Freedom Call – Legend of the Shadowking: Review
The German power metal band, Freedom Call, released their sixth studio album on January 29, 2010 entitled Legend of the Shadowking. Although the band has been around for over a decade, this is the first of their albums which I’ve heard. After discovering that a Gamma Ray member was in the band (Dan Zimmerman, drums), I had a rush of excitement and an inflation of expectations. I listened to it once yesterday and found myself unable to go through a second time. Though my words exaggerate my true feelings, it’s still not great.
The Music (rating: B-)
- Out of the Ruins
- Thunder God
- Tears of Babylon
- Merlin – Legend of the Past
- Resurrection Day
- Under the Spell of the Moon
- Dark Obsession
- The Darkness
- Ludwig II – Prologue
- The Shadowking
- Merlin – Requiem
- Kingdom of Madness
- A Perfect Day
Because I’ve had no experience with Freedom Call, I had no clue what to expect diving head first into this album. Though I have had various encounters with the power metal genre in the past, my repertoire is still relatively small. The only bands of which I am competently knowledgeable to compare this album to are Helloween (Hansen era) and Gamma Ray. Though similar style, this album is not in the same ballpark as those aforementioned.
That is not to say this is a bad album, though in a way I have already painted it so. This album does nothing terribly wrong, but nor does it do the opposite. It follows all the conventions which define the power metal genre. However, it is heavily constrained by them. There is not a single attempt to break any boundaries, neither technically or creatively. The musicianship was rather standard and the instrumental performances was all around average. It would be an understatement to say that is a very safe album.
Legend of the Shadowking is heavily characterized by the dominant presence of choir and crowd chants. This is common in power metal, though it is usually more tastefully and meaningfully executed by others (Helloween’s “Future World”). After a couple songs, they were somewhat cool and catchy. As a few more passed, they became a dying novelty. By the end of the album they were negatively affecting the music. It felt as though the chants were thrown in as an empty hook to appeal to the masses, which, to me, watered down the music. Furthermore, the lyrical themes are hardly connected to the commoners, so the attempt to reach out to them is not well thought out.
Though it seems like I harbor much disdain towards this album, that is not the case. It is merely an average album (hence, the B-). Power metal lovers will either enjoy it for employing the features so dominantly, or despise it for its lack of adventurous charisma. Legend of the Shadowking is not an album to avoid, but there are plenty of others I would recommend before it.
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