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'666 Weeks Beyond Eternity'
Release date: 27th April 2015

Joe Geesin

joe geesin

freedom call

Germany's Freedom Call, formed in the late 90s by vocalist/guitarist Chris Bay, are one of the foremost melodic power Metal bands; along with Italy's Rhapsody Of Fire, they have taken traditional power Metal of the Helloween and Gamma Ray ilk and taken a huge step in the melodic and operatic directions.

And while Rhapsody have taken a more orchestrated Lord Of The Rings angle, Freedom Call's power Metal is all about harmony and big vocals. It's the kind of armoured "waving swords in the air" with Viking helmets kind of music and having seen them live three times, I can testify this to be the case.

'Eternity', originally released in June 2002, was Freedom Call's third full album and this special edition is released, as the title suggests, 666 weeks later. Between a complete remaster, new artwork and a second disc of bonus tracks, alternate versions of tracks form the album and a new track – '666 Weeks Beyond', it's a complete (and well deserved) celebration of this album.

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Formed by friends Chris Bay and Gamma Ray drummer Dan Zimmermann in 1998, touting a six track demo to various record companies and completing the line-up with bassist Ilker Ersin and guitarist Sascha Gerstner, they released their debut 'Stairway To Fairyland' in May 1999. Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind, with Bay and Zimmermann, it was a class start to their career. 2001s 'Crystal Empire' was the band's Magnum Opus, typifying their big layered vocals and featuring many a classic, including the epic 'The Quest'.

Following 2002s 'Eternity', the band released a number of solid and polished albums including 'Circle Of Life', the more speed Metal 'Dimensions' (featuring the classic 'Mr Evil' and singalong 'Far Away'), the more gothic concept album 'Legend Of The Shadowking', 'Land Of The Crimson Dawn', and more recently 'Beyond', given 5/5 here on MetalTalk.

Featuring Symphorce guitarist Cedric Dupont (replacing the departed Sascha), the album opens with the entrancing and mechanically atmospheric 'The Spell' that builds into 'The Eyes Of The World' – classic Freedom Call; a part tinge to the opening keys, machine-gun drums and fast, furious and melodic guitars. The big vocals soar with aplomb.

'Flying High' opens with a drum burst a la Judas Priest and is a much heavier track. The vocals keeps the melody and are layered nicely, the chorus catchy too. 'Island Of Dreams' has a similar feel and some fantastic chunky guitar work mid-song. 'Bleeding Heart' is slower, more power-balladic, with a strong vocal/piano segment.

'Flame In The Night' is a similarly paced yet heavier track with a slight anthemic feel while the intro to 'Metal Invasion' has a slight gothic chant feel and has a slight Manowar feel. The vocal power, harmony and melody nods back to the previous album 'Crystal Empire'.

freedom call

'Ages Of Power' features some blistering guitar work that stands out. The acoustic intro to 'Turn Back Time' has a strong medieval edge, the atmospheric vocals in keeping and the feel continue when the song and heaviness build; a slow song with a singalong and lighters-in-air moment or two.

'Warriors' is an uptempo number with some excellent twin guitar work and pounding bass lines, a classic. 'Land Of Light' finishes the album on a high note, and typifies the uplifting feel of Freedom Call’s brand of melodic power/speed Metal.

Disc two of this edition opens with the new track, '666 Weeks Beyond Eternity' and is as fun, melodic and uplifting as it is driving Metal – classic Freedom Call. Catchy, soaring, and any silliness can be easily overlooked. 'The Shadow King' is name checked, but I'm not too sure about the stop/start staccato guitar burst mid-song.

This bonus disc is made up with a number of previously released reworkings of songs from the album; the excellent live versions are taken from 2004s 'Live Invasion' (recorded on the Eternity tour with Blind Guardian, a bonus disc featuring the rare 'Taragon' EP) and 2011s 'Live In Hellvetia' and there are a couple of songs from the 'Crimson Dawn' bonus disc, reworkings with other artists, including 'Neon Fly'.

This is a good celebration of an excellent album and the new track a welcome bonus. However, much as the other bonus tracks are essential listening, they are previously released; something more substantial or unreleased would have been slightly closer to perfection. The sound is good, a suitable improvement and does make the release more than worthwhile.

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