Freedom Call


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If a group of fortysomething or fiftysomething headbangers wandered into a power metal revival concert in Europe in 2007, they probably would have thought they had found a time machine back to the late '70s or early '80s. They would encounter an abundance of long-haired headbangers in their teens and early twenties looking and dressing exactly as they had looked and dressed 25 years earlier, and would hear younger bands faithfully emulating the power metal of the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan years. Freedom Call's first album, Stairway to Fairyland, came out in 1999, but their larger-than-life approach to power metal is firmly rooted in the Judas Priest/Iron Maiden/Queensr├┐che/Manowar era -- and the German headbangers continue in that vein on 2007's Dimensions. This 51-minute CD doesn't pretend to point metal in any new directions; Dimensions, like previous Freedom Call releases, is totally derivative and not the least bit apologetic about it. Dimensions is quite oblivious to all the punk-minded, hip-hop-influenced alternative metal and alternative rock of the '90s and 2000s, and none of the material offers the slightest acknowledgement of death metal, black metal, grunge, metalcore, industrial metal, rap-metal, or even '80s thrash. But here's the thing: if you're going to be ultra-derivative, at least strive for quality -- and prog-influenced tracks such as "Blackened Sun," "My Dying Paradise," "Innocent World," and "Mr. Evil" point to the fact that Freedom Call, although not the least bit original, are enjoyably good at what they do. Instead of running away from the stereotypes of power metal, Freedom Call happily embrace them and do so without even the slightest trace of irony. Dimensions isn't in a class with the best albums that Priest, Maiden, Queensr├┐che, or Manowar offered during power metal's heyday, but truly die-hard power metal enthusiasts will find it to be a decent example of what Europe's power metal revival field has to offer.

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