most mature and sophisticated offering yet.

To celebrate a decade and a half in a business, where the average life expectancy of a band is only slightly longer than that of a Premier League football manager, Freedom Call have put together the two disc 'Ages Of Light' – a sort of 'Best of... plus' as a thank you to fans both old and new alike. If you're a newcomer to their infectious brand of HammerFall meets Gamma Ray with added showbiz pizzazz, the first disc is full to the brim with some of their best works so far. Featuring no less than 18 songs, it spans their entire career with the likes of 'We Are One', 'Blackened Sun' and 'Back Into The Land Of Light', giving a good insight into just how diverse and intricate this type of music can be if done correctly.

And to prove that Helloween and Edguy aren't the only bands with a wicked sense of fun, disc two offers up some rather interesting (not to say different) takes on a few of their songs – the reggae version of 'Mr. Evil' for example, or the ska take on 'Hero On Video' work rather well, proving the integrity of the core songwriting ability within the band beyond doubt.

One of the better compilations I've heard of late...

Dave Cockett

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